The 2016 Scion iM is one of two new models introduced by Scion in a bid to rejuvenate this youth-oriented brand. The all-new iM is a compact hatchback based on the Toyota Auris, a model related to the Corolla. This mono-spec or one price front-wheel drive model seats five.
The Scion iM is a compact hatchback, based on the same platform underpinning the Toyota Corolla. The Corolla’s powertrain choices are offered, including a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual or an available continuously variable transmission (CVT).
From stem to stern, the Scion iM has the shape of a Toyota Corolla, but in hatchback form. Corolla fans who miss the other body styles the model line previously offered, can now find the Corolla hatchback in Scion garb.
The Scion iM is adorned with a sport body kit, typically an appearance package upgrade elsewhere. Notably, a narrow, V-shaped grille punctuated by the Scion logo and amplified by wraparound lighting assemblies marks the front fascia. The upper and lower grille have a mesh presentation, and lower skirting adds to the overall sportiness.
Strong character lines run across the hood and also from the headlights to the tail lamps along the side of the car. In addition, a second character line runs from wheel well to wheel well, and rocker panel trim comes by way of the body kit. The Scion iM’s beltline steadily rises from front to rear. The roofline slopes to the rear deck, ending in the integrated spoiler. At the rear are wraparound combination lamps and a chrome-tipped exhaust. All models come equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and power-folding, heated side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals.
Unlike the smaller Scion iA, the other new Scion product introduced in 2016, the Scion iM offers satisfactory room for five people. Specifically, its wider and longer footprint provides slightly more room at the hips and for the legs.
This model features a tilt-and-telescopic steering column with steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The instrument panel features a two analog display — tachometer and speedometer — surrounding a digital driver’s information center.
Access to the car is by keyless entry. Bucket seats are up front and a 60/40 split-folding seat is to the rear. Both front seats are controlled manually and the driver’s seat has a height adjustment feature.
Every Scion iM comes equipped with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control, power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control and a rearview camera. A navigation system is available as an accessory item tied in with a dealer-installed audio system upgrade.
Scion also provides a 12-volt power outlet and a USB port located within an open storage compartment at the base of the console, which is large enough to hold a smartphone. The center stack is arranged with a digital clock on top, followed by the voice-controlled audio display and climate control. In-door pocket holders, beverage holders and cup holders are also present.
Standard cargo space is 20.8 cubic feet, which more than doubles when the rear seat is folded. When the rear seat is up, the storage area is concealed with a cargo cover. A cargo net and tote accessories are also available.
All Scion iM models are powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine making 137 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a CVT is available. This model is EPA-rated at 28/37 mpg city/highway. It takes regular grade gasoline.
The Scion’s engine is peppy, offering sufficient off the mark acceleration. It’s also proficient on the highway, supplying satisfactory passing power. Models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission shift smoothly. The CVT revs the engine higher when Sport mode is selected and simulates seven gear steps.
On twisty roads the Scion iM maintains its poise, especially when equipped with its accessory TRD springs and roll bars. Body roll is adequately managed and response times are sharpened. This model shines as it corners and comes to a firm stop when the brakes are applied.
Mono-spec never looked so good, at least in a Scion. Every model comes equipped with a six-speaker Pioneer audio system along with Bluetooth connectivity and Aha Internet radio integration. In particular, the Bluetooth system provides hands-free phone capability and music streaming.
An available interior light kit allows owners to choose between seven color choices that are controlled by a toggle switch.
At the time of this review, the 2016 Scion iM hasn’t yet been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, based on testing conducted on the similar Toyota Corolla sedan, the Scion should achieve the IIHS’ highest grades all around, except perhaps for the small overlap front test, which netted a marginal score for the Corolla.
Every Scion iM comes equipped with a suite of air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag. This model provides stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
Scion offers a well-equipped compact hatchback for the money with the 2016 iM. Models with the manual transmission retail for $18,460, while the CVT-equipped iM lists for $19,200.
As a mono-spec model, no trim levels are available. However, certain accessories, such as a BeSpoke audio system with navigation ($900) can be obtained separately as a dealer-installed option.
If you love the Toyota Corolla, the 2016 Scion iM should please you. It doesn’t provide the trim options of a Corolla, but it does offer a generous amount of features standard.
Besides the Toyota Corolla, Scion iM shoppers might also consider the Ford Focus, Mazda3, Honda Civic, Dodge Dart, Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza and Kia Forte. Prices in this category typically range from about $18,000 to $23,000.