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Good luck to the Scion iQ! If it doesn't take first place I know it will still rank pretty good.

Though the 2012 Scion iQ is new to the U.S., it’s more familiar to the rest of the world. Other countries have had these micro-cars for years, and Toyota is just the latest manufacturer to bring this segment to the States. The main issue is whether the U.S. market will accept cars like the iQ.

With a miniscule 1.3-liter 94-hp engine, the Scion iQ is the second-least-powerful vehicle in this year’s COTY competition, conceding only to the fully electric Mitsubishi i, which has less power but more torque. For simple around-town commuting, this amount of power is adequate, but driving the iQ on anything other than a surface street is an adventure all its own. On the freeway, the iQ can’t get out of its own way; a manual transmission would help, but not much. The short wheelbase and narrow track make the iQ wander on grooved freeways.

The iQ’s small dimensions, combined with the high center of gravity, make it a handful if you try to toss it around, and it feels unstable under braking. Editors found the interior ultramodern, and the materials have a premium look and feel. But one constant knock was the placement of the seat’s fore and aft adjuster.

Do you think the new Scion iQ has enough going for it to be Car of the Year? Stay tuned as we preview every car that Motor Trend tested for its 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year competition in alphabetical order in advance of the official announcement on Nov. 16.
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