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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
These guys are hard to impress, and they're pleased with the Scion iQ!
That should say a lot to this Scion iQ community!

Just like what they said, only time will tell how well the iQ will do for it's self and for Toyota/Scion. It could be a brand changer or a big waste of time, money and resources.

So far I think it's one of the best vehicles Toyota/Scion has to offer!

Struggling not to become the Saturn of the Toyota world, Scion is rapidly exploring formerly unchartered territory in its bid to become something between the irrelevant unknown and the obvious mainstream. If not the most ultimately critical spike in Scion’s three-pronged attack, which also includes the tC and upcoming FR-S sport-oriented cars, the urban runabout iQ might be the most innovative.

Before you decry it as a mere copy of the not-so-Smart ForTwo, take a tour of the iQ. Punny name aside, iQ brings to the table a level of intelligent packaging heretofore unheard of in the burgeoning minicar class. It stretches just 120.1 inches long, which puts it around half the length of a crew-cab full-size pickup, but it is capable of fitting three passengers and a modest amount of luggage – a trio of backpacks, for instance – in impressive comfort. Then consider that its turning radius is a full three feet smaller than a typical compact car’s, and that it features more airbags than any other car on the market, and suddenly the iQ’s nomenclature begins to make sense.

Outsmarting the competition?
The powers that be in Japan decided that this rather ForTwo-looking three-door would be better marketed as a Scion in North America, rather than with the Toyota badge markets like Asia and Europe have seen for a couple of years. The reasoning? Scion plays the funky brother to staid Toyota, a personality the parent company hasn’t leveraged well until now.

And the iQ certainly looks feels less like a Toyota than, say, the larger Yaris. From the outside, it boasts styling cues like a a happy-to-see-you front fascia and a quirky B and C-pillar arrangement that were clearly cribbed from the ForTwo. But Scion’s engineers rightfully point out that the compact proportions don’t offer much room for form that isn’t functional, so each curve and add-on, like vertical flares on the front fascia, serves a purpose. (The flares help direct air around the front wheels to reduce drag). Even the roof-mounted spoiler, which seems like an out-of-place sporty styling cue, helps move air the most efficient way.

Pop the iQ’s dinky front hood and you’ll find an itty-bitty we’re running out of synonyms for “small”) 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine with Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence. On paper, it cranks out a dismal 94 horsepower at a sky-high 6,000 rpm and 89 lb-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm, but the small dimensions pay off with a featherweight 2,100 lbs. curb weight.

An ultra-compact CVT with a sport mode and a braking mode for descending hilly terrain sends power to the front wheels, while a disc and drum setup stops the skinny (175-width) 16-inch steel wheels (alloys are about $650 from a wide accessory catalog typical of other Scions).

Clearly, there’s not much about this powertrain that is going to delight enthusiasts. But in practice, the iQ scoots along adroitly, with only a raspy buzz entering the cabin at higher rpms. Driven sanely, in the kind of situations urban owners might typically encounter, the iQ feels downright zippy. CVTs are rarely our favorite methods of putting power to the wheels, but Toyota rightly decided that the take rate for a five-speed stick shift would be so low that it couldn’t justify applying for costly certification.

Ride quality, with the standard front MacPherson struts and rear torsion beam, is firm and busy, but tolerable given the mere 78.1-inch wheelbase. Electric power steering is light on feel but nicely weighted, and it combined with the taut underpinnings and tight dimensions to give the iQ a pleasantly planted, yet tossable feel. Our drive time was exclusively on paved wilds of Houston, the largest city in the United States without zoning laws, so the closest thing we found to the Nurburgring was an exercise in zipping between the gas stations and drive-thru banks tucked curiously between houses. At least we were able to stumble across Daniel Boone Cycles, Houston’s oldest – and certainly quirkiest – bicycle shop (pictured in some photos). Our iQ tester felt right at home.

We also sampled an iQ with the dealer-installed TRD lowering springs. While that iQ – the orange one in our photos – had an especially squat appearance, we judged impact harshness to be on the wrong side of “railroad car.” Try before you buy.

The inside story
Although iQ might offer four seatbelts, it’s best to think of this one as a 2+1 – as in two front passengers and one occasional rear seat occupant. The front passenger’s seat is situated about four inches forward of the driver’s seat thanks to a carefully repackaged asymmetrical dashboard. Park the driver and passenger seats next to one another, as the extra-long passenger seat tracks will allow, and the shotgun seat has epic Town Car-like legroom. When the third wheel is along for a ride, the front passenger seat moves forward, giving both right-side riders surprisingly good room. That the lead iQ engineer is Toyota’s single-tallest pocket-protector type no doubt helped the development.

With just two passengers, space is positively pleasant up front thanks to more stretch-out room than most compacts, let alone any subcompact. Supportive front seats are covered in a stretchy cloth, although neither seat is height-adjustable. Otherwise, the iQ’s interior is pleasantly premium, a stark departure from earlier Toyota cheap car efforts. Soft-touch plastics adorn the door tops, armrests and dashboard, while even the hard stuff is nicely grained. Leather adorns the steering wheel and gear knob.

The rear seat features a 50/50 split-fold, although drivers must remove the rear headrests and tuck them away in a small storage cavity. With the seats up, there’s little storage room other than a drawer under the passenger’s seat and a few cupholders, but folded seats reveal 16.7 cubic feet of flat-bottomed space.

By the numbers
For urban runabouts, desirability is usually intrinsically tied to the digits. In terms of fuel economy, iQ nets an impressive 36 mpg in the city but a weak 37 mpg on the highway because of urban-oriented gearing (for 37 mpg combined). Positioned as the city car that the iQ is, this seems a reasonable compromise. But in practice, iQ is a pleasant enough runabout that shorter highway trips aren’t the chore that they are in, say, the ForTwo.

Then there’s the list price: $15,995 including destination but no accessories, which will be available during a staggered roll-out that will see iQs arriving next month on the West Coast, shortly thereafter across the southern swathe of the U.S. from Arizona to Florida and by the end of March in the rest of the country. That’s around $3,000 more than a ForTwo, but the iQ outsmarts its rival with far more equipment and a real-car feel (add air conditioning, a radio and power windows to a ForTwo and the difference is almost negligble). Up against the more stylish but less innovative $17,000 Fiat 500 automatic, the iQ is a tougher sell. But charismatic as the 500 is, it isn’t as thoroughly thought-out as the iQ.

Leftlane’s bottom line
Playful and creative, the iQ represents the kind of unorthodox thinking we don’t normally see from Toyota. That the iQ manages to combine one of Toyota’s best interiors with a degree of packaging that makes the Smart ForTwo entirely irrelevant is nearly reason enough for recommendation, but the iQ’s merits are more than meet the eye.

Time will tell if the iQ helps reinvigorate Scion, which nearly withered away on the Toyota vine. But we’re glad to see the brand come to the table with a highly-invigorated minicar that might just change perception of these urban runabouts.

2012 Scion iQ base price, $15,995 including $785 destination charge.

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...iQ nets an impressive 36 mpg in the city but a weak 37 mpg on the highway because of urban-oriented gearing (for 37 mpg combined)...
This kinda pisses me off. I can read the EPA specs for myself. You drove the damn thing! So what gas mileage did you get? I mean, isn't that your job? Or didn't you think that people interested in buying this car would care about gas mileage? Left Lane News, you suck!

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67 Posts
This kinda pisses me off. I can read the EPA specs for myself. You drove the damn thing! So what gas mileage did you get? I mean, isn't that your job? Or didn't you think that people interested in buying this car would care about gas mileage? Left Lane News, you suck!
haha I'm on you with this one, it doesn't make sense. It's something simple for them to make a note of, almost any idiot can record MPG numbers , it's not that hard.

There's ton's of Scion iQ reviews on this forum anyways, left lane news is good for some info, but reading other reviews help :cool:
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