I drove the white IQ today at Pasadena Toyota.
Before I talk about the driving experience, I have to say that the seats felt comfortable and supportive. There is plenty of room both in passenger and the driver's area. The materials indeed look like they are high quality. The radio is just ok.
The rear area is small but might be adequate for most people to carry the grocery bags.
The first thing I noticed when having the engine started, is the loud exhaust noise. (Disclaimer: I drive a '10 Honda Fit Manual, so my impressions are strongly influenced by comparing the IQ with the Fit).
The loud exhaust made it sound like a Smart car, which really sounds like a small tractor. I have to say that I didn't like the sound as it made the car feel cheap and as if it has poor sound insulation.
I drove it around town and did not have a chance to drive it on the freeway. The car absorbed bumps easier than the Fit does. The visibility is good (Fit is better though).
The steering felt too easy to turn and it didn't self-center. The car felt funny when going over the speed bump. (It felt as if you are riding in the back of a buggy or the back of the bus. I felt as if I was thrown up sitting on top of a single axle that went over a bump. It was an amusing feeling but not something I would want to experience on a daily basis.
The cvt transmission did not remind of itself, so I guess it was ok for me. However, I reaffirmed my preference to drive cars with manual transmission. I've been told by a Scion salesman at Longo Toyota, that the manual transmission IQ will be sold in the States in 2013. He claimed that it is a fact and the decision has already been made.
I guess overall I was slightly disappointed. The steering feel lacks precision and is much more floaty compared to the Fit. The CVT does noticeably reduce the fun of driving and controlling the driving dynamics. The rear cargo area is indeed small, of course compared to the Fit. The price of the IQ was over 17K with the alloy wheels (and this is a base Fit or a Manual Yaris territory).
On the plus side, the interior is pleasant, the car should be super easy to park and maneuver in tight spaces. It definitely is unique and should deliver Toyota's expected reliability.
I guess I will be waiting for the manual IQ and give it another try. For now, I am glad Scion finally began selling them as the waiting period and frequent release delays caused many potential customers to chose another car.
Did anyone else test drive one? I'd like to hear others' impressions.