TFLcar Performance Review: 2016 Scion iM CVT and Manual Take On Thunder Mountain [Video]

Two 2016 Scion iM hatchbacks line up at Bandimere Speedway.
Two 2016 Scion iM hatchbacks line up at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, CO.

It’s a bright autumn evening at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, CO. The two cars – one in bright silver, the other in electric blue – are brought to the starting line and staged under the tree.

Once the cars are in position, the lights count down: yellow, then green. The cars launch in a fury of screeching tires and billowing smoke.

Well, not quite.

At the starting line are two 2016 Scion iM hatchbacks, the same ones that were taken around the track at IMI Motorsports park. So what are these relatively tepid 5-door compacts doing on Thunder Mountain? They’re there to find out which is faster, the CVT or the six-speed manual.

In this latest TFLcar performance review, Roman Mica and Andre Smirnov take the twin iMs to Bandimere to find out not only which car is faster, but which driver is faster. Each one will take a turn in each car in order to take out the human factor in the quarter-mile test.


While drag strip, they also had a chance to talk to some of the other racers who came to the site of the NHRA Mile-High Nationals and check out their rides of both the two- and four-wheeled varieties.

The two Scions are nearly identical, except for the paint and the transmissions. Both have 1.8-liter four cylinder engines pumping out 137 horsepower, but at a mile high, they are putting out somewhere between 100 and 110 horsepower. The manual-equipped car has an 88-pound weight advantage over the CVT-equipped car.

The iM is a practical, stylish, fuel-efficient compact hatchback, but it also has some sporting pretension, with its aero body kit, 17-inch allow wheels and independent rear suspension. Most people won’t buy theirs based on quarter mile times, but some of the young buyers that Scion is trying to attract do care about the car’s performance.

So how did it turn out? Watch the full video below to see which of the 2016 Scion iM versions was the fastest, and to see who is the faster driver, Andre or Roman.