2016 Scion iM Test Drive: A Sporty and Versatile Hatchback [Review]

2016 Scion iM

Late last year, the Scion team of Toyota Motor Sales launched two new models for the 2016 model year. One represented the first sedan model for the Scion brand – the Scion iA, a compact four-door, five-passenger sedan. The other was the Scion iM – a stylish 5-door hatchback with a youthful presence. The iA sedan was certainly okay for what it was supposed to be and do, but my personal preference was and is for the better-looking and more versatile iM hatchback.

The addition of the two new models brought the total current number of available Scions to five: the new Scion iA sedan; the Scion xB a boxy hatch, the new iM 5-door hatchback; the tC coupe; and the Scion FR-S, which partnered with the Subaru BRZ as a high-performance sports coupe. There was a diminutive Scion iQ coupe which went away a while ago, and the announcement was made recently that the xB is scheduled to be scrubbed from the lineup.Toyota Motor Sales has decided even more recently to pull the plug on the entire Scion lineup.

2016 scion family

Onward to reviewing and evaluating the 2016 Scion iM. It draws its styling inspiration from the Toyota Auris hatchback, which is sold globally with the exception of the North American marketplace. The iM displays a racy, euro hot hatch persona and it actually outperforms its iA stablemate by a small margin. The design influence is definitely infused with a large dose of Toyota DNA, starting up front with the hexagon lower grille, sharp, eye-like headlights and side bezels with a honeycomb mesh pattern as seen also on the FR-S sports car. The aerodynamic imagery carries over to the profile, that suggests dynamic movement from the lower front to the rear. Think of it as a “swoosh line” executed in steel.

Detailing on the Scion iM belies its affordable pricing. The piano black grille treatment, standard sporty body aero kit, LED daytime running lights and taillights serve up an unmistakable signature. As with the iA, the iM packaging is based upon a mono-spec philosophy – in other words, it comes equipped essentially one way only, in terms of mechanicals and features. The only exceptions are color (there are six to choose from) and two transmission choices – a six-speed manual gearbox, or an advanced CVTi S automatic (Continuously Variable Transmission) with 7-step shifting.

2016 Scion iM

The cabin provides standard bolstered front sports seats that fit nicely and also integrate a Whiplash Injury Lessening structure for occupant protection. Quality materials appear throughout with a layered dashboard design that blends sports car-inspired instrument panel styling with easy to reach and easy-to-use controls.

There is an acoustic layer windshield, foam-type insulation and floor silencer sheets that enhance NVH quality. Additional standard fare includes 60/40 fold-down rear seats and cargo cover; a roomy glove box and console box are augmented by numerous front door pockets and storage bins throughout.

The iM comes with a high-grade multimedia system. The 6-speaker Pioneer sound system can play from a variety of sources, including iPods and other devices. Control is accessed through a 7-inch Pioneer display audio unit that also includes standard HD radio and Aha. The screen also provides the view for the standard rear backup camera.

2016 Scion iM interior

Genuine leather wraps the steering wheel that includes fingertip switches for audio, multi-info display and hands-free phone calls via Bluetooth. The 4.2-inch color TFT multi-information display between the primary instrument gauges provides displays for the car’s audio system and other functions (a Scion first).

The Scion iM steps up in class with a dual-zone automatic A/C control. Color-keyed, heated power-folding exterior mirrors and auto on/off headlamps are also standard features.

The iM’s power comes in the form of a front, transversely mounted 1.8-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine, with chain drive featuring VALVEMATIC and electronic fuel injection and delivering 137 horses at 6,100 rpm along with 126 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, propelling the front wheels.

2016 Scion iM

Scion offers a full range of dealer-installed accessories for customization and personalization, including a navigation upgrade kit, body graphics, cargo area enhancements, an interior light kit, all-weather floor mats and more. Owners can customize their iM with parts from the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) performance catalog, with items such as an air intake system, sway bar, lowering springs and more.

My first Scion iM experience came in a Blizzard Pearl exterior finished model with a Charcoal interior with the CVT transmission. I just recently was afforded the opportunity to spend more time in a Classic Silver metallic finished vehicle with a black patterned cloth interior, also with the CVT shiftable gearbox, base priced at $19,200. which came to a total of $20,334. after adding for carpeted floor and cargo mats, wheel locks, rear bumper protector and delivery, processing and handling fees.

SUMMARY: The 2016 Scion iM delivers a more than satisfactory package in its versatile and highly functional 5-door hatchback form. Its sporty good looks and matching performance attributes, efficient operation (28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway), and affordability make it an ideal choice for young and old alike with an active lifestyle.

2016 Scion iM

The electronic power steering makes low-speed maneuvering a breeze, yet also generates a positive feedback at higher speeds. Acceleration provided by the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine doesn’t allow for drag racing challenges, but serves its intended purpose quite well – nimble, while also economical.

The ride quality will be on the firm side by some driver’s perspectives but is really quite comfortable.

Bottom line, the Scion iM provides a good looking, practical and affordable ride for five. It’s a shame that the Scion brand will soon go the way of the dinosaur. There is a chance, however, that some models may possibly morph over into Toyota-land in the future.

In this TFLcar ‘first drive’ review Roman gets behind of the wheel of this Spring Green Metallic 2016 Scion iM and finds out just how well it drives.

MSRP $18,460 – $19,200
Price as tested $20,334
Engine 1.8L DOHC inline 4-cylinder
Power (hp) 137 @ 6,100 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 126 @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual or CVTi-S 7-speed automatic
Drivetrain layout transverse mounted front engine / front-wheel-drive
Curb weight 2,943 lbs. (manual) | 3,031 (CVT)
EPA-estimated fuel economy mpg 27/36/31 (manual) | 28/37/32 (CVT) city/hwy/combined