Scion iQ
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scion

Overall

Scion’s tiny iQ is an interesting idea for small transportation, but newcomers are larger and less expensive.

Drivetrain

The iQ’s itty-bitty 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine makes 94 horsepower; city fuel economy is good at 36 mpg, which is the iQ’s smart suit.

If you live in an area where you can’t quite wedge your car into the half a parking spot left over from the lunkhead who has taken up 1.5 spots, then the iQ is your set of wheels. It’s barely 10 feet long (roughly a foot longer than a smart fortwo) and has space, but not necessarily room, for four people. However, the person sitting directly behind the driver will have to be sufficiently flexible of to sit cross-legged for extended periods. That’s because this so-called “micro subcompact” offers a unique seating arrangement, with the driver’s chair positioned a few inches aft of the front passenger seat. This allows for reasonable legroom available behind the shotgun position, but barely any behind the driver. For all practical purposes, the iQ is a three-person proposition, but it still handily beats the fortwo. With three people aboard, there’s a mere mail slot’s worth of storage space that’s accessible through the hatch opening. With the back seat folded, stashing a couple of sets of golf clubs or full-size suitcases would not be out of the question. Yes, it’s small, but there’s nothing minimal about the 11 airbags strategically located about the cabin, including the first-ever rear-window airbag plus driver and front-passenger knee and seat-cushion airbags. Keeping the iQ on the go is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 94 horsepower and 89 pound-feet of torque. Considering the car’s modest 2,100-pound curb weight, it’s likely all that’s needed for most urban driving scenarios. The 1.3 is mated to a continuously variable transmission. The $16,000 iQ arrives in a well-equipped state, which means it costs a bit more than some larger competitors such as the Nissan Versa Note. Standard gear includes air conditioning, keyless remote entry, power windows and outside mirrors and a leather-wrapped adjustable steering wheel with audio controls. Also standard is a new 6.1-inch touch-screen display audio system that’s rolling out through the Scion line. Options include a navigation system, 16-inch alloy wheels, extra body plastic and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) lowering springs and front sway bar. And the iQ is finally getting into the Scion Special Edition mode with the Monogram Series, with two-tone paint, alloy wheels and — of course — monogrammed floor mats. It costs only $800 more than the base iQ, but there will only be 150 produced.

Base price (incl. destination): $16,750
Type: Two-door hatchback
Engine (hp): 1.3-liter DOHC I4 (94)
Layout: Front-engine, front- wheel-drive
Transmission: Continuously variable
MPG (city/hwy): 36/37
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; front knee airbags; front seat-cushion airbags; rear-window airbag; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 2,130