2016 Scion iA Review
2016 Scion iA Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Strong value, as just about every feature comes standard
- engaging handling for the class
- refined interior
- high fuel economy.
- Small rear passenger space
- compromised comfort for taller drivers.
The 2016 Scion iA is an all-new vehicle.
In the subcompact sedan class, affordability and economy are typically top priorities for shoppers. The all-new 2016 Scion iA easily satisfies these requirements, yet it's also packed with features and very desirable to own.
It wasn't too long ago when buying a subcompact sedan meant having to sacrifice performance and refinement and foregoing many standard and optional features. You might not have paid much, but you didn't get much, either. Recent entries in this segment have been gradually changing the paradigm, however, and that's abundantly clear with the all-new 2016 Scion iA.
Packed with features and fun to drive, the iA sets a new standard for its class. You could argue that it fits perfectly with the types of cars Scion likes to build. In actuality, though, the iA is a rebadged version of the new Mazda 2 sedan and not a Toyota (Scion's parent company) at all. The 2 won't be sold in the United States, though, so the iA is the only way to get this car's upscale interior, lively handling and intuitive technology interface.
The 2016 Scion iA's strengths lie in its interior refinement and engaging driving experience.
Combine these attributes with competitive pricing, better than average fuel economy and a full two years of initial free scheduled maintenance, and it's easy to see why we consider it a top car in its class. The iA isn't the roomiest option, though, so if you really want a subcompact for hauling stuff, you'll likely be better off with the Honda Fit hatchback. A fun-to-drive attitude and the latest tech features are also big selling points for the popular Ford Fiesta, so it might be worth checking out as well. But by hitting the sweet spot between economy and quality better than its already strong rivals, the decision to choose a 2016 Scion iA is an easy one.
Performance & mpg
Under the hood of the 2016 Scion iA is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission, with a six-speed automatic available at extra cost. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 37 mpg combined (33 city/42 highway) for the automatic and 35 mpg combined (31 city/41 highway) for the manual. These figures are on the high end for the class.
Standard safety features of the iA include antilock brakes (with rear drums), front-seat side airbags and front, rear and side curtain airbags as well as traction and stability control. A low-speed forward collision warning system with automatic braking is also included, which is rare in the class, even as an option.
With modest power coming from the small four-cylinder engine, the Scion iA requires a lot of time and a heavy foot on the gas pedal to get up to highway speeds. A tap of the Sport button on models with the automatic transmission noticeably sharpens response and keeps the revs higher, but you still need to floor it to merge into traffic or pass slower vehicles.
Like many compact sedans, the Scion iA lacks power, but makes up for it with commendable handling.
With the underpinnings of the Mazda 2, the Scion iA benefits from sharp handling (at least among subcompact sedans). Reactions to steering inputs are immediate and predictable, making it one of the more engaging cars to drive in the class. It also delivers a smooth and compliant ride, and wind and road noise are present, but never intrusive.
Shoppers in the compact sedan segment generally have lower expectations when it comes to interior refinement, but the 2016 Scion iA significantly raises the bar for comfort and thoughtful design. Materials used throughout the cabin are similar to those found in pricier cars, and the infotainment system dial interface rivals that of luxury-branded sedans. The 7-inch touchscreen is perfectly placed right in the driver's sight lines and the sharp graphics can be read at a quick glance.
The Scion iA's interior comes with several features normally found in more expensive vehicles.
The front seats have only the basic adjustments, but average and shorter passengers will likely find these seats supportive enough for extended periods. Taller drivers may have to compromise their preferred positions since the short extension of the telescoping steering wheel may force them closer to the dash than they'd like.
Rear accommodations are typical for the class, meaning the iA's rear seat is better suited for small passengers due to a lack of head- and legroom. The tall door panels and small windows also tend to make the space feel even more confined. Cargo capacity is above average for the class, with 13.5 cubic feet of capacity. The low liftover height and remote seatback release further improve usability.
2016 Scion iA models
The 2016 Scion iA is a compact sedan that is available in a single but well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, a low-speed forward collision warning system with automatic braking, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats and air-conditioning.
On the technology front, you also get a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen with an accompanying dial controller, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker audio system with Internet streaming radio, voice recognition and a USB interface. A navigation system is one of the few available options.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Scion iA is a great car
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 6A)
The Scion iA far exceeds our expectations. For an extremely low purchase price, it came loaded, handles great, has great fuel economy and is loaded with safety features. We bought it for the kids to drive, we wanted them to have the safety features not available on a used car. We added the navigation for $400 so the kids don't have to hold their phone to navigate. The back seat is … small but my son pointed out that there is plenty of room in the front and if his friends want a ride, they won't complain. I would have no problem if this were my primary vehicle. The only thing I would add is a center armrest. Mazda makes a great small car. The only think Toyota did to mess it up is add an ugly front end. This is not a super-powerful, super-fast super-stylish or super-big car, it is exactly what we were looking for: a small entry level car that is safe and enjoyable to drive.
5 out of 5 stars
2016 Scion iA - great looking & riding sub compact
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 6A)
First off, be aware that Scion is no longer being made as of about April 2016 and that Toyota is absorbing the brand into the Toyota name so this is the last of the Scion's. Fortunately the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is the rebadged Scion iA so sourcing parts in the future shouldn't be an issue. That said, the leg room for the driver was comfortable, driver foot pretty much straight rather … than cocked over to the left and legs can comfortably lean against flat areas. The automatic has a manual mode and "sport" mode for quicker acceleration. It feels a bit laggy when accelerating but given it only has a 1.5cc engine it's to be expected and sport mode helps give it more zip. Great cargo space though rear seat space is very tight which is fine for me as I wasn't anticipating having passengers often. I like all the electronics it has. Features: Remote entry with push button engine start / stop, 7" screen with backup camera, optional GPS system (add $399 to price though negotiated it down to $199), bluetooth connection to phone that shows text messages on screen, voice commands, electic locks / windows / mirrors. Dash shows temperature, miles till empty, average mpg. Sounds system pretty decent with knob select and volume control on both steering wheel and between seats. Also has 2 USB connectors & accessory plug (cigarette lighter). I keep a Samsung wireless fast charger in there that is velcro'd down so phone just sits on it to charge. Pros: I like both the interior & exterior styling, gas milage (up to 42mph on highway), bluetooth / phone / 7" display / backup camera and handling. Price seemed very competitive, got mine new for $15888 which included navigation chip and title / licensing. Because no more Scion's are being made, should expect aggressive pricing to clear out 2016 inventory. Cons: One reviewer said tires custom to Toyota dealer though haven't confirmed that. The dash lights are not quite as bright for daylight driving as I'd like so have a hard time seeing information displayed (even after adjusting to full brightness) though at night time is great. Rear deck lid I've found open multiple times due to button in pocket being pressed on inadvertently for 2 seconds or more though there may be a way of adjusting that (update: there was an option to make delay longer so no longer an issue). Rear seat head rests at funky angle and not very comfortable according to my one passenger. Other: No armrests though I don't like them anyways so not a con for me. The 7" display is permanently stuck up, probably for backup purposes and can be disabled at night if you don't want a glare.
5 out of 5 stars
A Fun Drive in a Cool Ride
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 6A)
The 2016 Scion iA Sedan is a fun little car to drive. I just bought mine four days ago and have already put 400 miles on it and only had to fill up once. The gas mileage is amazing which I get 48 on the hwy and is the main reason that I bought this car along with the Scion name and Toyota backing. I really enjoy the beautifully appointed interior with a pleasing and modern look. The … outside gives the car a nice sporty vibe. The handling is great – I feel that the car sits firm on the road and takes bumps without any hesitation. The “info-tainment” center is something truly special. I love the entire connectivity of the car and back-up cam which all came standard and really added to the incentive of buying a sub-compact. What could be better? The acceleration leaves something to be desired – you don’t fly the way you expect in a small car like this. It takes a moment to get moving, but the drive itself is great. I’m still getting used to the very go-kart like gas pedal. The interior can feel a little cheap with all the plastic and the A/C knobs really need upgrading from 1991. No arm rest at all, which in hindsight seems like at least they could of added a fold down rest like a movie theater seat. There is no real backseat for other than hauling a family pet or some stuff, but people would feel cramped stuck back there for any length of time. I’m a commuter so I just don’t need the extra space. I’m very happy and proud to own the Scion iA. The beauty of this car is the bang for your buck and the look of a little racer. I don’t think it has an ugly face on the front, but that is just me. I would highly recommend going and test driving one. I will update my review when I hit 10,000 miles.
5 out of 5 stars
Love this little car!
4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 6A)
I've had this 2016 Scion iA for a month now and driven 1,200 miles on it. I live in a heavily populated city and commute an hour to work so buying this car was just a given. I had driven other sub compact cars and this one handled the best with the best MPG. I drive around 300-400 miles a week and fill up every other week. Average MPG has been 38 for me. It is super easy to park also. … That is a big plus for me since I have to parallel park everywhere and with the backup camera that comes standard it definitely helps. Another big plus on buying this car was the 2 year free maintenance package. My previous car I was taking it into the shop every few months for not only oil changes but a wide variety of issues even though it was only 4 years old when I sold it. So saving some cash in that area is awesome! All in all it is a great little car for the price! The only two drawbacks are these: acceleration is lagging when merging onto the highway but the sport feature definitely helps when I remember to push the button & the backseat area is very very tiny - tall people and this car will not go well together (luckily my boyfriend and I are on the shorter side so it works out). I do very much recommend this car to city dwellers, commuters and first time car buyers.
Features & Specs
More about the 2016 Scion iA
More About This Model
The 2016 Scion iA sedan is a strong value given its affordable price tag, plentiful features and good performance for the class. It's only a few minor improvements away from being a top contender in this increasingly competitive segment.
What Is It?
The 2016 Scion iA is an all-new compact sedan in the brand's lineup. It's not an entirely new car, though, as it's actually a Mazda 2 sedan that's been restyled by Scion for the U.S. market. (The Mazda 2 sedan was never sold in the U.S.) Scion benefits from Mazda's recently improved quality, features, fuel economy and performance. Value defines the iA, with a starting price of $16,495 for the six-speed manual transmission model. The optional six-speed automatic adds another $1,100.
We tested both transmissions and recommend the automatic-equipped version over the six-speed manual. Though it accelerates slightly more slowly, the automatic does away with the manual's poor clutch and shifter feel.
Compared to other subcompact sedans like the Chevrolet Sonic or Ford Fiesta, the Scion iA is slightly smaller in most dimensions. Its 171.7-inch-long body is about 2 inches shorter than the Ford Fiesta, and the iA is an inch or so narrower than the Fiesta and the Sonic. One notable area where the iA is larger is its 101.2-inch wheelbase. That's nearly 2 inches longer than the Sonic and more than 3 inches longer than the Fiesta. The result is more than 3 extra inches of legroom in back compared to the Fiesta.
Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, air-conditioning, cruise control, a 7-inch touchscreen, Internet streaming radio apps, Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview camera. Two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance further sweetens the deal. A navigation system is among the few options available, but neither of our test cars was so equipped.
How Does It Drive?
The 2016 Scion iA is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. This is significantly less power than its domestic competition, as the Fiesta gets a standard 1.6-liter engine with 120 hp while the Chevy Sonic comes standard with a 1.8-liter engine making 138 hp.
Sixty mph arrives in 9.1 seconds in the manual transmission version, which is several tenths slower than the Honda Fit with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and Ford Fiesta EcoBoost with a five-speed manual transmission. When equipped with the six-speed automatic, the iA is marginally slower.
With that in mind, we weren't all that surprised that the iA takes its time reaching highway speeds. On models with the automatic transmission, a quick flick of the Sport switch noticeably sharpens engine response and holds gears longer to improve acceleration, but you still have to floor it when merging with faster-moving traffic.
Thanks in no small part to it being a Mazda underneath, the iA is surprisingly capable when tossed into turns, at least compared to other subcompact sedans.
Though its tires howl in protest and Mazda's usually precise steering is noticeably absent, the iA performs adequately. In other words, it'll make evasive maneuvers without trouble, but it will do so without much feedback.
The brakes also feel trustworthy and easy to modulate, while the braking distances are average for the segment.
Road, tire and wind noise are an ever-present downside in most subcompacts and they're noticeable here, too. One of our two test cars had a wind-induced whistle near the driver side window, which was present even at low speeds. Otherwise, there's no more tire and road noise in the iA than any other sedan in this class.
What's It Like Inside?
Considering the Scion iA's price and competition, it exceeded our expectations for comfort and refinement. The front seats offer only basic adjustments, but there's ample support and cushioning for comfortable long-distance cruising. Taller drivers may wish for more extension from the telescoping steering wheel, though, as the lack of range will force them into a more upright position closer to the dash.
Adult-size passengers relegated to the rear seats will notice the lack of head- and legroom that is typical for this class. A sloping rear roof line and tall waistline contribute to the feeling of confinement.
The iA's interior is among the best in the class, and the praiseworthy infotainment system found in other Mazda vehicles suits the Scion brand's tech focus. A 7-inch touchscreen is placed right in the driver's sight line, and the knob-based controller is similar to that of BMW and Mercedes. Stitched leather on the dash and doors is a nice touch not found in other subcompacts. There are an abundance of plastic surfaces inside, some of which look and feel cheap, so there's still some room for improvement.
Rear visibility is impeded by a tall rear deck lid, but the standard rearview camera removes any guesswork when reversing. A fortunate byproduct of the elevated rear deck is very useful cargo space, though on paper, its 13.5-cubic-foot capacity is only average. The trunk is tall and deep, with a low liftover height and a remote release on the key fob. The split-folding rear seats don't fold flat, but can be released via individual handles inside the trunk.
What Safety Features Are Available?
In addition to the basic safety features mandated by the government, the Scion iA comes with seat-mounted side and side curtain airbags. There's also a standard low-speed (under 18 mph) frontal collision warning and automatic braking system, which is a rare option in this class, let alone a standard feature.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the iA as a Top Safety Pick +, which means it performs highly in all of the agency's crash tests.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Does It Get?
Our automatic-transmission-equipped tester produced an impressive 44.8 mpg on our standard test loop and 31 mpg overall over two weeks (33 overall for the automatic). This places the iA among the most fuel-efficient subcompacts we've tested. Its primary rivals, the Fit and Fiesta, only managed the mid-30s on our loop.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 37 mpg combined (33 city/42 highway) for the automatic transmission and 35 mpg combined (31 city/41 highway) for the manual, numbers that place it at the top of the class by a narrow margin.
What Vehicles Does the Scion iA Compete Against?
There are currently three Edmunds "A"-rated subcompacts. Among those, the Honda Fit is the most utilitarian. It offers a versatile interior design, with unique rear seats that fold both vertically and horizontally to create a highly functional rear seat/cargo area.
Ford's Fiesta offers both sedan and hatchback body styles and two powertrain configurations. Combine the Fiesta's striking styling and low cost and it, too, receives our highest mark.
A quiet, comfortable interior is rare in a subcompact, but that's part of what earns the Hyundai Accent its "A" rating.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
In a segment that is narrowly focused on affordability, this newcomer has broad appeal, delivering a nice interior, abundant features and impressive fuel economy. Two years of free scheduled maintenance is virtually unheard of in this class.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
The Scion iA's lack of rear passenger space is its most significant drawback, even though many rivals don't fare much better. If you regularly transport more than one passenger, there are better choices. The atypical Honda Fit seems positively spacious by comparison.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2016 Scion iA Overview
The Used 2016 Scion iA is offered in the following submodels: iA Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 6A), and 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 6M). The Used 2016 Scion iA comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed manual. The Used 2016 Scion iA comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2016 Scion iA?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Scion iA trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Scion iA Base is priced between $13,998 and$19,990 with odometer readings between 6968 and113544 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2016 Scion iAS are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Scion iA for sale near. There are currently 46 used and CPO 2016 iAS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,998 and mileage as low as 6968 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Scion iA.
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Scion iA?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.