Used 2016 Scion iA Sedan Review

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.




what's new

The 2016 Scion iA is an all-new vehicle.

vehicle overview

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.

trim levels & features

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.

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.

safety

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.

driving

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.

interior

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.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.