2016 Scion iM Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Abundant standard features for the money
- comfortable and composed ride
- supportive front seats
- free scheduled maintenance.
- Class-worst acceleration
- less engaging to drive than rivals
- limited rear visibility
- smaller-than-average cargo capacity.
Even though the new 2016 Scion iM comes loaded with features, its shortcomings in performance, comfort and convenience are too hard to overlook. Most other compact hatchbacks will be better choices.
Notably, we picked the 2016 Scion iM as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars, Trucks and SUVs.
If you only did a casual inspection of the all-new 2016 Scion iM, you'd probably come away impressed. This little hatchback looks pretty sharp, gets good fuel economy and comes packed with features. But once you examine the iM in detail, its appeal diminishes.
First off, it's not nearly as exciting to drive as its styling suggests. It shares its underpinnings with the Toyota Corolla, and although it is more engaging to drive than its popular sibling, it falls far short of top compact hatchbacks. Performance is a contributing factor. The iM is not only considerably slower than its rivals, it's in a virtual tie for class slowest. At the same time, fuel economy is certainly thrifty but also comparatively unremarkable.
The 2016 Scion iM certainly looks sporty, but that's not exactly how it drives.
On the upside, the iM delivers a comfortable ride without being overly soft or wallowy. The front seats are also noteworthy for their lateral and long-distance support, boasting greater comfort than those of the Corolla and many competitors. Its cargo-carrying abilities are unremarkable, but there are plenty of places to store smaller items and drinks. As such, the iM is best suited to urban-dwelling singles or young couples in need of a daily commuter car that can handle the odd weekend road trip.
Another benefit of the iM is that it comes with two years of free initial scheduled maintenance, which is unheard of for economy cars. It also provides more standard equipment than similarly priced competitors. In the end, though, we gave the iM a "B" rating and think you can ultimately do better given the other entrants in the compact sedan and hatchback segment. The Edmunds "A"-rated Mazda 3 is as good as hatchbacks get, closely followed by the always popular and highly refined Volkswagen Golf. To lesser degrees, the Ford Focus and Kia Forte 5 represent solid choices, too. When considering the iM, we recommend that you check out any of these alternatives in the process.
2016 Scion iM models
The 2016 Scion iM is a five-passenger hatchback that is offered in one well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, automatic headlights, power-folding heated mirrors, full power accessories, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping column with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker stereo with HD radio, Aha streaming Internet radio and a USB interface.
This slick-looking touchscreen interface comes standard on every 2016 Scion iM.
Options include a navigation system, interior ambient lighting and various sport body enhancements. Also available are performance upgrades from TRD (Toyota Racing Development) that include an air filter, stiffer sway bars and lowering springs.
Performance & mpg
Powering the Scion iM is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 137 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). In Edmunds performance testing, a CVT-equipped iM sauntered from zero to 60 mph in 10 seconds, making it one of the slowest in the segment and off the pace by quite a lot.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 31 mpg combined (27 city/36 highway) for the manual and 32 mpg combined (28 city/37 highway) for the CVT. These figures are good, but top rivals are even thriftier.
Standard safety features for the 2016 Scion iM include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and a front passenger seat cushion airbag.
In Edmunds brake testing, an iM stopped from 60 mph in a class-average 122 feet.
Despite its sporty styling, the iM's performance is barely adequate. The four-cylinder engine is thrashy and gutless, and resulting acceleration is quite simply worst in the class. Competitors are not only more powerful, but more efficient as well. The only bright spot is the CVT, which actually does a pretty good job of unobtrusively selecting the ideal engine rpm for a given driving condition.
The 2016 Scion iM provides a comfortable yet controlled ride.
We're also impressed with the iM's ride quality, which demonstrates plenty of bump-soaking compliance while still maintaining a sense of composure and control. But go around some turns and it all goes downhill. The car's abundance of top-heavy body roll saps the driver's confidence, and its steering is so devoid of feel it might as well have been jabbed by a big needle full of Novocaine. Overall, the 2016 iM falls well short of the standard set by other hatchbacks in this regard.
The Scion iM's interior is competitive with other hatchbacks in terms of contemporary design and materials quality, and is indeed far superior to anything that has previously worn the Scion badge. There are plenty of soft-touch and padded surfaces, with the center console in particular featuring a cushioned area for the driver's leg covered in simulated leather. We're also fans of the standard 7-inch touchscreen that is easy to reach, features sensible menus and is very quick to react. Standard dual-zone automatic climate control is another nice touch.
Although we're generally fans of the 2016 iM's interior, the dashboard is oddly upright.
Taller drivers will have enough head- and legroom, though some extra steering wheel telescoping reach would be appreciated. The rear seat isn't as welcoming, as there's merely sufficient headroom, and legroom that falls below average for the segment. Cargo capacity is also a bit smaller than other hatchbacks in this class, with only 20.8 cubic feet available behind the rear seats. But the cargo area is usefully wide, and the upright hatch provides enhanced space for bulkier items.
Forward visibility is good thanks to a raked-back windshield and narrow roof pillars, but the small rear hatch window is tiny and forces heavy reliance on the rearview camera. There are no blind-spot mirrors or warning systems available, nor any other driver warning systems.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
The all-new 2016 Scion iM is a compact hatchback in a very competitive segment. It's comfortable and delivers plenty of features for the price, but its performance and interior space fall below the segment best.
What Is It?
The 2016 Scion iM is a compact, four-door hatchback that competes with the Ford Focus, Kia Forte 5, Mazda 3 and VW Golf. The iM is based on the Toyota Corolla and comes with a similar 137-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. This is good when it comes to likely reliability, but it doesn't produce enough power to be competitive.
The iM is about 2 inches shorter in height than these rivals, narrower in width by an inch or two and splits the difference in overall length between the Focus and Elantra GT. The Mazda 3 is the biggest in this class, measuring 5 inches longer than the iM with about a 4-inch-longer wheelbase. The Scion has a sportier appearance than most other hatchbacks, with sharp body creases, a raked-back windshield and side skirts that give it an aggressive stance.
Haggle-free pricing starts at $19,995 for the iM with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), or $19,255 if you choose the six-speed manual. These price points represent a sort of sweet spot for the segment, while the features list is actually more generous than usual among similarly priced competitors. Standard features like 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera and iPod/USB auxiliary audio are increasingly the norm, but the iM distinguishes itself from the rest by also adding two years of free scheduled maintenance, keyless ignition and entry, power-folding mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 7-inch touchscreen audio system with Internet streaming radio and apps. Navigation is available as an option, as are various sporty exterior enhancements and suspension alterations.
How Does It Drive?
There's a standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood that delivers 137 hp and 126 pound-feet of torque. That's not a lot, even for the compact-car segment, and the iM constantly reminds you of it. Acceleration is near the bottom of the class, needing 10 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. Most competitors are at least 1 or 2 seconds quicker, and it's a difference you can feel in the real world. Whether merging onto a highway or pulling away from a traffic light, the engine feels weak and overmatched while emitting thrashy, uncouth noises that make accelerating slowly a more palatable driving choice.
Should you do that, the CVT will provide impeccably smooth "acceleration." Should you opt to drive with a little more gusto, the CVT actually does a pretty good job (many do not) getting what it can from the little engine. An even heavier foot will cause the CVT to simulate gearchanges, making it feel more like a conventional automatic and mitigating the usual droning noises indicative of this alternative transmission type. There's even a Sport mode that did an impressive job of holding revs high on both the uphill and downhill stretches of our standard evaluation route.
Unlike the engine, the iM's handling is a clear improvement upon the Corolla. There's more driver engagement to be found, with a reasonably playful and agile attitude detected both at our test track and in the real world. Yet, while it doesn't dissuade one to drive with some enthusiasm, it doesn't encourage it like some competitors do — especially the Mazda 3.
Is It Comfortable?
The iM's ride quality drew praise. Our editors almost universally returned from driving this latest Scion impressed by the comfort and composure exhibited by its suspension. It generally feels more grown-up and sophisticated than past, unsubstantial-feeling Scions as well as being an improvement upon the Corolla. It really is one of the iM's stand-out attributes.
Front-seat space is also quite good, with just enough driver-seat adjustment for tall drivers. The seats themselves also drew universal praise, with more lateral support than normal for the segment and firm cushions that prevented fatigue after many hours behind the wheel. This is yet another area where the iM outpaces the Corolla.
The same cannot be said of the backseat, which is one of the smallest in the segment along with the Ford Focus. Headroom is acceptable, but legroom is comparatively restrictive. We're not sure we'd call it cramped — it actually would've been quite good not so long ago, but today's rivals are more spacious, with the Mazda 3 providing an additional 3 inches of legroom.
How Nice Is the Interior?
To date, Scions have been known for cabins constructed of hard, black plastic and not an ounce of anything one could deem "premium." That changes with the new iM, which has materials that give up little (if anything) to its competitors. Most of the surfaces you see or frequently touch are soft, while everything else is at least of a quality appearance and texture. We especially appreciated the padded area on the center console where the driver can rest their leg. The standard dual-zone automatic climate controls look as if they were removed from a far more expensive car, boasting a nice glossy feel, solid movement and easy-to-use operation.
The standard 7-inch touchscreen is a tad aftermarket in its appearance (that's because it's made by Pioneer), but like those in other Toyota-group cars, it is refreshingly easy to use and very quick to react to inputs. We also thought the sound system was above average for a $20,000 car.
Forward visibility is excellent, thanks to the narrow roof pillars and a steeply slanted hood that provide an expansive view of the road. On the other hand, rear visibility is reduced by a short hatch window and large rear roof pillars, forcing heavy reliance on the standard rearview camera.
Cargo space is also far from ideal. The trunk is usefully wide, but it's not that deep and there's very little space above the rigid cargo cover, so its usefulness as a hatchback with the seats raised is negligible. Lowering the backseats does make it more versatile than sedan rivals — including the Corolla — but it's not quite as spacious as the Mazda 3 or Volkswagen Golf.
Small-item storage is much better, with eight (!) cupholders spread equally front and rear. The enormous bottle holders in the rear doors are of particular note. The front armrest bin is also quite large, while the existence of a small smartphone bin forward of the shifter is appreciated even if there's not quite enough room to stuff both your phone and its wire.
What About Safety?
In addition to the typical or mandated safety features, the Scion iM comes with side airbags up front, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and a passenger seat cushion airbag that helps keeps the occupant in an ideal position during a frontal collision. A rearview camera is standard, as is a hill-hold function for vehicles with the manual transmission.
In Edmunds brake testing, the iM came to an emergency stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is average for the segment. It also performed several stops of a similar distance, demonstrating a resistance to brake fade.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Does It Get?
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 32 mpg in combined driving (28 city/37 highway) with the CVT. With a manual, the iM gets 1 less mpg across the board. Meanwhile, we averaged 33.2 mpg with the CVT on our standardized evaluation route. Either way, these figures are certainly thrifty, but others in the class are even more efficient and more powerful to boot. In other words, don't expect a fuel economy tradeoff for that laggardly acceleration.
What Does the Scion iM Compete Against?
The Edmunds "A"-rated Mazda 3 is a standout in the hatchback class, as is the Volkswagen Golf. Both of these cars are better overall than the Scion iM, offering more refinement, stronger performance and larger cabins. We strongly suggest testing them out before committing to the dotted line. To a lesser degree but still stronger than the Scion are the Ford Focus and Kia Forte 5 hatchbacks.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
The Scion iM offers lots of value to singles or young couples in search of a daily commuter car that can handle the odd weekend road trip. It's comfortable, safe and packed with features for a reasonable price, while boasting added value by way of two years of free scheduled maintenance, a no-haggle buying experience and Toyota's sterling reputation for reliability.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
The main rivals listed above are quite simply more well-rounded and appealing, especially in terms of performance, fuel economy and interior space. The Scion iM is an OK choice, but others are stronger overall.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2016 Scion iM Overview
The Used 2016 Scion iM is offered in the following submodels: iM Hatchback. Available styles include 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6M), and 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl CVT). The Used 2016 Scion iM comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed manual, continuously variable-speed automatic. The Used 2016 Scion iM 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 iM?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Scion iM trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Scion iM Base is priced between $15,067 and$19,998 with odometer readings between 26417 and86506 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 iMS 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 iM for sale near. There are currently 20 used and CPO 2016 iMS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,067 and mileage as low as 26417 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 iM.
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Scion iM?
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.