First and foremost; this is a Toyota built by Mazda in Mexico. That's a plus for value, performance, pricing and design. The pros are many and I'll list a few. The 6 speed manual transmission ranks with BMW for ease of shifting and overall responsiveness. The car handles as well or, probably, far better than any car in its class. Fuel economy is on the fringe of a hybrid. I get 32 to 35 in town and 44+ on the highway. You'll hear the car is sluggish on hills and while passing at high speeds. I can only believe comments like that are based on the automotive or not shifting at higher RPMs (3,200 to 3,600). If you shift at lower RPMs the car does not receive adequate torque and may seem sluggish. It's not. The car's safety features are first in its class and one can expect a five star crash rating. It comes with a myriad of standard features; many you'll pay more for in other cars in its class. The information system is easy to use and provides you a wide range of necessary information and entertainment features. I could add many more pros but choose to provide you with a few cons. This is a four seater. The center back seat is virtually useless. The car's digital tachometer, with its analogue design, is small and hard to read in direct sunlight. This is a minor issue because, with the manual transmission, it's a necessity. In the center of the tach you'll see two numbers; the gear you're in and the gear Toyota suggests you should be in. The suggested gear must be based upon fuel economy not performance. It has you shifting into 6th gear at 47 MPH...absurd. In summary this is not a sub compact. It's the same size as the Civic. Making it a compact. I've owned several cars including numerous BMWs, a Lexus and Jaguar. For $16,500 to $20,000, finding a better car, especially with an exceptional 6 speed manual, will be virtually impossible.
If you sit inside of the more expensive Corolla or even a Camry and get a feel for their infotainment system and touchscreen interface and controls and then go inside of the iA and use its center control dial system and gorgeous upright 7-inch display I dare say that you would heavily consider the iA over the Corolla and yes even the Camry. It works so well and feels like it was intended for a Mercedes or BMW. The control inputs show up FAST on the screen and that backup camera is incredibly sharp - I can make out individual blades of grass and pebbles of gravel. Yes, outward visibility on the iA is very good and with that 7-inch backup camera image quality parking is extremely easy. No, the perfectly positioned upright 7-inch screen does NOT get washed out by sun glare whatsoever. Push-button start is a great feature for convenience and if you prefer the silence of not having keys jingle over bumps or swinging and scraping your steering column. You have to pay for that by going up to the highest trim level in the Corolla and Camry models, but EVERY iA comes with push button start as a standard feature. As aforementioned the iA is really more Mazda than Toyota and when it comes to seat geometry and comfort this seat hands down is more comfortable than the power adjustable seat on a 2017 Toyota Camry LE, and certainly the absolute torture device of a driver seat in the 2015 RAV4 that I had to trade in last year for its discomfort, and my friend's 2016 Corolla which pushes your shoulders in and strains your head forward in a way similar to the RAV4. Even though the Camry seat has power adjustable lumbar support it is placed too high towards the middle of my back and no matter how much I raise and lower the seat the lumbar support fails to give support where I need it. Whereas the general shape and architecture of the iA seat is more comfortable even without a manually adjustable lumbar support feature and I have room to spread and rest my shoulders back. Keep in mind that I have a touchy back after suffering a joint sprain at the L2 and L3 vertebrae several years ago. However, despite my back problem, I still think that the iA seat provides better overall support compared to the stiffer flatter seats in the Camry. It's also worth mentioning that you can actually rest your head back on the headrest at an upright angle and not feel like the headrest is pushing your head and neck forward like so many other vehicles do these days, especially like the RAV4 and Corolla do. I tested my perception of the seat comfort of both the iA and Camry by going on 100+ mile test drives over some terribly bumpy roads at highway and in-town speeds and still, even after owning the car for 3 weeks now, the iA is a very comfortable car. Plus the thick waffle weave fabric on the Camry seats seems overdone and looks like it will trap dirt very easily and be difficult to (keep) clean.
The hybrid-competitive and, in some cases, hybrid-besting gas mileage is what moved me to pull the trigger on the iA. The base 4 cylinder Camry might get into the low 30's mpg with conservative driving which, as many reviewers have noted, is subpar for today's fuel efficient sedans. While the iA, even before the engine was fully broken in, was giving me an average of 40.5 mpg of mixed highway and city driving. Cruising along at a highway speed between 55-65 mph the fuel mileage calculator shows a stable 50+ mpg, well above the EPA rating of 42 mpg. After I used up the first full tank of gas that came with the car when I bought it I reset my trip meter to see how many miles I would clock before having to fill up again. The low fuel light did not come on until I had 450 miles showing on the trip meter. I looked in the manual to see how many gallons are left in the tank when the low fuel indicator light comes on and it's about 2 gallons. I tested that and went on for another 52 miles to get a total of 502.3 miles on the trip meter. When I topped off the tank I noticed that I did not reach the 12 (11.9) gallon limit, which means that I still had close to half a gallon of gas still left in the tank. Mind you that I am getting this gas mileage in a regular gasoline 1.5 liter engine with zero assistance from any hybrid technology all the while running the AC intermittently and defrosters in December. The reported gas mileage of the iA is legitimate and even easily exceeds the EPA ratings. You will not be disappointed with the fuel economy. I swear that for around $5,000 less than a 2017 Camry LE I do not find the iA to be much if any noisier at all, save for some light whistling coming in near the top of the driver side window sill at hwy speeds on a windy day. Overall, the iA is very nimble and even fun to drive, safe, gets unbelievable gas mileage without the price and worry over hybrid tech, has handsome enough looks, and is certainly comfortable for a single person or married couple with small children.