Scion is expanding its line-up in more ways than one. In addition to adding a new vehicle to its stable, it's also adding its first-ever sedan, the remarkably sporty, yet very affordable, 2016 Scion iA.
The Scion iA sedan joins the all-new 2016 Scion iM hatchback for a one-two punch in the subcompact and compact segments.
The new sans-hatch Scion will arrive in dealerships this fall for an estimated MSRP in the $16,000-range. That's for a mono-spec model equipped with standard Low-speed Pre-collision safety system and 7-inch multi-media system with voice activation. Because Scion has a no hassle, no haggle Pure Price, customers walk out the door with the same price they saw posted in the dealership.
"Dramatic" could be an understatement when describing the visual impact of the 2016 Scion iA. Beneath the daringly curved sheetmetal lies a tight, agile machine that re-defines "entry level." Call the design "class above," a term that applies throughout the car.
If the Scion iA happens to be a customer's first new car, then it's going to be fondly remembered no matter how many others come later. If it's a second car for the household, it may start arguments over who gets to drive it.
The basic ingredients: a high-strength body structure, quick-revving, high-compression 1.5-liter engine with 106 hp; choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions; standard 16-inch alloy wheels, and manufacturer-estimated fuel economy ratings of 33 city / 42 highway / 37 combined MPG.
What Do Those Letters Mean?
There's no mystery to the Scion iA badge. The "i" in the all-new 2016 Scion iA and iM models suggests Individual. Intriguing. Easy on the customer's income. The "A" in iA could mean aggressive styling, accommodating cabin and trunk, and affordable.
Curves Ahead, Trunk Behind
The 2016 Scion shows a familiar brand face with a hexagon lower grille and sharp-eyed headlights. In the rear, the spacious trunk gives it a distinctive look in the segment.
The Scion iA cuts a striking profile that certainly stands out in a crowd. To make the most of its sophisticated sedan breeding, the iA also sports an upscale looking piano black bumper treatment, chrome grille surround and chrome tailpipe.
The Scion iA does inherit a critical item from its hatchback siblings, a standard 60/40 split rear seat back to extend carrying capacity and versatility.
As Fun As It Looks
Push the "Start" button (because Keyless Entry with Push-Button Start is standard), and the Scion iA springs to life with a sporty yet muted rasp from its chrome tailpipe. It's the sound of a very high-tech 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that's big in both spirit and technology.
In other words, the Scion iA zips as it sips. Much credit also goes to the choice of transmissions. The standard 6-speed manual is compact and lightweight, and is super low on friction with a short stroke, making it one of the sweetest-shifting manuals around.
For those who prefer an automatic transmission, the available 6-speed automatic will be intriguing. Engineered for light weight, low friction and a direct-shift feel, the automatic has a bit of a dual personality. It moves the Scion iA off from a standing start with the smoothness only a torque converter automatic can deliver, yet very quickly afterward locks the converter for quicker, more direct shifts and higher fuel economy. For drivers seeking greater torque feel, a Sport Mode feature is available with the flip of a switch.
Agility is engineered into the Scion iA, not just added on with stiffer springs and shocks. The body structure uses straight beams wherever possible, continuous framework that makes the individual sections function in harmony, and effective positioning of high-tensile steel. Bottom line, it's strong.
The MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension are tuned for a just-right balance of sporty handling and comfortable ride not normally associated with this segment. Steering and brake system tuning, in particular, received attention more befitting of a sport sedan than an "economy car." The Scion iA uses a rigid steering mount, which provides a direct yet light feel also unexpected in low-priced, high-MPG models. Progressive braking feel comes to the fore when cornering. Entering the curve, the pedal provides smooth operation, then progresses to a more rigid feel as G-force rises.
Big on Safety
That high-strength structure also forms the foundation for safety in the Scion iA. A solid H-shaped ring structure joins the roof and B-pillars to underbody and combines with high-tensile steel on key frame members and a part of the floor to form a robust structure.
Front side airbags and curtain airbags help protect front and rear seat occupants. But the biggest safety news in this $16,000-ish Scion iA is a standard Low-speed Pre-collision system that uses a laser sensor to help the driver avoid collisions and to help minimize damage in the event of an accident. A rear view back-up camera is also standard.
Scion = Amazing Value
Looks do not deceive in the Scion iA cabin. Premium chrome accents and soft-touch trim and surfaces belie the car's price point, a value equation that runs in the Scion family. For starters, consider how the iA accommodates a wide range of drivers' physiques, including its 10-inch fore-aft slide adjustment and the standard seat height adjuster, too. There's no skimping with the steering wheel, which offers tilt and telescoping adjustments.
It's easy to take for granted features like cruise control and power windows, locks and exterior mirrors, because they're standard in most cars over a certain price. On some cars in the Scion iA's neighborhood, those could be extra-cost options, but they're all included on the 2016 iA's lengthy standard equipment roster.
The sporty steering wheel has control switches for the audio and standard Bluetooth. Hardly "entry level," the standard 7-in. Display Audio system has a touch screen, 6 speakers, remote interface and rear-view camera. Pandora®, Aha™ and Stitcher™ come standard, too, providing a huge music, talk and podcast universe when paired with a compatible phone. For those who want to bring their own music into the iA, two USB ports and an Auxiliary input are standard. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel by using Voice Recognition to control many of the multi-media system features. An available navigation system is also offered through Scion dealers.