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2016 Scion iM: The economic hatchback

Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ

If you're looking for a nice, family hatchback that is good on gas and a stable ride, I highly recommend the 2016 Scion iM.


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 5th, 2015



If you’ve been waiting for the third-generation model of the popular Toyota Matrix to show up, I’ve got bad news for you. Toyota has decided to kill off the Matrix and there is no comeback planned.

However, you shouldn’t be sad for two reasons: the Matrix wasn’t very good and the spirit of the model lives on in the new Scion iM.

Like the Matrix, the iM is based on the framework and running gear of the current Toyota Corolla. Just like how the 2015 Corolla is better than the model it replaces, the iM also benefits from the improvements made to this platform.

The area that needed most improvement was soundproofing; the old Matrix wasn’t well insulated; therefore, road and wind noise was prominent on the highway.

The new iM is leaps forward in this area, as it is a lot quieter on the highway. Couple that with comfortable seats and the iM actually makes for a comfortable highway cruiser.

Thanks to the current Corolla’s mechanicals, the iM is also efficient. I was able to manage just 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway, and my week’s total was just 7.9 l/100km in a mix of highway and city driving.

What this means is the iM is cheap to run, although you won’t outrun many cars. Under the hood is a 1.8 litre, four-cylinder motor that features double over-head cams and 16 valves. The net result is 137 horsepower and 126 pound per foot of torque. Power is fed to just the front wheels via either a CVT automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox nine.

Power delivery is smooth and the manual gearbox was a delight to use; however, no matter how you look at it, the iM is under-powered. It has enough power to get up to speed and is smooth even at high revolution per minutes (rpm), but it is not a quick vehicle. On the highway, you’re better off to just stick to a comfortable speed because you certainly won’t be overtaking other vehicles in a hurry.

But a box like the iM is not meant to excite you, its purpose in life is to be practical. There is lots of space for carrying people and the legroom for rear seat passengers is good enough to fit adults, plus the trunk is huge.

The interior style, fit and finish is also brilliant, it reflects a baby Lexus. If you’re looking for a practical family vehicle, the iM will surely impress.

The 2016 iM is also a smart looking vehicle. Scion’s previous boxes were too boxy, but the iM is sleek and has attractive bodylines all around. Couple that with an interesting colour palette and the iM can end up looking appealing to the eye.

Apart from the performance bit, the 2016 iM is a good vehicle and I think Scion Canada will sell with ease. The base model is available for $21,165. That is not a lot for a vehicle that is well made and offers a lot of comfort.
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