Offering just five models ranging from small to smaller, Scion’s philosophy is to create fun and characterful cars that are easy to buy and own. Parent company Toyota, which flip-flops with GM for “largest car company in the world” honours, has taken a largely hands-off approach with Scion, and the resultant youth-oriented offerings have a style all their own.
Scion is introducing two new models this year, including the iM you see here. Based on Toyota’s Europe-only Auris, the car is Scionified (sic) with big directional wheels, a body kit and other changes that make it a real player in the highly competitive “Hot Hatch” segment.
This five-door comes in only one flavour: Delicious. Scion eschews option packages and trim levels in favour of simplicity. Pick a car, choose the transmission you prefer and you’re pretty much done. There are a limited number of optional add-ons and dealer-installed options like Navigation, but the car essentially comes one way. And what a way that is.
Motive force comes from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 137 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that features a sport mode and manual control over seven pre-programmed ratios. That is plenty of oomph for this little car, and the performance minded can add upgrades like anti-roll bars, lowered springs, and an air intake system from TRD (Toyota Racing Development).
The only interior colour available is black, and it features a swath of piano-black trim across the well-appointed dash. The interior feels like a cockpit and all controls are easy to use and close at hand.
The hot hatch segment is a crowded one, with a couple of perennial leaders like the VW Golf and the Mazda 3. Toyota has not had a player in this field since the demise of the venerable Matrix, and this Scion has the ability to fill the gap nicely. The competition should look in their rear-view mirrors, because here comes the iM. I’ll take mine in Spring Green, thank you very much.