Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Scion's Im and Ia: Only One Inspires

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Scion's Im and Ia: Only One Inspires

Article excerpt

2016 Scion iM and iA: A little something new.

Price: Starting at $18,460 for the iM hatchback or $15,700 for the iA sedan.

Marketer's pitch: The iM is "A hatchback with room for adventure." The iA is "Where style meets substance."

Reality: One shows some real potential; one rides in the bargain bin.

Something new: When I think of Scion, I think of the boxy xB and sporty tC, and letters that start lower case and end with capitals. I don't usually think of the Yaris and a Mazda.

But those are pretty more or less what these all-new vehicles are. Still, one is much better than its alter ego, and one is not as good.

Both offer a new direction for the division that aims to draw young, hip drivers into the Toyota fold - something it has been doing since the brand first appeared on the scene in 2003. Both vehicles will follow in the direction many car companies are going these days - offering trim levels for various options, but not a lot of picking and choosing beyond that.

Scion officials presented the vehicles during a press unveiling in Philadelphia in September. Let's see how they did on first glance.

Largish hatchback: When I first saw the iM on the PowerPoint, I immediately noticed how similar it looked to the new France-built Yaris. Up close, the similarities ended pretty quickly.

Inside: The iM is far roomier than the tiny Toyota. It's a lot more comfortable; the leather seats on the test vehicles are far more substantial than the short-bottomed Yaris seats.

Upscale touches abound. The shifter is nice with a classy leather boot. The controls seem more upscale than the Yaris. And the heater controls are ebony. While a little hard to intuit at first, they become clear.

On the road: We got a chance to take several examples of the two vehicles through the Drives of Fairmount Park over the course of the afternoon. The 137-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine offers enough oomph to power the iM. Handling is a lot more Corolla- like than the Yarisesque. …

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