Road Test: 2016 Scion iA

Shopping for a car can be somewhat frustrating, especially if it is for a new car, for a millennial who’s not really interested in driving. All they want is something that looks OK, and is easy to park in the city. The now defunct Scion planned to target that audience with the iA. A small 4-door runabout with just enough power to get around town, and not be horrible on the highway. The Scion iA is more Mazda than it is Toyota, actually, with a platform shared with the Mazda 2. That should make it quite fun to play around with on the twisty parts.

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Despite the obvious commonalities, the Toyota tries to make itself different with a polarizing front end. Some call it unique, others call it a Jack-o-lantern two weeks after Halloween. That said, the styling outside should draw some buyers to it, but more importantly the styling inside should keep buyer’s interest. It’s similar – if not identical to – Mazda’s very good infotainment system, with the main controls on the center console, right where your right hand falls naturally. I’ve always praised Toyota products for having an exceptional stereo, and even in this base level model, it still abides by that rule.

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In terms of dynamics, it’s playful, but not eager. Then again, You’re not getting much on a car that has literally no options. There are things you can add to this car, but the only add-on for this ride was $770.00 for delivery to the dealership. That’s it. It means that you’ll get into this thing for $17,570. And that makes it one of the least expensive new cars on the market. The iA is proof that cheap doesn’t always mean nasty.

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That makes me happy because nasty cars make it difficult for me to do my job: There’s not much good that I can say about a 2003 Malibu, and that’d be a shame if I miffed Chevrolet back then because they are making some wonderful cars now. In reality the auto industry almost doesn’t permit a car to be nasty any more because it simply would never sell. Take a look at the Dodge Dart. That was milked for three years and they are already pulling the plug. As it is, social media, the PR monster/machine that it is will shun a bad car about as fast a politician’s off-the-cuff remarks about the environment.

The iA is a ray of hope for the folks who need to buy a more cost conscious car.  You won’t be left wanting for more equipment, it’ll crack the 40MPG mark if you drive like a saint and it will make you glad you decided not to take public transportation.

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Stats:
2016 Scion iA 4-door sedan
Color: Pulse Red
Engine: 1.5L DOHC 18 valve 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Power: 108 hp – 103 lb/ft
Base MSRP: $16,800
As tested: $17,570

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