Scion’s iQ mini car can be leased for a bargain $99 per month. Scion wants to increase deliveries as the segment becomes more competitive, especially with rival Chevrolet Spark getting a good start. The two cars are marketed similarly. They appeal to buyers who want an entry-level car. The automakers hope that they later opt for a bigger purchase.
But then, the sales trends of the two brands are very different. So far, Chevrolet has sold over 4,800 Sparks in the U.S. since its launch in late July. Since January, Scion has sold nearly 6,200 iQs. But for the month of September, it only sold 548 units.
Presently, the micro car is offered through a 36-month lease that costs $99 per month with $1,969 to be paid at signing. Chevrolet Spokesperson Annalisa Bluhm couldn’t help but be smug when said that the Spark is “eating [the iQ] for lunch.”
Scion isn’t about to surrender yet though. It said that the affordable lease program isn’t in reaction to the stronger sales of the Chevrolet. Rather, Scion representative Craig Taguchi said that the lease will allow many people to get the chance to experience the iQ.
Another issue is the price. The Spark has a starting price of around $13,000 after delivery while the iQ is priced at higher than $16,000.
Given its size, the 2012 Scion iQ is considered as a micro-subcompact. However, in order for it to be labelled as a premium model, it has safety features that customers want and expect fitted as standard. For example, not only does it include a total of 11 airbags but even has the rear window fitted with an airbag of its own, a first in the world.
Another first for the Scion are the seat cushion airbags placed for the driver and the passenger in front. That said, the other airbags have been placed in standard positions like the one in front of the driver and the front passenger. Both of them also benefit from the knee airbags. The front passenger is also protected by the seat-mounted side airbags.
Finally side curtain airbags are included as well. Safety is not simply about airbags so the iQ also comes with the Star Safety System. This includes different safety systems like the Antilock Brakes (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRAC), and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Included as well is the Smart Stop Technology brake-override.
Equipped as standard is the tire-pressure monitoring system. Powering this newest offering from Scion is the four-cylinder 1.3-liter engine capable of 94 hp with peak torque of 89 lb.-ft. Fitted with the VVT-I, the engine becomes more efficient while ensuring that it delivers a wider powerband. This means that the engine will need less fuel and in turn, it will have lower emissions.
Further, it is coupled to a Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT, allowing for smoother acceleration with remarkable fuel efficiency. Indeed, the iQ has a combined fuel economy that is EPA-estimated at 37 mpg, comparable to vehicles with the same size. It has also been given the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II) rating.