Scion, the youth brand of Toyota, is adding a subcompact city car to its lineup as consumers face the challenge of unstable fuel prices and limited parking spaces in urban markets.
When compared to the Fiat 500, the Scion iQ is shorter by 2 feet and its wheelbase is a foot shorter. However, the iQ’s width is the same as that of a compact and its elbow room between the front seats is comparable with that of a Toyota Corolla.
To widen its space for the passengers, the heater blower was transferred and the glove compartment was removed from the passenger foot well. What Scion did instead was to put a cargo tray under the front passenger seat.
This resulted to an asymmetrical dashboard. This meant that the front seat could slide forward some more and give more room to the back-seat passenger.
This also meant that there’s more space for more features and devices. The iQ is the first model to be powered by Toyota's 16-valve, 1.3-liter alloy engine. It is combined with a continuously variable transmission. The cargo area can carry several grocery bags; however, both rear seats fold flat.
There isn’t any room for a spare tire, so the iQ is offered with three years of roadside assistance as well as a can of flat-fixer. The following features are fitted as standard: Bluetooth compatibility; a trip computer; acoustic windshield glass; halogen headlights; 16-inch wheels; power locks, mirrors and windows; remote keyless locks; intermittent windshield wipers; sun visor mirrors; side-mirror-mounted turn signals; two years of free maintenance; and a 160-watt HD radio with USB and iPod compatibility.
In terms of safety, the iQ features antilock brakes, traction control and vehicle stability control. It comes with the first rear-window airbag for a total of 11 airbags.
The low-profile fuel tank is mounted under the driver's seat to boost crash protection. Jack Hollis, a Scion vice president, said that those who have gotten behind the wheel of a Smart would also love the iQ, which he described as “a real car.”