Often we are under the delusion that vehicles start out here in the US, but with our strict regulations which hamper the development of vehicles we typically don’t see some vehicles until the automaker decides it’s time to enter our market and conform to the restrictions our government puts on automakers. Even our own “Big Three” often take this same approach by either selling vehicles under other names or brands before bringing them here, or by keeping them in the foreign markets for the entire duration of their vehicle life cycle.
One product that has finally made its way to our shores and has been a hit in Europe for at least three years so far is the Scion iM. This stylish and energetic little hatchback has been spotted fitting into all the small spaces in the cities of Europe while also heading out on the roads throughout the countryside. For 2016 we finally have this car on our market to enjoy, but will it do as well here as it has in Europe?
Right from the start the iM has experienced a bit of a change in plans. This comes with the announcement that Toyota will do away with the Scion brand altogether, which could have spelled certain doom for the iM and the other new model introduced for this year, the iA. Instead of dissolving the brand and doing away with the lineup Toyota has chosen to add most of the lineup to the brand and rebadge them as Toyota products.
The iM will enter a market that has seriously embraced hatchbacks over the past several years, which is a huge positive for this little car. Offering a European style and Japanese performance the iM will be an attractive car to drive for those looking for a car of this size and build. The interior layout gives you supportive seats, a seven-inch infotainment screen, a six-speaker Pioneer audio system, enjoyable materials, soft surfaces, air conditioning, a leather wrapped steering wheel, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, push button starting, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and a rearview camera.
This car will ride on the same suspension as the incoming iA and will give you a ride that is more enjoyable than most of the hatchbacks on the market, which isn’t saying a lot, but better are better. The power for this car comes from the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that is found in the Toyota Corolla. Rated at 137 horsepower and 126 lb.-ft. of torque you can choose from a six-speed manual or a CVT to handle the power and provide you the mpg you desire. These numbers come in at 27 city/36 hwy for the manual with the CVT providing 28 city/37 hwy mpg.
When you take this car out on the road you won’t ever feel cheated even though this car has lower power than most of its competition. With one of the stiffest chassis on the market you will enjoy the fact that this car is a solid ride and able to cut through the corners with ease. Acceleration is instant and gratifying to make sure you can weave in and out of traffic with the confidence of a NASCAR driver. Power be damned the iM is a car that offers you the ride you want and the price you need. As a hatchback you have the versatility of carrying some cargo or some friends along depending upon the situation and need. Should you buy the iM as your next car? This car will absolutely make your driving more fun and help you get where you need to go without the challenge of maneuvering a bulky large SUV around town.