Scion iA and iM First Drives

Every now and then, a car comes along that’s so good, it’s hard to put into words. This is not one of those reviews. Actually, I’ve got plenty to say when it comes to Scion’s latest offerings, the iA and iM— and they might not be exactly what you were hoping for if you’re a fan of the Toyota-offshoot brand.

The two were introduced at the New York Auto Show earlier in the year, and both promised to be “fun-to-drive” and deliver “high-style” to the much-needing Scion lineup. Right. It’s been a few days and I’m still searching my luggage for those two crucial items. 

Scion iA and iM Aren't Much to be Excited About: First Drive

Hatchback? Let’s start with the high(er) note: the iM. From the start, you can tell that the iM is plenty better looking than the iA. It’s got five doors (which may or may not appeal to American buyers, who knows), a sharp set of wheels, some subtly aggressive lines, and a not-so-bad-to-look-at booty. I’d say it looks better than a GTI, but that’s about as near to the GTI as things are ever going to get. Under the hood you’re met with (to steal a descriptor from my co-driver) a “gutless” 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine barely coughing up 137-horsepower to the front wheels. You’re optioned with either a CVT, which isn't completely terrible, or a manual, which isn’t good at all. These offerings return a well-enough 27 city/26 highway/31 combined mpg. Another positive the iM brings to the table is the utility of a hatch. You get 20.8 cubic feet of room in the trunk with the seats folded up, which is respectable in its...