Thursday, December 31, 2015

Scion iM

The recently facelifted second-generation Toyota Auris has finally make it Stateside as the new Scion iM and although while this is essentially a Toyota Auris fully Westernized for use in American roads, how does it differ from its Japanese equivalent?

2016 Scion iM

Well for starters, it looks fairly identical to the Auris judging from its front end that looks surprisingly American for a Japanese-made hatchback but despite its differences, the iM is basically a Toyota Corolla underneath it, meaning this is just a hatchback based on every commoners' car in America.

2016 Scion iM interior
2016 Scion iM interior

On the interior, it feels very like the Toyota Corolla of today especially when it has seats for five people, touch-screen display audio, rear view camera, Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, and any other necessities of comfort you would see on an everyday car at home. Although it feels somewhat cheap on the inside, it feels rather nice to cave in especially when you have friends tagging along with you in case of shopping trips or barhopping or off-kai meetings at your friend's home. You would imagine this could be your next car if you got hired as an Uber or Lyft driver without getting complaints from your passengers.

2016 Scion iM

Under the hood, the Scion iM comes with the 2ZR-FAE engine, which is broadly similar to what the Japanese-spec Auris had in the RS version, and this engine produces 137HP of power and 126lb-ft of torque. It can be mated with either a 6-speed manual or a CVTi-S but best to be in a manual gearbox because it's a lot more fun for a young man to try out the Americanized Auris in a gearbox fit enough to be fun but don't get too excited because even when you're on a manual or a CVT, the big engine output's not peppy enough to zoom through at high revs and acceleration.

Because the Auris is all about European-inspired handling upon its first encounter, the iM does the same too because it's got MacPherson strut front suspension and double wishbone rear suspension, meaning that this hatchback feels not so bad to handle but as a concept, it's a bit tad old-fashioned on American roads.

Should you buy one? The iM starts at $19,650 for the manual gearbox model up to $20,390 for the one with the bland CVT-iS on it and while it faces stiffer competition from the likes of the Mazda Axela, Hyundai i30, VW Golf, and the Ford Focus, the iM, despite its affordable pricing, couldn't keep up with its quality and performance and I think this hatchback deserves more if it wants to attract younger customers looking for a youth-oriented car fit for their lifestyles. Perhaps this newcomer on American soil should know better...

Available colors: Blizzard Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Barcelona Red Metallic, Spring Green, and Electric Storm Blue.

Photo: Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.

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