2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review
For many people, convenience is the ultimate luxury. After all, convenience typically entails saving time, and for people who truly have “everything”, time is the one thing they can’t get enough of.
So, how does this play into a 2014 Scion iQ Road Test & Review? In urban driving situations, you’ll be hard pressed to find a car more convenient than the Scion iQ, Sized as it is in between the Smart ForTwo and the Mini Cooper, the Scion is one of the three easiest cars to park on the road today.
The Scion will handily fit into spaces even the Mini can’t approach, while offering a good deal more stability, security, and interior space than the Smart. If it really came down to it, you could get four people in the Scion, with each person occupying their own seat. That just ain’t gonna happen in a Smart For Two.
(Which is why it’s called the For Two—OK?)
In this case being “in-between” is a definite advantage.
In an extremely crowded urban center like downtown San Francisco or Manhattan, the Scion iQ can be something of a godsend. That said, is it a stretch to call the diminutive Scion a luxury car? In practical terms yes, it is. But if ultimate plush and convenience are what you’re after, Aston Martin has also offered a version of the Scion iQ, called the Cygnet.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Safety Equipment
Bearing the distinction of being the world’s smallest four-seat automobile, the Scion iQ takes packaging efficiency into a whole new realm of effectiveness. But looking at the Scion iQ, safety undoubtedly ran through your mind first thing—so let’s cover that aspect of the car before we go any farther.
The Scion’s airbag count stands at 11, including one for the rear window. ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, traction control, vehicle stability control, smart stop brake override, and tire pressure monitoring are all standard equipment.
NHTSA gave the Scion iQ four out of five stars for overall crash protection and three out of five for side impacts. The IIHS rates the Scion iQ “good” (which is its top rating) for offset frontal crashes and roof strength.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Models & Prices
For 2014, Scion is offering the iQ in two trim levels. With a base price of $15,665 the standard feature set of the iQ includes a set of 16-inch steel wheels and a choice of two different designs for the plastic wheel covers. You’ll also find full power accessories, keyless entry, air-conditioning, and a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel. Scion knows younger people are attracted to its products, so some pretty sophisticated tech gear is also standard equipment. This includes Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming connectivity. The base audio system is comprised of a six-speaker Pioneer setup with a 6-inch touchscreen display interface. The unit features HD radio, an auxiliary audio input jack, and iPod/USB audio capabilities.
The Scion iQ Monogram Series is a new offering for 2014, priced at $16,250; its features include a two-tone paint combination of Black Currant Metallic and Classic Silver Metallic. Its color-keyed exterior mirrors and spoiler, along with a premium alloy wheel package and a set of floor mats with the iQ logo further distinguish the Monogram iQ.
In recognition of Scion’s 10th anniversary as a car brand, the $17,850 Scion 10 Series iQ is also being offered —as a limited edition proposition. In addition to the base model’s standard equipment, the iQ 10 Series gets projector-beam headlights, 16-inch graphite gray alloy wheels, two electroluminescent panels on the center console, front and rear locator badges, a solar-powered illuminated shift knob, and Scion carpet mats. You can have your Scion 10 Series iQ in any color you’d like, as long as that color is Silver Ignition. The Scion product team added matching silver seat belts as well.
If you’ll recall, a big part of Scion’s marketing image resides in customization. To this end, items normally populating the factory options list of other cars exist as dealer-installed extras for the Scion. These include a rear spoiler and various cargo management items, along with alloy wheels, foglamps, interior ambient lighting, satellite radio, and the upgraded audio system. The latter also incorporates navigation and smartphone app integration.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Design
If you’re just getting to know the littlest Scion, one key fact you need to be aware of is the Scion iQ is quite possibly the most cleverly packaged automobile ever built. While quite naturally you’d expect its design to predicate low fuel consumption, maneuverability, and environmental friendliness, it is also carefully planned to get the most out of its interior space.
The iQ's minimal overhangs, forward windscreen location, maximized cabin space and overall compactness are owed to a number of mechanical innovations. The Scion’s differential was developed specifically for the car and designed to consume as little space as possible, while still providing adequate longevity.
The center take-off steering gear enabled the iQ’s engineering team to configure an extremely compact steering rack, which meant the overall car could be narrower. The iQ’s special flat fuel tank and rear-angled shock absorbers also consume less space than conventional designs, opening up more interior volume for passengers and cargo. Similarly, the Scion uses an ultra compact heating and air conditioning unit. Inside the car, the asymmetric dashboard and slim seat designs figure highly in its ability to carry four people in such an extremely compact package.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Comfort and Cargo
The Scion iQ’s closest competitor is the slightly smaller Smart ForTwo. While the two cars are similar in size, the Scion bests the Smart in passenger capacity, cargo capacity, ride and handling, and fuel economy. Despite the deceptively small outward appearance of the Scion iQ, the car will hold four reasonably sized adults—in a pinch—and can transport three adults quite comfortably over moderate distances.
Now, with that said, the Scion is at its most comfortable when three or fewer people are aboard. If you’re six feet tall, yeah, somebody can ride behind you, but it better be a very short trip. Which, when you think about it, really is what the iQ is designed to do.
If you live in a larger city and you have to drive around town a lot, this really is the perfect car for you. If you need to take a long highway trip, you’ll want to call Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, or National, because the Scion really isn’t built for long-distance highway travel.
Cargo space, as you might expect is quite minimal with the rear seats deployed. Fold them and you’ll get just under 17 cubic feet. By the way, one of the costs of the Scion’s clever packaging strategies was the elimination of the glovebox. In other words, this ain’t a traveling car y’all, this is a commuter—pure and simple.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Features & Controls
As we mentioned earlier, in addition to air conditioning, the Scion iQ offers full power accessories, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, a touchscreen display, and a leather wrapped steering wheel. As is apparently de rigueur with Scion models, the radio is a paragon of confusion. You won’t just look at the radio in this car and immediately figure it out—unless you happen to be a 16-year old nerd.
Happily, that is the only item in the car that will give you confusion though. The operation of rest of the iQ’s secondary controls, as well as its comfort and convenience features is remarkably intuitive. Further, the driving position is excellent, all of the controls are within easy reach (big surprise there—right?) and the instrumentation is straightforward and highly legible.
Long story short, the 2014 Scion iQ is a very easy car to live with.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Engine/Fuel Economy
Powering the diminutive Scion model is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine producing 94 horsepower and 89 ft-lbs of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission routes the output of the engine to the front wheels. The EPA says to expect 36 miles per gallon in the city, 37 on the highway, and 37 combined.
While the engine itself is quite unremarkable, its packaging is very clever. The powerplant was installed so the differential resides in front of the engine rather than behind it as it is in most other cars. This enabled the engineers to move the firewall farther forward, thus increasing the capacity of the passenger compartment.
Additionally, the fuel tank is long and narrow rather than big and boxy, so it occupies less space as well. Further, in addition to employing a center take-off point, the steering rack is mounted higher in the car than usual, all in the quest to free up more space for people and cargo.
Scion also produces an electric version of the iQ, called the Scion iQ EV, however it is limited to fleet and car-sharing applications. Scion isn’t offering the model for sale to the general public. Its 12 kWh battery provides an estimated range of up to 50 miles on a full charge. The vehicle can be fully charged in approximately three hours at 240V.
Maximum output from the Scion iQ EV’s drivetrain is 47 kW (the equivalent of approximately 63 hp) with a maximum torque of 120 ft-lbs. The car offers three driving modes; the “D” mode uses the least amount of power during city driving; the “S” mode increases performance (at the expense of increased energy consumption); and the “B” mode maximizes the electric Scion’s regenerative braking efficiency. In “S” the iQ EV is said to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 13.4 seconds. The gasoline version of the car accelerates to 60 in just under 12 seconds.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Driving Impressions
On city streets, you’re hard-pressed to tell you’re in such a small car. Like the Smart For Two, the Scion is big on the inside and small on the outside, so you never feel cramped within its confines. That said, should you decide to take advantage of all four of the iQ’s seating positions, you will start to feel a bit crowded—but again, if you limit the experience to short trips you’ll be fine.
As you’d expect, maneuverability is absolutely the Scion’s long suit and it plays it very well. U-turns can be accomplished on a whim, and the iQ is a lot of fun to use to slice and dice your way through city traffic. The steering is quick and accurate; the brakes are readily suited to the car’s light weight and overall driving mission, while the CVT makes the most of the small displacement engine’s potential.
As you read earlier, acceleration is somewhat leisurely at 12 seconds to 60. But pulling away from traffic signals the Scion will keep pace with city traffic quite readily. Yes, merging onto fast freeways definitely takes some planning, but the iQ will ultimately accomplish the task with its little four winding for all its worth. Again, if you keep the Scion in its element, you’ll enjoy driving it tremendously.
Now, with all of that said, you’ll want to avoid undertaking long highway trips in this car. At speed, the iQ tends to wander a bit and crosswinds pretty much have their way with the Scion. Yes, it will do a long road trip if asked, and 17 cubic feet of cargo space means you and a friend could use it for a weekend getaway.
Just bear in mind, you’ll experience buffeting from big-rig tractor-trailers as they pass you. You’ll also be eye-to-eye with their wheel hubs. And yes, we know the eye-to-eye thing can be applied to a Corvette Stingray just as readily—but a ‘Vette will run off and leave the trucks. The iQ? Not so much. Still, if you’re all hardcore “I got this, I ain’t scared of nuthin’ man!" you’ll be fine. But people with nervous dispositions will, in all probability, be quite intimidated by the experience of driving the Scion iQ on a busy Interstate with big trucks.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Final Thoughts
As city cars go, this Scion is well thought out, and with Toyota behind it, should be reliable as well. Build quality is high, it offers a nice array of standard features, and while fuel economy ain’t in the magical 40 mpg range, the high 30’s are still quite admirable. Some decry the Scion’s performance, but really that ain’t what this car is all about.
If you’re looking for good solid A-to-B transportation with the smallest footprint possible, but with a reasonable array of comfort and convenience features, the iQ is one your best bets. Yes, there are larger cars to have for the same money, but that kind of misses the point.
The iQ’s size is its whole point.
2014 Scion iQ Road Test and Review: Pros and Cons
Good fuel economy
Ease of handling
Strong suite of safety gear
Could be quicker