Like California, Scion has been experiencing something of a drought these last few years. In Scion’s case, the marque has been starved for new product for quite some time. Some minor precipitation arrived last year in the form of the Scion FR-S sports car, which proved to be a good omen as two new Scion models have arrived for the 2016 model year. The brand has its first-ever four-door sedan —the 2016 Scion iA, while the all-new Scion iM puts a fresh hatchback on the Scion side of the showroom. One of Scion’s big selling points is the fact its models tend to come in one particularly well-equipped state of trim. And yes, the iM falls right into line. For $18,460, there are a lot of Scion iM standard features you might not expect.
In this price range, a handsome set of 17-inch alloy wheels is almost always an upgrade, because a 16-inch wheel-set is typically the standard. Further, those good-looking wheels are wearing all-season rubber. Meanwhile, rather than a tire repair kit and an electric pump, you’ll find a space saver spare tire in case one of the primary tires suffers a puncture. On the lighting front, you’ll find a set of full LED daytime running lights, automatic projector-beam halogen headlights, and LED taillamps. The power-folding exterior rear-view mirror housings feature LED turn signal repeaters, and the mirrors they contain are heated. The rear window is also heated for defogging purposes, and it gets a windshield wiper—all as standard equipment. Other Scion iM standard features you might not expect at this price point include a classy shark-fin roof mounted antenna, a piano black grille treatment, a chrome exhaust tip, and a sporty aerodynamic body kit.
Keep in mind; we’re talking about an $18,460 car. With that said, dual-zone automatic climate control and a tilt/telescoping leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls are wholly unexpected. Further, the 2016 Scion iM comes standard with cruise control and a set of sporty front bucket seats with height adjustability for the driver. In the center stack, you’ll find a seven-inch touchscreen, which also serves as a display for the standard backup camera. Every passenger gets power windows, and the driver’s offers one-touch up and down. Power door locks support the remote keyless entry system, which also informs the engine immobilizer if someone attempts to steal the Scion. In the main instrument panel, you’ll find a 4.2-inch color multi-information display, which provides readouts for the Eco-Driving indicator and trip meter. One might assume a tachometer would be included (and it is), but this is not always the case in this category.
The level of fit and finish you’ll find is another of the Scion iM's standard features you might not expect. The seats are contoured to fit your body as if they were tailored to your physique. They also feature a whiplash injury lessening function to protect you in the event of a rear impact. The layered dashboard design is inspired by sports cars like the Scion FR-S to provide a completely unexpected sporty ambiance. The interior design is supported by outstanding ergonomics, wherein all of the key controls are easily within reach of the driver’s seat. On the other hand, there’s also a touch of Lexus influence with the Scion’s floor silencer sheets, foam sound deadening insulation, and an acoustic layer in the windshield. In other words, the Scion iM is also one of the quietest cars in its class. The rear seat back folds 60/40 for enhanced cargo capacity, while a cargo cover is included as standard equipment to keep prying eyes out of your personal effects.
Scion is Toyota’s pitch for the young at heart to join its ranks. So of course a bangin’ audio system is one of the Scion iM standard features you might not expect. In this case, we’re looking at a seven-inch touchscreen head unit with support for the usual terrestrial radio signals—both AM and FM high definition. The Pioneer system feeds six-speakers for crisp, clear hi-fidelity audio. Bluetooth hands-free telephony and audio streaming are supported, allowing you to tap into all of the aural entertainment your smartphone can provide. Mate your portable digital device through the included USB port, and you’ll get full control over its music player functions. Steering-wheel-mounted controls allow you to keep your hands on the wheel while you adjust the volume level, and voice activation permits switching between sources without taking your eyes off of the road.
The Scion iM’s powerplant is fitted with 16 valves (four per cylinder) actuated by double overhead cams. Variable intake and exhaust valve timing (something typically found on considerably more expensive cars) is also incorporated to ensure the 137-horsepower engine can generate its 128 ft-lbs of torque with the utmost efficiency. Transmission of power is conducted through the buyer’s choice of a six-speed manual transmission, or a device Toyota calls a CVTi-S. This smart continuously variable transmission features a sport mode (thus the “S” in its nomenclature), offering seven pre-selected ratios for spirited driving. What’s more, when you do so, the CVTi-S gives positive visceral feedback, so you actually feel the “gear changes’. The intelligent transmission knows when you’re cornering and hold gear changes until you're done. Because the manual transmission comes with hill-start assist, the iM doesn’t roll backward when you depress the clutch pedal on a hill.
The 2016 Scion iM’s body structure is a high strength unit design with a sophisticated four-wheel independent suspension system incorporating MacPherson struts up front, and double wishbones at the rear. The iM also gets stabilizer bars front and rear. By the way, the double wishbone rear suspension design, in addition to improving handling considerably, also takes up less space so more of the rear compartment can be given over to passengers and cargo. We’ve already mentioned the standard 17-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires, which help take best advantage of the ride and handling capabilities built into the 2016 Scion iM’s suspension system and chassis. With them, the Scion rides comfortably, while still managing to hold its own when called upon to deliver a more sporting driving experience. The advanced electric power steering system fitted to the Scion iM helps the car deliver easy maneuverability at low speeds—while delivering accurate steering instruction at speed, all while reducing the parasitic loads imposed upon the engine to help improve fuel economy.
Naturally, the full measure of Toyota’s STAR Safety System is part of the standard equipment package for the 2016 Scion iM. This gets you vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and Toyota’s Smart Stop Technology, which apportions priority to the braking system if the brake pedal and gas pedal are depressed simultaneously. The Scion iM’s extensive array of airbags includes driver and front passenger advanced airbags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, a front passenger seat cushion airbag, and a driver’s knee airbag. While you’d think safety is always a priority, many of the Scion’s competitors come up short on the airbag count by comparison. By the way, we’re not finished yet. All seating positions get three-point belts; there are also emergency locking retractors on all the belts. Lower child seat anchors are fitted on the outboard rear seats, and tethers are available for all three rear-seat positions. Rounding out the safety and security gear are a tire pressure monitoring system and active head rests for both the driver and the front passenger.
Talk about Scion iM standard features you might not expect; the affordably priced, sporty runabout comes with complimentary Scion Service Boost. More than just a complimentary maintenance plan, Scion Service Boost provides free roadside assistance should you need it for up to two years from the date you purchase the car. Further, the Scion Service Boost program covers all of the factory-recommended maintenance services for two years or 25,000 miles, where most plans of this nature only cover the car for 24,000 miles. In other words, your maintenance costs are absolutely zero for the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership. Yes, this is pretty common on higher-end and entry-level luxury models; but on an economical hatchback like the Scion iM, this is a wholly unexpected standard feature. To ensure you take advantage of it, Scion mails service reminders prior to the date the required service is anticipated.
At Scion dealers, the price you see posted on the sticker is the price you pay—period. Further, you can go online and order the exact car you want, figure out what your payment will be, and get pre-approved for credit. When you get to the dealership all the heavy lifting is done, all you have to do is sign and drive. And, this is the best Scion iM standard feature you might not expect of them all.