The new 2016 Scion iA subcompact sedan just may well be the best value in its segment. Bold statement? Yep, and the experts at Consumer Guide would agree – awarding it their Automotive Best Buy Award for the subcompact segment shortly after the iA went on sale.
Consumer Guide experts evaluate vehicles in the segment looking for the best balance of features and value that include room and comfort, power and performance, ride and handling plus fit and finish. With those ratings in hand, they then look at how much does it cost.
“The Scion iA is loaded with premium amenities and safety features, including a low-speed pre-collision system, which really helps it stand out,” said Scion Vice President Andrew Gilleland. “The iA is a $17,000 car and was developed to be the best buy in its class, so this award from Consumer Guide Automotive validates those efforts.”
Buyers should note that the Front Crash Low-Speed Pre-Collision system feature was key in the 2016 Scion iA receiving a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – awarded a GOOD in the five basic categories including the critical Small Overlap Frontal crash test and earning an ADVANCED rating for its Front Crash Prevention system.
Scion recently delivered us the front-wheel drive 2016 Scion iA with a Sterling exterior and standard two tone with contrast stitching interior. The 4-door iA comes only one way – powered by a high performing 1.5L DOHC 16-Valve 4-cylinder engine producing just 106 horsepower at 6,000 RPM well matched by 103 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 RPM.
There are two transmission options for the iA. Ours came equipped with a well integrated 6-speed automatic transmission featuring a Sport Mode priced at $16,800. The iA does come with a 6-speed manual gearbox for $15,700 if that is your thing. Having driven both, we prefer the automatic that is well tuned and does a very decent job accelerating in city driving and not at all embarrassed in getting up to – and maintaining – highway speeds.
Weighing in at just 2,400 pounds and running on 16-inch alloy wheels mounted with 185/60R16 tires, the iA powertrain delivers outstanding fuel economy. The automatic transmission delivers the best economy at 33/42 mpg city/highway with a combined average of 37 mpg. With its 11.6 gallon fuel capacity, iA has a highway range of about 485 miles.
The 2016 Scion iA is an excellent and comfortable driver around town and on the highway. The iA wheel base is just 101.2-inches and its sporty suspension includes MacPherson struts with stabilizer bars up front and Torsion Beams in the rear. Sport tuned Electric Power Steering, Traction Control (TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) are all standard.
The front seating is more generous than you expect in a subcompact – with head room over 38-inches and shoulder room over 53-inches. There is a 10-inch slide plus height adjustment in the driver seating allowing almost 42-inches of legroom. Doors are wide for easy access and the tilt and telescoping steering wheel allow for full comfort adjustment by the driver. Rear seating is tighter as you would expect, but is more generous than many of its competitors. You ask about cargo space in the trunk? The rear seating is 60/40 fold-down for extra room, but the trunk is so large (high, wide and deep) you are not likely to need it.
The Scion iA features a long list of standard features – including the Low-speed Pre-collision System – many of which are not available or are an extra cost on competing vehicles in the class. Some of those are: halogen headlamps, daytime running lamps, signature carpeted floor mats, color-keyed power exterior mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, rearview backup camera, leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted infotainment switches, tire-pressure monitoring, keyless entry with push-button start, cruise control, and very nice 7-inch Touchscreen Display Audio System with voice recognition and remote interface, two USB ports, auxiliary input jack, voice recognition, HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free, streaming audio, Aha, Stitcher and Pandora connected services and six speakers.
Our test 2016 Scion iA came one priced and well equipped – delivered – for $17,595.
We did note a couple of things missing worth a mention – no satellite radio or navigation. We will admit that satellite radio is not used by everyone and that the array of offerings in the robust infotainment suite, including Pandora, Aha and Stitcher audio, will be just fine for most buyers. We can live with that. And, for those not in touch with using their smartphone app for navigation, the dealer can install navigation on your iA for $419.
Scion service and warranty programs apply fully to the iA. The 2016 iA is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. It also comes with Scion Service Boost, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and two years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
Reflecting back on our week in the Scion iA, though Scion says their market target is youthful 18 to 34-year old buyers who will recognize that the Scion iA is not just another subcompact sedan – we think the market is much broader than that. The Scion iA is a well executed vehicle that drives very well with a capable powertrain delivering terrific fuel economy, has distinctive styling inside and out with comfortable and spacious interiors using high grade materials throughout including accent detail; offers plenty of technology, has a top notch safety rating and costs well under $20,000.
Lastly, from our end of the demographic, we are here to tell you the Scion iA is not only a good buy for 18 to 34-year olds, but also just the ticket for empty-nesters and fixed-income folks along with families needing good, safe and economical urban transportation with a flair as well.
For a subcompact sedan, the Scion iA is as good as it gets for the money in our book. The iA is in dealer showrooms now. Drive one and see for yourself.