2012 Scion iQ Review – Diminutive in size, big on practicality

Expert Reviews Scion

2012 Scion iQ

For a car with just 94 hp on tap, the iQ is remarkably frisky. In straight line acceleration, the Scion feels quicker than a Fiat 500 or a Chevy Volt, especially in the 0-30mph range so common to city driving. The reason for the iQ’s charging launch is its exceptionally low curb weight of 2,127 pounds. Couple that flyweight physique to the instant torque multiplication provided by the iQ’s Continuously Variable Transmission, and you’ve got the perfect formula for brisk throttle response. Because of packaging constraints, a manual gearbox is not offered on this Scion, but the manumatic operation of the CVT does allow you some leeway in selecting engine speed ranges. Top speed of the iQ is 100mph.

With a car weighing just over a ton, the iQ is a flyweight boxing in a ring full of heavyweights. Consequently, Scion has stuffed 11 airbags into this diminutive module to allay any fears about crash survivability. In fact, even the rear decklid is provided with the world’s first airbag in this location.

2012 Scion iQ

An often overlooked aspect of crash worthiness is a vehicle’s ability to avoid one in the first place. Here the iQ shines, thanks to its go-kart sharp handling. The most revealing statistic here is the iQ’s stunning 12.7 foot turning circle. While most compact sedans do well to make a U-Turn inside a normal two-lane street, the iQ could make a pair of them in the same space.

At one point in my test drive I encountered a small diameter traffic roundabout. The Scion was so eager to whiz around this impediment that I managed to hot lap the same island three times in a row without so much as a single correction to the fat, red stitched leather steering wheel.

The Scion iQ proves that microcars do not have to be slow, demeaning or impractical. The 2012 iQ goes on sale in 7 different colors for $15,995 in California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona on October 1, 2011. Sales in the rest of the USA will follow later.

2012 SCION iQ

  • ENGINE: 1.3 liter DOHC inline 4 with VVT-I
  • HORSEPOWER: 94hp at 6,000rpm
  • TORQUE: 89 lb.-ft, at 4,400rpm
  • FUEL CONSUMPTION: 36 MPG City/37 MPG Highway
  • PRICE AS TESTED: $15,995

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