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2015 Scion iQ REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/5/2017

Con: Only comfortable for two; minimal cargo space; sluggish performance; below-average crash test scores; similarly priced rivals are larger and feel less vulnerable.

Interior: Predictably, the 2015 Scion iQ is best for a pair of travelers who pack light. But clever packaging under the hood allowed Scion's engineers to place the passenger side of the dash farther forward than the driver side, creating more room for the front passenger seat -- and thus for a rear passenger on that side. The driver-side rear seat can accommodate a child if need be, but the driver may have to slide uncomfortably close to the wheel. Either rear seat is best used only in a pinch, but something is better than nothing, as Smart Fortwo owners can confirm.

For some extra cargo space, the 50/50-split rear seatbacks fold flat, increasing storage space from a barely-there 3.5 cubic feet to 16.7 cubic feet. Other interior storage includes space for four 25-ounce containers in the doors, plus two rear cupholders and one in the center console. There is no glovebox, however.

The optional BeSpoke audio system is pretty cool given how much functionality it adds, including a navigation system and Aha smartphone app integration. In contrast, the rest of the cabin features simple, low-tech controls and rock-hard plastics, which is par for the course at this price point.

Body: The 2015 Scion iQ is a two-door, four-passenger subcompact available in a single trim level. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, power accessories, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls, 50/50-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker Pioneer sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.

As with other Scions, a number of dealer-installed accessories are available, including a rear spoiler, 16-inch alloy wheels, lowering springs, a sway bar, foglamps, illuminated door sills, interior ambient lighting, a leather-wrapped shift knob, satellite radio and an upgraded BeSpoke audio interface system with navigation and smartphone app integration.

A limited-edition version of the iQ called the Monogram Series bundles two-tone paint, a rear spoiler, 16-inch alloy wheels with a unique graphite finish and carpeted floor mats (optional on the regular iQ).

Driving: The 2015 Scion iQ's specialty is city driving. Its quick steering and short wheelbase make impulsive U-turns easy, and diving into tiny parking spots is effortless. The modest four-cylinder engine provides sufficient power around town, though the CVT can get annoying at times with its sluggish responses in traffic. When you floor it to pass or merge at higher speeds, the iQ generally gets the job done, but you're stuck listening to a tedious drone from the hard-working engine.

The iQ is also more affected by crosswinds than most cars, and its pint-sized proportions may make you feel vulnerable with SUVs and 18-wheelers whizzing by. For these reasons, highway commuters and road-trip fans should look elsewhere, though the iQ does have a decently comfortable ride.

What’s New: The 2015 Scion iQ is unchanged.

The front-wheel-drive 2015 Scion iQ comes with a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 94 hp and 89 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard.

In Edmunds testing, the iQ accelerated from zero to 60 in 10.4 seconds, which is a bit slower than the average subcompact car with an automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 37 mpg combined (36 city/37 highway).

Safety: The 2015 Scion iQ comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes (front discs and rear drums), front side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and a few more airbags not commonly found in other cars -- front seat-cushion airbags and a rear window airbag that deploys around the rear-seat headrests.

In Edmunds brake testing, the iQ stopped from 60 mph in 131 feet. Compared to other subcompact cars, that's about 10 feet longer than average.

In government crash tests, the iQ received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for total frontal-impact safety and three stars for total side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the iQ its highest score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The iQ's seat/head restraint design received the second-highest score of "Acceptable" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Pro: Compact agility; great fuel economy; supremely easy to park; stylish design; clever interior packaging.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Scion iQ is a minimalist metropolitan runabout that gets impressive fuel economy and can be parked almost anywhere. There are larger, more practical cars that cost about the same, though.

Introduction: If you reside in a crowded city, chances are you've spent some time circling your street, looking for a suitable parallel parking spot. Maybe you've wished you could fit between those two SUVs parked in designated "Compact" spots at the grocery store. For tasks like these, it's hard to do better than the 2015 Scion iQ. A tiny city runabout, the iQ is one of the easiest cars on the market to park, and it's highly fuel-efficient, too.

The 2015 Scion iQ is seriously small on the outside, and that's its biggest selling point. From bumper to bumper, the iQ is only 10 feet long, making even the toylike Fiat 500 seem bloated at 11 feet, 8 inches. With such a small car, you expect good fuel economy, and the iQ doesn't disappoint, returning an EPA estimated 37 mpg combined. That number may not be not surprising, but it is certainly impressive for a non-hybrid vehicle.

Unfortunately, the 2015 Scion iQ doesn't offer much in the way of performance or versatility. Even as petite as it is, this 94-horsepower Scion isn't quick -- and while it may be easy to park, it doesn't inspire confidence at higher speeds. The two-passenger backseat can really only fit one average-sized adult, and you wouldn't want to go on a long trip that way. Moreover, cargo space behind the rear seats measures just 3.5 cubic feet, which is barely enough for some grocery bags.

We don't recommend the iQ's most direct rival, the 9-foot-long 2015 Smart Fortwo. But if you can deal with a few extra feet of automotive real estate, you'll likely be more satisfied with a more traditional subcompact. The four-door 2015 Ford Fiesta hatchback is one of our favorites, as it's fun to drive, fuel-efficient and has a more usable backseat. It's a similar story with the four-door 2015 Honda Fit, which is also great at carrying a lot of cargo. The aforementioned two-door 2015 Fiat 500 is more refined than the Scion, though also a bit more expensive. Overall, the Scion iQ has some appeal, but unless "parkability" is your top priority, larger subcompacts are simply better values.

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