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2016 Scion iA First Look

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/2/2015 Jason Udy

Since Scion's introduction in 2002, the New York International Auto Show has been important to Toyota's youth-oriented brand. In 2013, Scion introduced the "10 Series" models in New York to commemorate the brand's 10th anniversary. This year, the automaker is introducing two new models at NYIAS: the 2016 Scion iM hatchback and the brand's first sedan, the 2016 Scion iA. The iM, based on the Euro-market Toyota Auris, replaces the dated XD hatchback in the lineup, but the new Scion iA joins the fold as an all-new model.

Upon initial inspection, the 2016 Scion iA features an aggressive front end with sharp lines and a large hexagonal grille that houses the lower air intake and an upper intake. The top of the fascia features two upper slits on each side of the Scion badge. A chrome strip frames all but the bottom of the large grille, and the bumper insert features a piano black finish. Scion says the iA sedan has "sharp-eyed headlights," though they are not as aggressive as the Kodo-designed 2016 Mazda2 hatchback's eagle-eye headlights.

2016 Scion iA© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Scion iA From the side, it becomes apparent that the Scion iA is based on the 2016 Mazda2 hatchback. Despite the different body styles, the iA sedan's curved side profile looks much like a smaller Mazda3 sedan. The Scion iA rides on 16-inch silver-finish split five-spoke alloy wheels. The taillight shape, graphics, trunk lid's trapezoidal license plate recess, and rear fascia all share the Mazda family resemblance. A chrome exhaust tip is standard.

The Mazda styling and hardware carry over to the interior with chrome accents and soft-touch materials. The Scion iA features a larger center-mounted speedometer flanked by a tachometer, secondary gauges, and a vehicle information screen. A tilting and telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls is standard. The Display Audio system features a 7-inch touchscreen with center console-mounted controls, Bluetooth, two USB ports, one auxiliary input, a voice recognition system, a rearview camera, and apps from Pandora, Aha, and Stitcher. A dealer-installed navigation system is available.

2016 Scion iA© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Scion iA Other standard features include power outside mirrors with LED turn signals, remote keyless entry and push-button start, and 60/40 fold-flat rear seats.

Based on a high-strength body structure, likely the same Skyactiv chassis as the Mazda2 hatch, the Scion iA features a MacPherson strut suspension up front and a torsion beam suspension in back. The subcompact sedan's rigid-mount electric power steering system gives a direct yet light feel, and the braking system has an initially smooth pedal that ramps up to a firmer feel under hard braking. That brake system consists of 9-inch front discs and 9-inch rear drums.

Power for the 2016 Scion iA sedan comes from a naturally aspirated, direct-injected, 1.5-liter I-4 rated at 106 hp at 6,000 rpm and 103 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. A six-speed manual is standard, but a six-speed automatic with a Sport mode is also available. Those drivetrain components are likely Mazda Skyactiv bits. Scion estimates the iA sedan will achieve 31/41/35 mpg city/highway/combined with the manual and 33/42/37 with the automatic.

2016 Scion iA© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Scion iA The Scion iA rides on the same 101.2-inch wheelbase as the new Mazda2. The new sedan is 171.7 inches long, about a foot longer than the 160-inch hatchback. Curb weight is listed at 2,385/2,416 pounds with the manual and automatic, respectively.

Safety features include front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and a laser-based low-speed pre-collision system that helps drivers avoid or minimize a front collision. Other safety bits include the LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system for child seats, a tire pressure monitor system, a first aid kit, and the rearview camera.

2016 Scion iA First Look

Like other Scion models, the 2016 iA sedan will be available with a wide array of dealer-installed accessories and customization options. With its high Mazda content, the new Scion sedan will likely be built in Mazda's new assembly plant in Mexico.

And that name? According to Scion, the "i" can refer to individual, intriguing, or easy on the customer's income, and the "A" could mean aggressive styling, accommodating cabin and trunk, or affordable -- appropriate, as the 2016 Scion iA will be priced in the $16,000 range. 2016 Scion iA© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Scion iA

2016 Scion iA© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Scion iA
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