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2012 Scion iQ

Overview
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2012 Scion iQ Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.0

You can blame (or thank) MINI Cooper for this. Ever since the cheeky little Brit was reintroduced in 2003, buyers have been going gaga for small, personal city cars. Where small cars used to be cheap, inexpensive transportation, this new breed combines style, personality and performance along with the premium price tag. The key players in the game are currently MINI, Smart, the new FIAT 500, and now, the all-new 2012 Scion iQ. The funniest thing about this is that the largest car in the class is...you guessed it, the MINI.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're an urban dweller who has to fight it out for parking, or an eco-minded driver who doesn't want to give up the toys. If you find the Smart too small, the MINI too pricey, and the FIAT questionable on reliability, the iQ hatchback could be just right.

You May Not Like This Car If...

First of all, you either like the Scion iQ styling or you don't. If you're looking for cheap transportation or need 4-passenger capacity, the Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa sedan (both all-new for 2012), Honda Fit and Mazda2 will better fit the bill.

What's Significant About This Car?

The 2012 Scion iQ is a master of hatchback packaging, fitting 2 +1 seating (we can explain) into a stylish package that is incredibly small on the outside, yet surprisingly roomy inside. And the front-drive, 3-door hatchback looks like the kind of futuristic cars we all thought we'd be driving by now. So...now you can.

Driving the iQ

Driving Impressions When you're behind the wheel of the 2012 Scion iQ hatchback, it's easy to forget you're in a car that's shorter than a MINI. You sit tall, like in the...

FIAT 500, and that gives excellent visibility. Unlike the FIAT, the Scion feels more sleek and coupe-like, thanks to a smaller greenhouse. Scion puts the dashboard and center stack further away, enhancing the impression you're driving a larger car. The drive doesn't betray it – the 92-hp 4-cylinder is smooth and the iQ provides a surprisingly quiet ride. Freeway speeds are comfy, with only a little nudge from side winds betraying the short wheelbase. In town, it's only when you crank over the steering wheel, when the 2012 iQ turns on it's heels like an exuberant Jack Russell Terrier, that it strikes you how maneuverable the little Scion is. Keep the CVT automatic transmission in Sport mode, and you'll get more zippy performance, but it can't match the Italians (FIAT) or Germans (MINI) for road feel and driving fun.
Favorite Features

Leather-wrapped steering wheel
You wouldn't think you'd get excited about a steering wheel, but the standard Scion iQ wheel has a fat, leather-wrapped rim, and angular contours that make it look like it came from a Ferrari. Nice.

Staggered 3-person seating
By pushing the dashboard and console way forward, the Scion iQ puts the front passenger slightly ahead of the driver, adding enough room for a passenger in the back. Clever. No such luck for those behind the driver, though.

2012 Scion iQ Details
2012 Scion iQ photo Interior

Think of the Scion iQ as a 2-seater with room for an occasional third, and you've got it right. Considering the hatchback's tiny overall length, room up front is impressive. The seats are ample-sized and quite comfortable too. (Warning! If you've got both rear seats up, cargo room is non-existent.) Even more impressive is the iQ interior design, with beautiful curved door handles, a curved cascading center stack, and nice quality materials throughout. It's a nice place to spend time.

Exterior
2012 Scion iQ photo

When you think about the Scion iQ's competitors, you realize that both the MINI Cooper and the FIAT 500 are retro-classic designs that have been re-envisioned. The Scion charts a bold new course. It's funky and aero. So we were surprised our 2012 Scion iQ test car didn't turn more heads. We think it's the dark charcoal (magnet gray metallic) paint. We've seen other iQ hatchbacks in a bright orange ("Hot Lava" to Scion) and white ("Blizzard Pearl"), and they really grab your attention. Because it's a Scion, you have a wide choice of personalization, including accessory body parts and wheels, so making one your own should be easy.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Scion iQ comes impressively equipped. At its $15,999 starting price, standard goodies include air conditioning, power locks/windows/mirrors, keyless entry with electronic rear-hatch locking system, a thumping 160-watt Pioneer audio system with HD technology, a USB input for your iPod, Bluetooth connectivity, 16-inch covered steel wheels, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
Buyers with safety concerns about the iQ's small size will be happy to know about its armada of airbags, including driver and passenger front, knee, seat-mounted side and side curtain air bags. There are also unique front seat-cushion airbags and a rear-window airbag that deploys around the rear headrests.

Optional Equipment

There's basically only one Scion iQ model, but like other Scion models, there's a nice array of accessories. On the outside, there's a 4-piece aero kit, rear spoiler, mudguards and fog lights. For the inside, the usual assortment of floor mats and cargo nets is available, plus a cool interior-lighting kit. Those of you looking to terrorize your local on ramp can plump for (Toyota Racing Development (TRD) lowering springs and a rear sway bar. Alloy wheels are available, as is a full-featured navigation system.

Under the Hood

The front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2012 Scion iQ gets its kicks from a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out 94 hp. It may be small, but it's a technical powerhouse, with dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and dual variable valve timing. Toyota recommends 87-octane gasoline – which when combined with EPA fuel-economy estimates of 36 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, you won't be spending much at the pump.

1.4-liter in-line 4
94 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
89 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 36/37

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Scion iQ Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 22 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.0/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

2014 Scion IQ is my idea of a sports car

By on Sunday, April 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Like a little sports car but at a smaller price"

Cons: "Could use cruise control."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Not sure why all the bad reviews. I think America just isn't ready for micro cars. I really like my little car. I am 6'2", 195 lbs and it fits me as well as any full size car. It drives sporty - peppy and responsive. Really glad I got this instead of a Smart or Fiat. Too bad Toyota is thinking of ending the car after 2014."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

2014 Scion IQ is my idea of a sports car

By on Saturday, April 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Like a little sports car but at a smaller price"

Cons: "Could use cruise control."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Not sure why all the bad reviews. I think America just isn't ready for micro cars. I really like my little car. I am 6'2", 195 lbs and it fits me as well as any full size car. It drives sporty - peppy and responsive. Really glad I got this instead of a Smart or Fiat. Too bad Toyota is thinking of ending the car after 2014."

Disappointment

By on Sunday, April 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "It's cheap but not cheap enough to be a good value"

Cons: "Too many to list"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The MPG rating on the sticker was 36/37. The actual for this car is 28/35. No leg room if you are tall. It has no cruise control. The Bluetooth is of very poor sound quality. The doors do not auto lock when you start driving. The seats are very uncomfortable and have no lumbar support. It's an OK car for around town (a small town), but for any out of town trips just forget about it! Do not purchase this car. It depreciated faster than most cars, lost 50% of it's value in less than 2 years. They call it a 3 seater but it is actually a 2 seater just like the Smart car."

Disappointment

By on Sunday, April 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "It's cheap but not cheap enough to be a good value"

Cons: "Too many to list"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The MPG rating on the sticker was 36/37. The actual for this car is 28/35. No leg room if you are tall. It has no cruise control. The Bluetooth is of very poor sound quality. The doors do not auto lock when you start driving. The seats are very uncomfortable and have no lumbar support. It's an OK car for around town (a small town), but for any out of town trips just forget about it! Do not purchase this car. It depreciated faster than most cars, lost 50% of it's value in less than 2 years. They call it a 3 seater but it is actually a 2 seater just like the Smart car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Disappointment

By on Sunday, April 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "It's cheap but not cheap enough to be a good value"

Cons: "Too many to list"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The MPG rating on the sticker was 36/37. The actual for this car is 28/35. No leg room if you are tall. It has no cruise control. The Bluetooth is of very poor sound quality. The doors do not auto lock when you start driving. The seats are very uncomfortable and have no lumbar support. It's an OK car for around town (a small town), but for any out of town trips just forget about it! Do not purchase this car. It depreciated faster than most cars, lost 50% of it's value in less than 2 years. They call it a 3 seater but it is actually a 2 seater just like the Smart car."

My Favorite Car!

By on Sunday, March 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and fun to park"

Cons: "Not enough power"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"After a lot of thought it was time for the Lexus to go. 20 mpg in a 12 year old car that only ran on premium unleaded fuel just didn't add up for me. I almost went and looked at a Smart car when I remembered that Toyota had come out with the Scion IQ last year so I started doing my research. The car magazines were not kind to it saying that it was slow and the CVT transmission didn't ever seem to be in the right gear, etc, etc. I guess maybe Toyota didn't pay enough to advertise in these magazines because they could not have been driving an IQ. One test drive was all it took for me. The car is a ball in town because of its short size and speedy throttle response and holds it own on the Interstates cruising comfortably in the fast lane at 80 and it is not disturbed by the wake coming from tractor trailers. The IQ is BIG inside and comfortable for two. Yes it has two back seats but they are better left folded down. Store stuff under them before you fold them down. Toyota designed this car from the insde out first making sure that larger Americans like me could fit in it. I'm 5'11 and 240lbs and it fits me fine. If there were two of me sitting in a Smart Car we'd be rubbing shoulders. Not in the IQ. Plenty of room for 2 full sized adults. With back seats folded flat there is plenty of room in the back for our two Scottish terriers."

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?