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2012 Scion iQ

Overview
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2012 Scion iQ Review

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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.

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

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2012 Scion iQ Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 31 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.1/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    7.9/10
    Styling
    8.3/10

JUNK!

By on Monday, January 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "11 air bags"

Cons: "all of the above! tiny piece of Junk!"

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

"Toyota says this car gets 36mpg. Yea Right! More like 25mpg!! Seating for 2 only. Bluetooth on Radio Never stays connected to the cell phone. You feel like and Ant on the street."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

This is a fun economical car

By on Saturday, January 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,850

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Small size, great mileage."

Cons: "No spare tire."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I took ownership to a new iQ in October 2014. From day one I was pleased with this vehicle. The car is fun to drive, and handles extremely well. The MPG have been about 40 - 42 , including NYC rush hour driving. I have no complaints yet. The CVT is much better than I read in car reviews. I hope Toyota will continue to offer a similar car in the future. If you think this car is too small, do yourself a favor and take a test drive. You will be pleasantly suprised."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fun to drive!

By on Saturday, November 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,676

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fun to drive, great turning radius, good looking"

Cons: "very small, no leather seats"

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

"This car is a head turner. And it makes people smile! It is fun to drive, easy on the wallet and great in tight spaces. I can fit my groceries and everyday items in it easily."

9 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Good Things Come in Small Packages

By on Saturday, October 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Frugal to buy and operate, easy to park"

Cons: "Choppy ride on concrete freeways"

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

"I was originally looking for a small used car, like a Hyundai or Kia. I live in Seattle where parking can be limited. After an exhaustive search I came across my 2012 Scion iQ with less than 1200 miles for the same price as a either of the aforementioned vehicles...and it had the remained of its warranty (5 years). It turns out the iQ was exactly what I was looking for. I'm single and primarily need it to run errands on the weekend...and mostly NOT freeway (too much traffic). The iQ has a stylish appearance both inside and out (more so than my 2005 Subaru Forester). Its extremely maneuverable and a blast to drive. Kudos to Toyota for bringing this vehicle stateside. Too bad they're stopping production after the current model year. Get one while you can."

9 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Great buy for the money!

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,600

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, highly likeable and useful"

Cons: "Could use more storage in front - no glove compart"

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

"As long as you don't need the extra space of a trunk, the car has it all. Two rear seats with belts, headrests, and airbags make it usable for passengers. With the rear seats folded down there is much usable storage and carrying space. The driver/front passenger cabin is huge and gives no feeling of cramping or tight enclosure. Just like driving a full size car. Mileage of 37 mpg. average is honest. Highway even better. Parking tricks are amazing!"

14 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Great Small Car

By on Friday, June 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Makes you smile!"

Cons: "None so far!"

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

"I bought a used 2012 iQ and have had it for two months and so far have enjoyed the little car. I am a 6'2" 250lb man in my late 40's and have absolutely no problem getting in and out of this car and am very comfortable riding and driving it. I have driven mini vans for many years with my last one being a fully loaded Chrysler T&C. When I decided to purchase a newer vehicle I took a hard look at how I used a vehicle daily and 99% of my time is back and forth to work and stopping at the grocery store a few times a week with other errands mixed in here and there. At this stage of my life it made economical sense to go with something smaller and so far I have had no regrets. My wife and I are both comfortable in the car and there is plenty of cargo space for groceries or our small dogs when they go with us. The car has plenty of pep and I must say is a lot of fun to drive. I do get alot of stares and a ton of questions from people and alot of them are shocked when I tell them I enjoy the car and they look in and see how much room I have when seated in it. My gas bill has been reduced by 2/3 and that is with me having a bit of a lead foot with the air on. Of course when you compare it to my van there is things I gave up but I knew that when I bought it and comparing them would be like comparing apples to oranges. I owned a few smaller cars when I was younger so I knew what I was getting into buying a small car but I must say the iQ beats those other cars hands down. I will have to wait and see how it does this winter but with its width and wheel size and based on other reviews I don't expect there to be much of an issue. So far the car has exceeded my expectations and I have absolutely no regrets!"

11 people out of 17 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?