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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
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 36 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.0/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Still LOVE my IQ

By on Sunday, July 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Turning radius, parking, MPG, fun to drive"

Cons: "Horn volume, interior lighting"

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

"I wrote the first review for the IQ back in 2012 when I first bought this car. I still LOVE my IQ. I use this car to commute, going up and down the freeways of Houston. With my lead foot, I am getting 30 MPG. IF I should have to buy another car, I would buy another IQ. It is perfect as a commuter car. I replaced my horn as I did not feel that it was loud enough. I think there needs to be more light in the cabin. Considering after 45k miles these are my only complaints, I consider this car a winner."

Love my iQ

By on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Nimble, fun to drive, good gas mileage, cute!"

Cons: "Dome light too dim"

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

"Have had my iQ for 1.5 years, no complaint at all! I knew it was a compact car when I got it, I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious it was inside. It fits me, my husband, and our 55-lb dog perfectly! No problem with the CVT, we are on a highway once or twice a week, it keeps up with traffic just fine, we don't find the engine any louder than the Elantra we had in the past. It averages 37 mpg for us(our commutes are short). Have no hesitation in getting another iQ in the future!"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love it..

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"Has some road noise when on the highway,,,but we rarely go on the highway......so it is the perfect car for my husband and me. Plenty of storage for our shopping needs and luggage when we decide to take a trip. Plenty of room for 2 people,,easy to get into and out of...room for 1 adult in the back,,but really not two...two kids would be ok. We leave the back seats down 99% of the time. Great gas mileage, easy to park & fun to drive. We are very pleased with the car,,have had it since Feb 2012. Would recommend to anyone that can use a 2 person car,,and needs room for groceries, luggage, etc. We had a Miata,,it had no space for anything but us."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Cute car that served it's purpose

By on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,200

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Cute car"

Cons: "no power, noisy, drives like a go-cart"

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

"This car served it's purpose -- a low cost emergency replacement vehicle. Additionally, it convinced me of one thing for certain... I will NEVER own a car with a CVT again. It has zero power in the 30-50 MPH range which makes merging into highway traffic a challenge. At highway speeds the engine is running at 4K-5K RPM which makes for a very noisy ride. An hour on the freeway and I'm ready to cut off my ears. As far as fuel economy I don't get within 10 MPG of it's rating. Scion did some computer monitored drive test and said it's performing as designed. And, the steering is very tight so it drives like a go-cart. Very disappointed with the vehicle; I was hoping for just a bit more. But, it is cute and gets lots of attention."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Love my iQ!

By on Saturday, April 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Cute. Fun to drive. Reliable. 11 air bags!"

Cons: "No armrest. No spare tire."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"So I recently purchased my iQ and let me tell you that I am obsessed with it. I love driving it! Sure, it isn't the fastest car I have driven and yea, the back seat and lack of trunk space took some getting used to BUT it doesn't bother me at all anymore. Less junk in my car and no chauffering people around right?!? Did I mention it is wicked cute?! Well it is! And it is fun to drive. Gotta love saving money on gas! My VW Passat seemed to just eat the gas and cost me an arm and a leg. But this little guy makes my wallet so happy. My cons in the car are minimal and seem to be similar to most people who have this car. But otherwise I am in love. Way to go Scion!"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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."

13 people out of 38 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?