By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 5.9
If it's true that Americans don't like small cars, someone didn't tell the good folks at Scion. Along with the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo, the 2013 Scion iQ subcompact joins a growing gang of tiny commuter cars, perfect for those who live in big cities were speeds rarely break 30 mph and time behind the wheel is counted in minutes, not hours. Easy to park in tight spaces, the iQ's tiny exterior hides a rather roomy inside, at least up front. The rear seats are barely big enough to hold two people. But, the rear-passenger-side seat has more legroom thanks to the staggered design of the front-passenger seat tracks and a dashboard that sits slightly forward.
If you live in big city with very little parking space, the iQ is worth its weight in gold. Its Toyota pedigree ensures its reliability as well as serviceability just about anywhere in the country, a bonus that Mini, Fiat or Smart can't promise.
The iQ is small and you may not feel very comfortable driving it out on a highway surrounded by big SUVs and 18-wheelers. Slightly larger subcompacts such as the Kia Rio, Nissan Versa or Ford Fiesta are more spacious inside, cost about the same and deliver equal or better fuel economy.
The 2013 Scion iQ is updated with content previously optional including the passenger under-seat tray, rear-deck box cover and rear speakers.
Driving Impressions When you're behind the wheel of the 2013 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 94-hp 4-cylinder is smooth and surprisingly quiet. 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 iQ turns on its 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.
Think of the 2013 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 nonexistent.) 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
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 2013 Scion iQ test car didn't turn more heads. We think it was 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.
The 2013 Scion iQ comes impressively equipped. Standard items 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 airbags. There are also unique front seat-cushion airbags and a rear-window airbag that deploys around the rear headrests.
There's basically only one Scion iQ, but like other Scion models, there's a nice array of accessories. On the outside, there are 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 onramp 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.
The front-wheel-drive 2013 Scion iQ gets its kicks from a 1.3-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 – combined with EPA fuel-economy estimates of 36 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, so you won't be spending so much at the pump.
94 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
89 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 36/37 mpg
The 2013 Scion iQ starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $16,150 and can run up to $20,000 fully accessorized. That puts it right in the crosshairs of the 2013 Fiat 500, which starts at $16,200, but can top out at $25,000. Meanwhile, the 2013 Mini Cooper has a starting sticker price of around $20,200 and can top $30,000. Being the new kid on the block, we expect the 2013 Scion iQ will be in high demand to start – and that Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price will reflect real-world transaction prices close to MSRP. Resale should be equally impressive, although slightly lower than Scion's other cars.
By CBXMAN (PA) on Sunday, November 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Low cost, fun to drive, fun to park"
Cons: "No armrest. Poor headlights and poor heater."
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 drove a Smart car in England a couple of years ago but it was too small inside and the semi automatic trans was a pain. 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. It holds it own in traffic light drag races and 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 inside out first making sure that larger Americans like me could fit in it. I'm 5'11 and 240 lbs 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. First Car I've ever owned that I liked enough to give it a name: Mighty Mouse because it drives and handles above its weight class. 1500 Mile Report This car is the most fun I've had in a car in years! Its getting 33 mpg with me at the helm with my foot to the floor most of time. I bet if I took it easy I could easily get it over 40 mpg. Every time I say to myself that I'm going to take it easy on this tank of gas and see how high I can get the mileage to go to I wind up reverting back to my normal driving style. Maybe it will be different when I grow up!(Current age:60). The IQ is staying rattle free in spite of the pounding it gets on our wonderful PA roads. It's not using any oil and starts up immediately on cold days and defrosters front and rear do a great job. Too bad the exterior rear view mirrors don't have defrosters in them. 12K mile Report See 1500 mile report. All is well, better actually. Installed a TRD Rear Anti Sway Bar and Sylvania headlight bulbs. Forget the Magazines for test results. Here's the real world: 0 to 60MPH ~7 seconds Top Speed 105 mph. Ignition cuts out after that. Speeds over 90 mph require a lot of concentration because the car is short and things happen very fast at high speeds. Here's a short list of what Toyota should add to the IQ: Exterior Rearview Mirror Defrosters Brighter Headlight Bulbs. Replaced mine with Sylvania Silverstar Ultras. Rear Anti Sway Bar. Go into a turn too fast and get ready for some big time lean. Whoppee!! Toyota has one as a dealer installed option but it should be standard. A glove box. Come on Toyota. There's room for one and the one sore point on this car is there are not enough places to store things up front. The sliding drawer under the passenger seat is a cute idea but its not big enough. Better interior lighting. The dinky light up front is not bright enough for anything and there is no light in the rear. Installing aftermarket battery powered LED lamps is a solution but really....Come on Toyota. The Scion brand is a premium brand and these features should be in the IQ for the price charged."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Jt (IL) on Monday, September 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this little car. It is so much fun to drive and get 35mpg. Lots of room for two people. It is my work car. My friends can't believe that it has so much room and they love to ride in it."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Lunerbator (ME) on Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "compact fun to drive"
Cons: "poor gas, poor horsepower, poor customer service"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"When i bought the car it was great! topping almost 50 mpg. That did not last long. i am currently getting 24 mpg and have been for about 8 months ( i have owned that car for 10). the dealership is no help and scion tells me to deal with the dealership. honestly i don't take it out much because my 2004 jeep liberty with 170k miles on it gets better highway then this tiny car. i just wish i wasn't stuck with it for another 2 years."
2 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By white iq (MA) on Friday, July 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cute, great on gas, fun to drive"
Cons: "no glove compartment, no arm rest, no spare tire!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Once you get past EVERYBODY staring at you the IQ is really fun to drive. I get 41 miles to a gallon and that's combination highway/country roads and mountains. It rides very nice however if you catch a crack in the road it will throw you. I have to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. I probably should anyway but I'm trying to give you a visual. Not having a glove compartment totally stinks, you don't realize how much you need one until its gone. My husband is 5'11 so on the taller side and even with his seat pushed all the way back he's very uncomforable. There is no trunk.. at all which makes a grocery trip a puzzle. Overall the car is really fun to drive if your a small/short person and maybe have another small short person riding in the front seat with you. Forget trying to go flea marketing or shopping...there's no room. I have this as my only form of transportation and its very inconvient. If this is a play car then by all means its awesome and fun to drive...not to mention its wicked cute:)"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Julie (OR) on Friday, April 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Driver and passenger leg and body space."
Cons: "Doesn't come in a manual transmission"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I was skeptical of how the IQ would handle on snow and ice due to the short wheel base. I live in an area where there is plenty of 'winter driving' hazards but my IQ breezed through the icy, snowy, cold roads just like it was a larger sedan. I average 38 mgp during the winter months(and that is with warming it up before driving) and am at 43+ average with the warmer weather. It is amazing how much I can put in the back hatch too!! I highly recommend this little car if you are looking for an economical way to get around and don't need to always carry a 3rd passenger...Although my 17 and 16 yr old kids do fit in the back seat for short distances, it wouldn't be the greatest comfort for long drives (50+ miles). I never hesitate taking my IQ somewhere."
10 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Evgeny (NV) on Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Bluetooth, Still 4 Seater"
Cons: "No Central Armrest even optional"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I live in Las Vegas.I also own VW Jetta 2011.I bought Scion IQ month ago with 5000 miles on it orange color.Very easy car to drive at the trafic,mine does 35 mpg,my style of driving is pretty fast,i get compliments all the time.The feel of the car is really tight.Sporty steering wheel is awesome.I Paid $16000 out of the door price, i was trying to find mini cooper for the same money,and only u can find is a dead animal from Mini with 50000 miles.Nice Mini cost like 20000.People complain that Scion IQ has Engine noise at the startup when you r standing outside.I test drove a lot of Minis so guys try to turn on the engine and stand outside the Mini, it sounds like trash can is turning over, not only at startup.And thats normal because u cant hear that disaster from inside, but anyways Mini is really nice,it depends if you have money to fix it, go for it. Scion = Toyota no questions about reliability, so i dont think about my future visits to the mechanics and for me its important becuse its a second car and i dont want pain from it. Also I am tired from questions about safety, i say go on the youtube and check it out. The funny thing ,most of them from Mini owners.:)))"
12 people out of 12 found this review helpful