The 2014 Scion iQ is among a crop of tiny cars that emphasize high fuel economy, low entry cost and stylish design. Like the Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Spark, the iQ boasts youthful looks and more refinement than the Smart Fortwo. When that latter car arrived in the U.S. in 2008, its toy-like dimensions drew quizzical looks, but now these microcars are gaining wider acceptance. This is especially true in crowded cities, where the iQ excels as a runabout that can squeeze into the tightest parking spots. If your needs focus on highway cruising or ferrying more than one extra passenger, the iQ's size is a detriment, but if you just require an inexpensive and efficient errand runner, the iQ begins to look like an intelligent choice.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you live in a crowded place where you need to fight for a parking space, the iQ is worth its weight in gold. This Scion's fuel efficiency, residual value, and the reliability record of its Toyota parent are also alluring.
You May Not Like This Car If...
There's no getting around the Scion iQ's pint-size dimensions, which limit both passenger capacity and its ability to cruise comfortably at higher speeds. Slightly larger cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Mazda Mazda2, Chevrolet Sonic and Mini Cooper offer a more solid ride and similar (or better) highway fuel economy.
2014 Scion iQ models gain a new display audio system that features a 6.1-inch LCD touch screen, HD Radio and Bluetooth connectivity. In celebration of Scion's 10th anniversary is the limited-edition 10 Series version with features like special wheels, unique interior illumination and commemorative badges.
Driving the iQ
The Scion iQ is a short car, but drivers sit high and enjoy good visibility when the rear seats are folded. With no adjustment for seat height or a telescoping...
... steering wheel, however, finding the perfect fit can be challenging. The iQ's small 4-cylinder engine only puts out 94 horsepower, but that is enough to provide decent acceleration in this light vehicle. Keep the continuously variable automatic transmission in Sport mode, and you'll get zippier performance, but the iQ can't match the larger Mini Cooper or Chevy Sonic for road feel and driving fun. Engine drone is a letdown and only seems to grow louder the longer the commute. The iQ is certainly freeway capable, but it's far more at home at lower speeds on city roads.
TIGHT TURNING RADIUS Making a U-turn in some vehicles can feel like a gamble, but with the iQ's 26.4-foot turning circle you'll never have to worry about that dreaded 3-point turn amid oncoming traffic. In less dramatic situations, this also translates to tight maneuverability in parking lots.
STAGGERED SEATING By pushing the dashboard and console forward, the 2014 Scion iQ puts the front passenger slightly ahead of the driver, which cleverly adds extra room for a passenger in back. There's no such luck for those behind the driver, though.
2014 Scion iQ Details
Though the Scion iQ technically accommodates four people, it's best thought of as transportation for two, or three in a pinch thanks to the front passenger seat that is staggered to expand rear legroom. The front seats are ample-sized and quite comfortable, but the interior as a whole feels spartan and inexpensive. A hidden, slide-out storage compartment under the front passenger seat helps make the most of the iQ's storage space. With the rear seats up, cargo capacity is nearly nonexistent. If this were our daily driver, we'd just leave the rear seats folded to create a larger hull that accommodates several grocery bags.
The 2014 Scion iQ brings a modern twist to the microcar segment that sets it apart from the retro-classic designs of the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper. In contrast, the iQ's shape appears more angular and funky. Its front is defined by the nub of a hood that hides the engine, while the rear hatch just barely extends over the rear wheels. Two large side doors allow easy front-seat access, and the front windows are roughly three-quarters the length of the entire car. An available rear spoiler mounted atop the hatchback adds a dose of sportiness.
Every Scion iQ comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), 16-inch steel wheels, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, power accessories, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Music and communications are controlled via a new 6.1-inch touch-screen Display Audio system with Bluetooth wireless connectivity and HD Radio. Note, cruise control is not available. Buyers concerned with the iQ's small size will be relieved to know it's big on safety. In that respect, the iQ includes 11 airbags, stability and traction control, and emergency-braking aids. Like other new Scions, the 2014 iQ includes free scheduled maintenance for two years/25,000 miles, and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years.
Aside from the limited Series 10 edition, there's really only one trim of the 2014 Scion iQ, and options are on the meager side. Those that are available include a rear spoiler, fog lights, alloy wheels and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) upgrades such as lowering springs and a sway-bar set. Navigation can be had via an upgrade to the 6.1-inch display audio system. Series 10 edition models add interior electroluminescent panels, solar-powered illuminated shift knob, graphite alloy wheels, and commemorative badging.
Under the Hood
Scion iQ hatchbacks are powered by a small, 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out just under 100 horsepower. That power isn't extravagant, but it's adequate to shuffle this 2,127-pound car up to speed in most situations. All iQs are front-wheel drive and use a CVT automatic transmission that help these microcars attain a combined 37 mpg while running on regular unleaded gasoline.
The 2014 Scion iQ has an appealing Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $16,420, and its long-term financial outlook is even better. In fact, the 2013 iQ nabbed the top spot in our 5-Year Cost to Own Awards as the most affordable car you can own over that period of time when factoring in considerations such as fuel, repairs and insurance. Comparatively, the Fiat 500's starting price is slightly higher than the iQ's, while the Chevrolet Spark and Smart Fortwo are a few thousand dollars lower at around $13,000. Slightly larger cars like the Mazda2, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic, meanwhile, also have lower starting prices than the Scion iQ. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. Long-term value is a bright spot for the iQ, with it having an above-average residual value when it comes time to sell.
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."
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!"
"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."