The 2014 scion iQ is just one of numerous options under the $20,000 price mark. As a microcar, it is one of less than a half-dozen available in Canada. Given these odds, it’s feasible to believe that the iQ is a popular choice. In truth, it is not. Something about it is either too big or too small.
Scion’s iQ drives bigger than it is, and is an actual three-seater with a little room to spare. It’s peppy, spunky and can be cute when the sun hits your eye just right, blinding you temporarily. However, its price is far too big and is what keeps them off the streets. Competition is fierce at this price point and the iQ doesn’t measure up.
What is a Scion iQ?
The 2014 iQ is Toyota’s Scion brand’s smallest vehicle. It slots itself in the microcar category, one that is very popular in other markets around the globe but just starting to emerge in North America.
Scion recently celebrated 10 years on the U.S. market. In Canada, the youthful brand only arrived in 2010 and has met with limited (if any) noteworthy success.
2014 Scion iQ Price and Specs
The iQ’s Achilles’ heel comes in the form of sticker shock. At $17,115, its pricing towers over all in its segment, surpassing even a number of compact cars.
My tester was the one and only Scion iQ in the lineup. Only accessories such as alloy wheels, fog lights, carpets, and navigation can be selected.
The Scion iQ is motivated by a 94-horsepower 1.3L 4-cylinder engine. The only transmission to be had is a CVT, and it drives the front wheels. Brakes are disc up front, drums in the rear, and steering is electrically assisted.
Driving the Scion iQ
I’d only briefly driven the iQ nearly a year ago, and clearly it left little or no mark on my psyche. Strangely, I thoroughly enjoyed booting about town and surrounding areas during my weeklong test drive.
Weight always -- and I mean, always -- being the enemy, the iQ (thanks to its svelte self) is actually fun to boot. The mill’s 89 lb-ft of torque come in midway through the 4,000-rpm mark, and the car actually livens up.
Brilliantly, the CVT will not anchor itself just below the rev limiter, destroying what’s left of my eardrums after babysitting my gorgeous 10-day old god-daughter. The transmission is lively and willing.
As with every short wheelbase car, undulations and road imperfections affect comfort and the car’s wellbeing. At no moment does it feel unsafe, but know that the 2014 Scion iQ’s stability control cannot be deactivated and functions appropriately, unfortunately for snow-covered parking lots and I. The semi-independent suspension’s work is otherwise appreciable, maintaining (what little weight transfers there are) body roll to a safe-feeling level.
The 2014 Scion iQ’s brakes are quite good and steering, although a tad too assisted, is precise. It’s really not that bad a drive, I tell you.
Inside and Out of the Scion iQ
An acquired taste, the 2014 scion iQ’s styling is. Its outer dimensions limit what can be done; let’s remember that the doors are roughly half the total length of the car. Bright colours do little to make visual impressions better, however, a set of proper aftermarket alloy wheels do help.
Of the available off-the-shelf options, a set of TRD lowering springs ($1,035) can do wonders outwardly.
The cabin is snug (size-wise) from the front row, but it really doesn’t seem that way. The 2014 Scion iQ offers up plenty of leg, elbow, and headroom; this changes drastically in the rear. The passenger seat slides far forward enough to allow for rear legroom, permitting passenger No. 3 to take his/her place. The seat behind the driver is essentially a place to put a day bag. The trunk is no larger than an average glove box, and so the seatbacks have to be lowered to carry anything of size.
The car’s ergonomics are amusing and easy to adapt to. The radio, on the other hard, is located too far up and forward to be reached without reaching. The front seats themselves are sufficiently comfortable for the average commute and more.
Comparing the Scion iQ
The 2014 Scion iQ takes the smart fortwo head-on. The iQ name apparently plays this out. Also in the game are the Mitsubishi Mirage, FIAT 500 and Chevrolet Spark.
Also on the shopping list are the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and a number of other compact cars. The latter offer more of almost everything for the same money.
Either the price is too big or the car is too small -- or perhaps it’s a bit of both.