Quick Spin: 2012 Scion iQ Five Axis Design car test drives scion reviews motorsports customization car culture
2012 Scion iQ Five Axis Design. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
2012 Fiat 500 Pop
Test Drive: 2012 Scion iQ

Manufacturer’s web site
Scion Canada

Review and photos by Mike Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2012 Scion iQ

Last winter I had a chance to drive the then-new 2012 Scion iQ. It was the latest vehicle to enter the city car segment and combined the Fiat 500’s four-passenger capabilities with dimensions closer to those of the Smart ForTwo. At a length of only 3,045 mm, Scion touts it as the smallest four-seat vehicle available for sale in Canada, but taking four people in this car can resemble the circus act of stuffing clowns into a toy car.

Since then, there have been two more thorough reviews of this funky hatchback on Autos.ca, by Greg Wilson and Chris Chase. We have gone over, in depth, every aspect of this car and shared our thoughts and feelings on it. So why then, might you ask, is it back again? Haven’t we covered this little guy enough? Well, this time we have a special version. We have the Scion iQ adorned with a Five Axis Design package that dresses up the exterior of the iQ while improving performance marginally. The kit includes FIVE:AD four-piece aero kit, FIVE:AD 18-inch alloy wheels, sport lowering springs, and Five Axis Edition badging.

Quick Spin: 2012 Scion iQ Five Axis Design car test drives scion reviews motorsports customization car culture
Quick Spin: 2012 Scion iQ Five Axis Design car test drives scion reviews motorsports customization car culture
2012 Scion iQ Five Axis Design. Click image to enlarge

These upgrades address two weaknesses found in the iQ: looks and handling. The whole package improves the car aesthetically compared to a stock iQ, which has an awkward look, especially with the 15-inch hubcap-sporting steel wheels. The iQ looks amazing in white with the 18-inch black rims installed. The body kit, which I usually hate attached to cars, looks very nice here, although it takes away a bit of the forward approach angle. Thankfully though, the car’s front wheels are so close to the bumper that it can still handle driveways and speed bumps without issue.

The lowering springs drop the iQ 38 mm (1.4 in.) and do enough to make it look less top heavy while the wider 205 width tires look all business and fill the wheel wells in the square design nicely. In fact, dare I say, this car actually looks cool? If it were up to me though, I would remove the fake carbon fibre sticker stripes on the side of the vehicle.

The second issue this car addresses is handling. A stock iQ is not a poor handler really, but the skinny, economy bias tires do nothing to improve the cornering grip of the iQ. The 205/40R18 Yokohama S.Drive tires do wonders to make this little Scion stick to the road. In fact, combined with the lowering springs the iQ now feels stuck to the road. Exiting off-ramps at high speed becomes a test of your limits; not the car’s. Some passengers wondered if the tires would out-grip the iQ’s centre of gravity. A byproduct of this lower profile, wider footprint is a more direct steering response that borders on darty when driving down the highway.

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