Scion recently dropped their all-new iM into the marketplace. The car’s general shape feels very derivative of Lexus’ CT200h. I often have trouble remembering that Scion isn’t that far removed from Lexus, since they both operate under the Toyota mother ship. The hatchback’s bold styling definitely gets a lot of looks. The honeycomb front grille, flanked by aggressive-looking headlight pods and LED driving lights, looks great, but the full-body aerodynamic kit is a bit overstyled for my taste. I liked the 17-inch rims, shod with surprisingly fat 225/45-sized rubber.
Once you get in, the iM feels roomy for a small car. At 5’10”, I had head room to spare. Scion’s use of soft-touch materials anywhere your hand might fall is very nice for a car in this price category. It’s pretty dark in there. The one splash of colour comes from a contrasting, off-white strip of material at the bottom of the dash – it’s a nice touch. The styling is relatively conventional, and not quite as out there as we’ve seen in some Scions in the past. I found it to be a well-designed, well thought out cabin.
The manually-adjustable fabric seats are reasonably comfortable, but exceptionally well bolstered – they wouldn’t be out of place in a sports car. The seats are not heated – as a matter of fact, that’s not even an option. A very strange omission, considering the iM has something like power folding mirrors as standard equipment.
A nice grippy little steering wheel falls into hand – it has a full array of buttons for your phone, cruise control, driver information screen and the trip meter.
There’s a 7.0-inch touchscreen front and centre that handles your phone and media functions – it has voice recognition, USB and auxiliary inputs, as well as Aha radio. The interface is typical Toyota-fare, and works pretty well. I found the hard buttons on the edge of the unit irritatingly small but you don’t need to use them very often. There’s nothing wrong with the sound system, but one of the few options that Scion offers is the nebulous Bongiovi Acoustics enhancing system. Apparently it makes a noticeable difference in the sound. Personally I’d spring for it just because I want to tell people that I have the Bon Jovi stereo upgrade. Because I give love a bad name.
Bigger and boxier: Test Drive: 2014 Scion xB Release Series 10.0
The iM comes very well-equipped and includes some premium-feeling amenities like automatic head lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control system and a backup camera.
I found a couple of places to drop my stuff. The front of the centre console is home to a small rubberized bin with your USB, auxiliary and 12V plugs – it can be hidden away behind a nice flip-up lid. The armrest, which I feel is way too far back since I could only get my elbow on it, houses a small carpeted cargo space underneath it as well.