Slow, uncomfortable and noisy. That's what Consumer Reports says about the Scion iQ. After giving it a good going-over, the magazine gives it a road test score of 29. That ranks it near the bottom of all new cars CR has reviewed. Very near. In fact, the only new car currently rated lower is the Smart ForTwo, iQ's direct competitor, which scored a 28.

While CR is sometimes criticized for going too easy in its car reviews, it unloaded on the Scion. Ride comfort was dinged for being stiff and jittery with "road, wind and engine noise" that drowned out normal conversation. CR said the engine and CVT was "barely enough to stay up with highway traffic" but praised the 34 mpg it saw during testing, though the institute expected more from a car so small.

Inside, the rear seat is described as awful, tight and "best avoided all together." And while the upholstery wasn't bad to look at, the headliner "resembled fuzzy cardboard" and the car's carpeting "looks like it was taken from some other car's trunk."

CR liked the car's safety test results and praised the iQ's braking and easy parkability and... that's about it.

In our recent review, we shared CR's concerns but still found that there's some fun to be had in the iQ, if only because of its tiny size. We also deemed the Scion to be massively more appealing than the Smart ForTwo.

In addition to the iQ, Consumer Reports has also posted new reviews of the BMW 328i (quicker, more fun), Mercedes C250 (quiet, more refined), the Chevrolet Malibu Eco (comfortable, lackluster) and Camaro Convertible (quick), Dodge Challenger (better handling) and the Fiat 500C (agile but choppy ride).

Read the full Consumer Reports press release below.
Show full PR text
CONSUMER REPORTS FINDS SCION iQ NOT SUCH A WISE CHOICE

Classic rivals face-off: BMW 328i beats Mercedes C250 in a close contest

YONKERS, NY- Consumer Reports tests of the tiny Scion iQ found it to be slow, uncomfortable and noisy, among other drawbacks. With a road test score of 29, it joins the ranks of the lowest-scoring cars Consumer Reports has tested in recent years.

At only 10 feet long, the new iQ is slightly bigger than the tiny Smart ForTwo, which is also among the lowest-scoring cars Consumer Reports has tested. Unlike the Smart, a token rear seat adds some flexibility, but it is very small and takes up almost all of the iQ's luggage space when in place. Consumer Reports testers found its choppy ride, noisy cabin, and uncomfortable driving position severely limit its appeal.

"While the iQ's fuel economy is good within its class, it requires drivers to endure a lot of trade-offs just to save at the pump. Its $16,205 sticker price is no bargain either," said David Champion, Sr. Director of Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center.

Among the iQ's few high points: Its stubby body gives it an amazingly tight turning circle, making it easy to park and best suited to urban driving. And its 34 mpg overall helps out at the pump.

Consumer Reports' latest tests also include a face-off featuring one of the auto world's greatest rivalries: The BMW 3 series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sport sedans. Redesigned for 2012, the BMW 328i beat out the updated Mercedes C250 by only one point in CR's road test scores: 86 vs. 85. Each car now comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine instead of a six-cylinder as its base powertrain, following an increasingly popular trend towards better fuel economy. Both are improved over the previous models Consumer Reports tested, but they still score below the Infiniti G37 in this category.

The 328i is quicker, handles better and is more fun to drive, although its steering is less communicative than in the previous model. And CR recorded an impressive 28 mpg overall, easily the best fuel economy in the class. But the C250 is quieter and provides a more refined powertrain and simpler controls. Each car provides taut, agile handling, with little body lean and high cornering limits.

Also tested: The redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco has a mild hybrid system that delivered 29 mpg overall, beating all conventional (non-hybrid or diesel) family sedans in Consumer Reports' tests. Highlights of the Malibu Eco include a comfortable ride, a quiet and well-finished cabin, and straightforward controls. But it has uninspiring handling, low cornering limits, and a tight rear seat for this category. Its overall road test score of 76 is lackluster among midsized family sedans. While the hybrid Eco version was the first of the redesigned Malibus to go on sale, two conventional four-cylinder engines come later.

CR also tested three stylish and sporty cars for summer: the V8-powered Chevrolet Camaro convertible and Dodge Challenger R/T coupe, and the sleek, if tiny, Fiat 500C drop-top. Though each delivers on fun driving, none is an overall standout in its category. The Camaro and Challenger are modern muscle cars, reminiscent of another era. The Camaro is very quick with excellent brakes and sharper steering than previously tested Camaros. Recent handling changes have improved the Challenger's steering and body control. But overall, they both fall short of the Ford Mustang GT coupe and convertible that CR previously tested. The Fiat 500C has agile handling, impressive fuel economy at 34 mpg overall, and a clever top design that can open as a huge sunroof or can be fully lowered. But it has a choppy ride, cramped driving position, and slow acceleration.

Among this group of tested cars, only the Dodge Challenger is Recommended by Consumer Reports because it scores high enough and has above average reliability. The BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz C250, Chevrolet Malibu Eco, and Camaro convertible are still too new for CR to have reliability information and the Scion iQ and the 500C scored too low to be Recommended. To be Recommended, a vehicle must perform well in CR's battery of tests, have average or better reliability in CR's Annual Auto Survey and perform well in government and industry crash tests.

The full report and road test results on Consumer Reports' latest tests are available on www.ConsumerReports.org on June 26th and in the August issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands July 5. Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to Website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information. Check out CR's ongoing Twitter feed at @CRCars.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 83 Comments
      Brett
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would be totally on board with the iQ if it had a manual transmission and got 40 mpg, but as it sits, there's more fun to be had behind the wheel of a Fiesta.
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brett
        The US spec iQ sadly does not get the 6 speed manual, 1.0 petrol, 1.4 diesel, push button start, stop-start functionality and electronic climate control features of European and Japanese spec models. But that may change hopefully. By the way, it's easy to get 40mpg from an iQ.
      chonnes
      • 2 Years Ago
      If one could drive this car off the lot for $10,000 - $12,000, it would be a sales hit with no competition. Priced at way-too-close to $20,000 and it doesn't make as much sense. I'm sure that this car has a purpose and can fulfill what is expected of it, however it seems that the marketing and accounting departments at Toyota weren't on speaking terms with other.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        The iQ is considerably better than the ForTwo, actually. Much, much better driving dynamics out of town, and even the CVT gearbox is much easier to live with. Shame Americans can't opt for the 6-speed manual 'box.
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      Doesn't really matter. It's their take. Just like AB has theirs and C&D as well. C&D is great for a lot of us, but they test everything against BMW. CR also rated the Wrangler extremely low for years (as of last year, haven't seen this year's) because it's "noisy" and "jittery" and "unrefined." Frankly, I don't see a real Wrangler being any other way. It does what it's supposed to do and does it well. I still think the IQ has its place, but no, it's not on the highway and not for long trips. My personal wish is that someone will test vehicles based on their goal/target, whether its performance, family hauler or offroad, etc.
      rllama
      • 2 Years Ago
      But Top Gear told me that the iQ was quieter and had less internal vibration than the Skoda Roomster or the Alpha MiTo? Is the US iQ somehow louder? James measured the internal vibration in three different axises. Did the iQ make CR's St. Bernard look sad too? I'm just not going to believe anybody anymore.
      QCRamAir
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder what they'd have to say about Aston Martin's iQ... er, "Cygnet".
      chickenflauta
      • 2 Years Ago
      CR writes for the overweight Middle American. It doesn't get city cars, and they don't make much sense anyway for anyone who is going to be driving a lot on the highway. So of course it wouldn't appreciate this vehicle. CR does not write from the perspective of the young, city-dwelling target audience meant for the iQ .
        Zoom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chickenflauta
        Amen. The iQ isn't for interstates. It's for tight, urban streets like Boston's or lower Manhattans.
          LEDfoot
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          Yes it's perfect in cities; after a pileup you don't need tow trucks, just a broom.
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chickenflauta
        Great for the city? So is the bus. Or a bike. Or walking. City cars are slowly becoming obsolete and public transit improves all over the US and Europe. I practically never drive in Vancouver and use my car solely for traffic free late evening and weekend driving as well as highway driving.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      First, if you think CR is independent of the companies they test for, you're dreaming. Second, they seem to have zero metric for 'does this product do what it is intended for well.' You want to know the cabin is noisy? You're practically sitting on the engine. In a Smart, you ARE sitting on the engine. If you have to go two blocks to turn around and the space you are aiming for is taken by the time you get back, a micro turning radius is CRITICAL! Is the Raptor with worst truck ever because it gets terrible mileage and the lift over height of the bed is obnoxious? Could they have put a whiz-bang unobtainium battery, liquid nitrogen cooled, Klingon techno hybrid system in it? Sure! And it would be 35K. They could have saved us the time. 'It's not an Accord, it's lame.'
        Myself
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drakkon
        I fully agree with your second point, there will come a day when they'll complain Miata is not practical as the trunk cannot swallow a 50 inch plasma and that the F-150 is useless on a track day...
      Capt. Slo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another predictable review by a bunch of overweight men in their midlife crisis.
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Capt. Slo
        You just described 90% of the well known auto journalists.
      prighello
      • 2 Years Ago
      This car blows, it's over priced and cheaply made. Scion, aside from the FR-S, has gone down hill. I paid $16K for my first gen tC brand new and look what you get now for more $ now...crap.
        Dark Gnat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @prighello
        Was Scion ever at the top of the hill?
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @prighello
        Makes you feel less masculine is what you're really trying to say. Have to love that superficial American ethos.
          carfan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          aabloke is hurt because he was born a stupid BRIT...
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "IDK how you drew this conclusion from my post or what the hell you're talking about. All I'm saying is this car sucks. A 1992 civic hatch, a 20 year old car, is a better vehicle in every way and would have cost $10k in today’s dollars adjusting for inflation. $17K for this thing is absurd...I might as well roll around in a golf kart which is about as substantial a vehicle." Well, the only cars people your age can afford of course are ... 20 year old Civics, so it's only natural for someone like you to reach that conclusion. And before you comment any further, at least have some experience of the car - you're just making yourself look even more of an idiot.
          The Wasp
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          Day made! Thanks to all who contributed.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "You own the car and are defensive about it we get. However, people are entitled to their own opinions and just because they don't like the iQ doesn't mean they are wrong and you are right. No need for personal attacks...you're making yourself look a fool with all these assumptions about age/income." It's not rocket science to deduce most posters on here are American teenagers; the inane slanderous nature of the comments says it all. "For the record I have been in an iQ and the build quality was inferior to my gen tC, but that's like a lot of new Scions. The xA was a nicer car than the xD, gen1 tC> gen2 tC, etc. BTW, I’m 30 and have owned 10 cars in the past 15 years. Right now I’m driving a 2012 Mazdaspeed3 and before that I drove a 2005 RX-8…this is what people “my” age can afford or better so piss off." For a kick off, the iQ is actually a three year old Toyota. Comparing it to a coupe based on the Avensis is also wrong-headed. The iQ utilises materials of far higher quality than many cars in the A-segment - climb into a VW Fox, Ford Ka, Kia Picanto and even Toyota's own Aygo and you'll see what I mean. So you're in your twenties and you still have the mindset of a 15 year old? As incredible as this may seem in much of the world, in my experience I haven't met many American males who have been particularly worldly, mature, polite, and lacking arrogance. Spend enough time in the States and it comes as little surprise why so many women file for divorce.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          "aatbloke is just hurt because he bought one of these junkers." Hurt! One cannot get hurt by the stupid pedanticity of teenagers. "aabloke is hurt because he was born a stupid BRIT..." Cecil Rhodes said that "to be born English is to win first prize in the lottery of life". When you travel to places like America and witness the divorce rates, SSRI use, levels of bankruptcy, and homocide rates and the manner in which how rude people are towards each other, Mr Rhodes was spot on.
          prighello
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          aatbloke, You’re clearly a troll and a hypocrite. As for your myopic view of Americans, you should show some respect…if it wasn’t for America you and the rest of Europe would be speaking German. Your comments dishonor the memory and sacrifice many young “American males” made to keep your country free.
          prighello
          • 2 Years Ago
          @aatbloke1967
          aatabloke, You own the car and are defensive about it we get. However, people are entitled to their own opinions and just because they don't like the iQ doesn't mean they are wrong and you are right. No need for personal attacks...you're making yourself look a fool with all these assumptions about age/income. For the record I have been in an iQ and the build quality was inferior to my gen tC, but that's like a lot of new Scions. The xA was a nicer car than the xD, gen1 tC> gen2 tC, etc. BTW, I’m 30 and have owned 10 cars in the past 15 years. Right now I’m driving a 2012 Mazdaspeed3 and before that I drove a 2005 RX-8…this is what people “my” age can afford or better so piss off.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is what I've been preaching forever. Most driving in the US is done over highways at speed, and anyone that knows even a little about aerodynamics knows the challenges of creating non-turbulent flow over such a short and tall chassis, and how little effect weight has while cruising. It just really doesn't make sense to get less fuel economy, worse NVH, worse acceleration, worse creature comforts, worse carrying capacity, worse crash test results, worse wind handling, and more all for the gimmicy benefit of being unusually short when your regular Walmart and Supermarkets in the US have gigantic parking spaces that can fit F-150s with ease. I'd much rather have a 41mpg Dodge Dart than this.
        NY EVO X MR GUY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        That is the point. Thank you. Those cars are more for city driving, not highways. I would rather go Honda Fit. I have sat in an IQ and I am 6'1". There is no way (unless you are sadist) that this car is comfortable to drive in. I can see if there was a huge benefit to this car. Such as, huge gas mileage. There are just so many better options out there that this car (at least in my opinion) is not relevant. Also, there are rear seats? Okay, that is enough. If you can convince yourself that this car is comfortable, then I can only be speechless and say "wow, good for you".
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NY EVO X MR GUY
          "Actually, your standards are a bit under par. Other than socialized healthcare, that is about it. Just because YOU purchased an IQ and YOU feel strongly about your purchase, does not mean that car is suitable in all markets. You are right you should cross-shop. That is called Comparing. People compare everything, not just cars. You are definitely running with your blinders on." If you had been bothered to have read my review, you'd know that I said the iQ wasn't for everyone. But there isn't one car that is all things to all men, because they're consumables. No blinkers here - I'm too well travelled for that, or indeed to be talking to someone who has a rose-tinted view of the world. "So to say "Americans treat cars as appliances" is a farce. Americans take pride in what they purchase. Europe cannot be compared to America. America is more diverse when it comes to different cultures and ethnic backgrounds." Which of course explains why just a decade ago, GM in Europe was building the modern mk4 Astra while in America, it was still pumping out the truly awful Cavalier - because Americans love cheap. I recall having this discussion with an executive from the Lordstown plant who actually admitted the product was substandard even when new. You're right with the comparison-making though, because America is such a closed shop when it comes to cars and compared to Europe, has few marques to choose from. "In Europeans live in much smaller spaces then the homes in america. NYC is like that. Cramped apartments, public transportation, dependency on government to make decisions for them, etc." European homes are generally smaller, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with automotive choices or driving habits. Indeed, I know the real estate business in the States quite well and in the 1990s, all that was being built were large palacial homes lived in by people who could barely afford the mortgage but couldn't afford to furnish them. This unscrupulous lending caused the banks to reign in bad debt in 2007 and begin the global economic collapse.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NY EVO X MR GUY
          "So, in short, time will tell when that Scion IQ gives your body a beating on harsh road surfaces, lack-luster gas mileage, sub-par cramped space and god forbid you test out how safe it is against a vehicle 2-3 maybe 4 times its size. Low crash rating government highway safety scores, cheap interior surfaces, poorly priced. Sorry, this car is for a single dude that lives in a cramped apartment that does not have a family. I am sure women would love a ride in that. NOT!!!!" I'm happy with the ride - ideal for commuting, and the fuel economy is impressive around town for a non-hybrid car, helped undoubtedly by its engine braking system. In Europe it has a 5-star crash rating and indeed, if you're in a 40mph impact in a car the size of a 5-series, you're likely to receive fatal injuries. So I don't worry about that and instead concentrate on being aware of my own surroundings - which granted many Americans do not. $16K is more than affordable for anyone with a decent income and credit score (again, rare in America) and anyone who thinks women are impressed by cars is either a) younger than 13, b) older but thinks like someone younger than 13, or c) clueless about life. My US home has three vehicles: the iQ for commuting into the city, a Durango for hauling crap around with, and an e38 for comfortable long family road trips and for use at club meets. But the best advantage I have is that since I am a male but not American, I don't feel insecure, sexually inadequate or unsuccessful by getting behind the wheel of a small car. That's the mindset of American men, and little wonder so many American women throw divorce papers at 'em.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @NY EVO X MR GUY
          That's because you - like Americans in general - treat cars as mere appliances. You'll cross-shop everything and ultimately don't really care what you're behind the wheel of. In Europe, the whole shooting match is different - most people want a product which is designed to be individualistic in addition to the car suiting their needs. But where the biggest differences lies is that we don't treat every car as being all things to all men. When I traded my old car in, I wanted an iQ for the job - nothing else, although I would have considered the ForTwo. Had I have been back home though, I would likely have plumped for either an iQ3 or 500 TwinAir for the role this car plays.
      Lachmund
      • 2 Years Ago
      i don't give a SH** of what CR thinks
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