• Image Credit: Toyota

Introduction

Scion launched a new vehicle recently the New York Auto Show, giving Toyota more arrows in its small-car quiver as it attempts to hold onto its theoretical title of America's greenest carmaker. The tiny little city car is positioned as a premium micro-subcompact for "new urbanites." It's bigger than the famous Smart ForTwo, but it also adds an extra 2 seats. Will it work here?
  • Image Credit: Toyota

4 Seats, Sort Of

The iQ will be the smallest 4-seater sold in America, but the company is playing fast and loose with the number 4. Here's how they come to their conclusion: The front seats are slightly offset, leaving room for one adult in the back as well as space for a child, pet, small package or scale model of an actual 4-seater. The front seats are incredibly thin, too, so those rear passengers can maximize their legroom. The rear seats split in half and fold flat as well. Even though we can't imagine the owner who would do this, Toyota says the rear cargo area achieves the all-American checkmark of accommodating a golf bag with the seats folded flat.
  • Image Credit: Toyota

How Big Is It?

Let's compare this new iQ to the Smart ForTwo, currently the shortest mass production car sold in America. The Smart is 106.1 inches long, 61.4 inches wide and 60.7 inches tall. The iQ is slightly longer at 120 inches long, slightly wider at 66.1 inches across, but shorter at 59.1 inches tall. It's almost as if someone pushed their thumb down on top of the smart, squishing it in all directions and dropping in two extra seats in the process.

Whether or not iQs will be able to slot into parking slots perpendicular to the sidewalk (as the Smart ForTwo does) remains to be seen, but it's unlikely. The iQ is more than a foot longer than the Smart and would likely stick out too far.
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Fuel Economy Expected To Be Good, Not Great

With a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine and a low curb weight (U.S. spec curb weight isn't available, but the Toyota iQ sold in Europe weighs in at 1,896 lbs, or about 90 lbs more than the Smart ForTwo sold here), our partners at Autoblog speculate that fuel economy will be "in the high 30s, which is reasonable but far from overwhelming for such a small package." 30 MPG driving just isn't as impressive for a small car these days when a vehicle like the Ford Mustang can hit 31 MPG on the freeway (to its credit, the Smart ForTwo squeezes out 33 city and 41 highway from its 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine).

Fuel capacity is 8 gallons on the European iQ models (again, no word yet from Scion on the capacity of the U.S. fuel tank), so a total range could be as high as 300 miles but as low as 200 miles with aggressive city driving (which is the type of driving Scion is expecting for most iQ buyers). Until we know specific numbers from Scion, we'll hold out hope these numbers will be higher.
  • Image Credit: Toyota

It's Small, But Aggressive

Where the Smart ForTwo went for cute and child-like in its design direction, the Scion iQ takes another tact altogether. The high beltline wraps around the car and into a very aggressive, angry-looking set of front headlights. The front fascia is cut with all manner of (mostly non-functional) intake openings, giving the appearance of a fire-breathing car that needs all the air it can get. Out back, the smoked rear lenses seem to melt into the sickle-shaped rear quarter glass. Wheels are pushed to the corners, like the Smart (where else are they going to go on a car this small?), but the openings are blistered and sculpted to look wide and muscular. It is a car with a Napoleon complex.
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Packed With Features

Scion is calling the iQ "premium," giving notice that the vehicle won't simply be a cheap city car and nothing else. In keeping with the Scion brand, the audio system is significantly better than what you'd find in comparable vehicles. The iQ will come standard with a six-speaker system, USB and iPod ports and steering-wheel audio controls. The car is also packed with safety features, including 10 airbags (among them: a rear-window curtain airbag and a driver seat-cushion airbag), anti-lock brakes and stability control.
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Popular around the world...but here?

If you've spent any time outside of the U.S. you may have already seen the squat little hatchback. Toyota launched the iQ back in 2008 and sales started in Japan and the United Kingdom shortly thereafter. The European versions get north of 50 MPG, but that figure comes from the diesel model (which Americans will not be able to buy, at least for now).
  • Image Credit: Aston Martin

It's Also...An Aston Martin?

It might be hard to believe but Scion is calling this car a premium micro-subcompact. Americans seem to have a tough time accepting that luxury comes in different sizes, but Europeans sure don't. In fact, a version of the Scion iQ will soon be sold as an Aston Martin. The famous British sports car brand entered into a partnership with Toyota to make a car called the Cygnet, based on the iQ platform. The ultra-exclusive city car will only be sold to current Aston Martin buyers, limited to just 1000 or 2000 cars in the initial production run. Prices for the Cygnet haven't been released, but since you have to own a current Aston to qualify, the total out-of-pocket costs might be somewhere in the neighborhood of an entire lot full of Scion iQs.
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Is America Ready For Another (Really) Small Car?

I remember driving home though suburban Detroit one night in a new Smart ForTwo when a passenger in an old Ford F-100 leaned out the window and asked me if (okay, he basically told me) I was a Shriner. I didn't dignify him with a response. There are still plenty of places in America where the size of your car is seen as an extension of your standing in the world.

How will this new Scion fare? It's difficult to speculate as the company hasn't released pricing as of yet (the on-sale date is still unknown as well, although expect it to sell at some point this year). Our only guess is that given Scion's larger dealer network, the iQ will sell more than Smart sells of its ForTwo (only about 15,000 cars in all of 2009). If gas prices spike, Scion has another small, 30+ MPG vehicle that might tempt buyers.
2012 Scion iQ – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2012 Scion iQ will be priced from $15,995 (including destination charges) when it hits U.S. showrooms this fall. Scion says the iQ's U.S. launch, which has been postponed on numerous occasions due to various issues including the March 11 quake in Japan, will hit the West Coast first in October, followed by southern states in January, then the East Coast and, finally, the Midwest.

In typical Scion fashion, base models are well equipped and there are few options. The mid-level stereo includes Pandora integration, and an up-level version will be available with navigation. As with all Scions, loads of accessories (i.e. springs, body kits and wheels) will be available for the iQ.

For comparison, the iQ's $15,995 price tag means that it's slightly more expensive than both the $15,500 Fiat 500 and the $14,730 Mazda2, both of which offer significantly greater utility. And with fuel economy ratings of 36 mpg in the city, 37 on the highway and 37 mpg combined, it's not the fuel miser something of its size might suggest. Full details in the press blast after the break.

Show full PR text

2012 Scion iQ Premium Micro-Subcompact is World's Smallest Four-Seater
  • 11 Standard Airbags and Star Safety SystemTM
  • Standard Bluetooth® and HD RadioTM Technology
  • Starting at $15,265

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - July 20, 2011 - Scion announced today that its 2012 iQ premium micro-subcompact will begin arriving in dealerships this October. The Scion iQ is only 10 feet long yet seats four people, making it the world's smallest four- seater.
"Scion prides itself on being an innovative brand with a lineup of iconic vehicles that set automotive trends," said Jack Hollis, vice president of Scion. "The iQ is the fourth vehicle in the family, and it will define the premium micro-subcompact segment as the choice for new urbanites who want clever transportation without a sacrifice in style or new features."

Intelligent Design, Not Sacrifice
Meeting the needs of a new trendsetting generation of urban drivers, the iQ succeeds at taking big ideas and concentrating them into a small package. Made possible by intelligent and functional packaging, the iQ is a small car that offers the functionality and comfort that drivers expect from a car twice its size.

Instead of sacrificing features or comfort to reduce its footprint, the iQ relies on intelligent design. Six engineering innovations are responsible for the iQ's ability to be small in size, but large in capability. A compact front-mounted differential, high-mount steering rack with electronic power-steering, and a compact air-conditioning unit all amount to significant decreases in front-end length. In addition, the iQ is equipped with a flat gas tank housed beneath the floor that reduces rear overhang. Slim-back front seats optimize rear legroom, while the "3+1" offset seating arrangement allows one adult to sit behind the front passenger and a child or small package behind the driver.

Driving Performance of a Larger Car
With a 78.7-inch wheelbase and a unique suspension design – consisting of MacPherson struts up front, and a compact torsion beam rear suspension – the three-door hatchback can deftly maneuver through city traffic. In addition, its overall length of only 120.1-inches, and short front and rear overhangs allows the iQ to fit into virtually any urban parking scenario. Although short in length, the iQ has a wide stance at 66.1-inches, giving it a confident stance that handles like a much larger car.

Small in Size but Big on Safety
All iQs will come standard with the Star Safety System TM, which includes anti- lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Smart Stop Technology brake override. A tire-pressure monitoring system is also standard equipment.

Iconic Styling
The 2012 iQ is equipped with a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 94 horsepower and 89 lb.-ft of torque. It features the latest dual VVT-i, which allows the engine to be efficient, providing a broader powerband yet requiring less fuel and generating fewer emissions.

The engine is paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that helps deliver smooth acceleration and excellent fuel efficiency. The iQ is rated an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II) and achieves an EPA-estimated combined fuel economy rating of 37 miles per gallon, comparable to similar vehicles of its size. In order to be considered a premium micro-subcompact, the iQ comes standard with safety features that drivers expect and demand. The iQ is packed with an industry leading 11 standard airbags, including the world's first rear window airbag. Other airbags include driver- and front-passenger airbags; driver- and front-passenger seat-mounted side airbags; side curtain airbags; driver- and front-passenger knee airbags; and a Scion-first driver- and front-passenger seat-cushion airbags.

The iQ's profile, defined by a strong and high beltline, glides from the large, stout headlamps, up the A-pillar, across the roof and wraps around the rear, emphasizing the iQ's geometric shape. Side mirrors with integrated turn signals accent the clean design and give it a premium look. The rear emphasizes the vehicle's modern style. Trapezoidal lines run toward the wheels, from the hatch to the bumper's rear diffuser-like accent, creating a substantial presence.

The iQ will be available in seven exterior colors, including Blizzard Pearl, Classic
Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Hot Lava, Pacific Blue, Metallic and Black Currant Metallic.

High-Tech Interior
The iQ truly focuses on youth with its all-new standard AM/FM/CD/HD/USB 160-watt maximum output PioneerTM audio system. Standard features for all 2012 Scions include Bluetooth connectivity, which allows both hands-free phone connection and streaming audio capability, and HD Radio technology. Streaming audio allows compatible phone or personal media devices to pair with the audio system and deliver music through the vehicles sound system. The audio system also features an organic electroluminescent (OEL) screen with a personalized welcome screen, iPod®/USB connectivity, Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR), and a subwoofer RCA output.

The USB
The iQ's functional "3+1" seating equates to the world's smallest four-passenger vehicle. The four-seat configuration is made possible because the driver and front-passenger seats are slightly off set.

The rear seats are extremely versatile, featuring a 50/50 split and the ability to fold flat, creating enough storage to accommodate large suitcases. The iQ comes standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, and features a flat bottom that provides additional thigh room. The steering wheel incorporates audio controls to manage the iQ's impressive sound system. The iQ comes standard with a Scion Drive Monitor that displays information like outside temperature, average MPG and an ECO-drive indicator that helps the driver maximize the iQ's fuel efficiency.

Impressive Audio with Standard Bluetooth® and HD RadioTM Technology

port and universal auxiliary (AUX) port are located on the center console, which allows users to listen to their portable music collection through the iQ's four Pioneer speakers.
The optional 200-watt maximum output Pioneer Premium audio system has the same features as the standard Pioneer audio, but it is enhanced with a 5.8-inch LCD touch-screen display, features iTunes® tagging, Pandora® internet radio connected through iPhone®, and six RCA outputs to add external amplifiers.

A Scion Navigation audio system is also available for urban drivers who would like the added convenience of easily finding their way around the city. The 200-watt SNS 200 system has all of the features of the standard and premium audio systems but it adds a navigation system and DVD player that are accessible through an easy-to-use seven-inch touch-screen LCD display. Navigation functions include a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system with comprehensive U.S. and Canada map coverage, plus guidance to millions of points of interest.

All three of the audio systems retain key Scion audio system features such as Scion Sound Processing® (SSP), where listeners can choose from three pre-set equalizer settings, satellite radio compatibility and MP3 and WMA capability. In addition, all units have the capability to adjust the volume control based on driving speed.

Pricing

The 2012 Scion iQ will begin arriving at dealerships on the west coast starting this October. The car will be available in other regions of the country beginning in early 2012. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2012 iQ is $15,265. The delivery, processing and handling (DPH) fee for all Scion models is $730 and is not included in the MSRP. DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

Warranty and Complimentary Scion Service Boost

Like all Scion models, the iQ is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The iQ will also come standard with Scion Service Boost, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles whichever comes first, and three years of 24-hour roadside assistance.

Scion Information

Scion

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