Scion is all grown up. When the brand launched in 2003, it was as if Scion wanted to be the anti-Toyota. You could almost imagine it saying, "We aren't our parents, dude. We're different." Scion's decision to eschew mainstream vehicles was largely successful. The original xA, xB, and tC were affordable, economical, stylish, and – most importantly – different. But the brand's aging lineup couldn't keep the interest of the young, urban buyers it so coveted. Sales suffered severely after the 2009 industry collapse and have failed to return to their 2006 peak. So much like the bearded 20-something that's finally realized an artisanal headcheese startup isn't going to pay the bills, Scion has finally introduced its first truly mainstream model, the 2016 iM. You already know the basics on the iM, courtesy of Managing Editor Steven Ewing's testing in California in June. But since there's little substitute for more mileage and extra time with the car, we ventured out to Michigan's second largest city, Grand Rapids, for a second look. The iM is exactly the kind of vehicle Scion needs right now. Ewing spent most of his time on California's beautiful winding roads, but our second go in the iM was much more sedate, consisting largely of freeway cruising and some city driving. In short, these miles backed up our original assessment: the iM is exactly the kind of vehicle Scion needs right now. But that's not without a few problems. We spent almost all of our drive time behind the wheel of the continuously variable transmission model which, in many ways is better than the six-speed manual-equipped car we originally tested. Toyota's CVT works well; it's on par with the industry's best. The transmission keeps the revs low and responds quickly to throttle inputs, but at the same time, the tach needle is quick to retreat when acceleration isn't demanded. The stepped nature of the CVT is a bit off-putting at first – it feels a lot more sudden on the "upshifts" – but it's easy to ignore. Weirdly, there are no paddle shifters, but you can still pick your "gears" via the floor-mounted shifter. The iM doesn't hate a little bit of fun. We played with the CVT's sport setting, and while we wouldn't recommend using it on a regular basis, we liked the way it kicked up the revs upon corner entry. The engine never felt flat-footed midway through a turn, giving the impression that the iM doesn't hate a little bit of fun. The CVT pairs nicely with the 1.8-liter engine, and its 137 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque are just enough for everyday conditions. Dig into the throttle from a standstill and there's a pleasant wave of torque in the low-to-middle part of the rev range. Unless you really play in the high rpms, the engine sounds smooth and quiet. NVH is par for the course. Scion says the iM returns 28 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the …
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|MPG||27 City / 36 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||137 @ 6100 rpm|
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