2016 Scion iM is the Affordable Compact Hatch, But It Isn’t Cheap

The 2016 Scion iM is all-new for this model year and it’s a stylish, well-considered little hatchback with a price tag that won’t require a second job. It’s roomy inside, has plenty of cargo space, and it can easily be parked downtown. Everything a five-door should have.

Quick Specs & Info


2016 Scion iM Class: Compact 5-door
Base Model As Tested: w/ Options
Powertrain 1.8L 4cyl, 6spd manual Powertrain 1.8L 4cyl, 6spd manual
Base MSRP $18,460 MSRP as tested $19,594


The good looks and versatile nature are high points, but the drive dynamics leave a lot to be desired. If you have a love of driving, then the iM won’t be for you. If you like an upscale interior experience and good comfort for the class and price, though, that might make it up for you. The Scion iM rings in at a much lower price point than more fun-centric hatchbacks (which are less versatile) and only a bit higher than the segment’s lowest-priced offering. For about $20,000 or so, you can get a very well-outfitted 2016 iM.

2016 Scion iM 64Although the 2016 Scion iM is all-new for this year, it’s not as untried as many other brand new models. The underpinnings of the Scion iM are the Toyota Matrix and Corolla, both well-vetted vehicles. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (137 horsepower, 126 pound-feet of torque) is straight out of those two cars as is the continuously variable transmission (CVT) option and the six-speed manual standard transmission. We drove the manual and would highly recommend this if you’re a driving enthusiast needing a low-cost, versatile commuter. Otherwise, the CVT is a good choice for convenience.

As is true with most Scion vehicles, there is one trim package for the iM and it’s including just about everything. Those 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, automatic headlights, and power-folding heated side mirrors are all standard. So are full power accessories, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, split-fold rear seats, and a rearview backup camera. The 7-inch touchscreen interface with Bluetooth connectivity and six-speaker stereo in HD is also standard equipment. Some dealer upgrades are available if you must have navigation, ambient lighting, and other accessories.

2016 Scion iM 72The EPA gives the 2016 Scion iM a rating of 31 mpg combined with the manual transmission, scoring 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The CVT ups this to 32 mpg combined with 28 in the city and 37 on the highway. These are realistic figures in our experience with the car.

We really like the interior of the Scion iM as well. The seating is well-done and adjustable, the second row is larger than expected with pretty good room, considering that this is a compact car. The cargo space is wide and easy to load at 20.8 cubic feet with the seats up. Those seats are a 60-40 split-fold, so you can get a lot of gear in this car if you must.

Out on the road, the 2016 Scion iM drives much like the Toyota Corolla, which is sluggish and fairly loud. Thankfully, the “shifting” faked by the CVT in the Corolla is unfelt in the iM, saving that hokey feeling. The iM also has an excellent road suspension, which absorbs most road imperfections without becoming spongy. That’s something many in this segment cannot say.


The key competitors for the compact hatch category are the Mazda3, the Volkswagen Golf, the Ford Focus, and the Kia Soul. We’d recommend shopping all of these, especially the Mazda and Kia, as options against the iM.

Strong Points

  • Great price for the accouterment.
  • Well done interior with comfort and quality.


  • Weak powertrain with a sluggish drive.
  • Fuel economy is only average for the segment.


All together, the comfort, versatility, and excellent pricing of the 2016 Scion iM make it a budget-conscious winner in our book. An excellent compact hatchback for the price.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The Scion iM was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, 125 miles were put on the car in varied driving conditions.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.