What I am about to say might shock you. With any luck, it might even piss you off. But clear your mind for a second; let that mind be free. No, the iQ isn’t here to “change the game” or spark a revolution in the tuning scene; it will, however, change the way you might think about cruising around town. Especially if that “town” happens to be a very big city, say Los Angeles—or any big metropolis, really—and you’re constantly reminded of what a nightmare it is to find suitable parking when you’re gallivanting around it. Our in-house Facebook expert even told us that with a little bit of research marketing conducted on our sister title’s fan page, that most comments eluded to comments such as “hate to be seen in that death trap”, “sucks huge [tail]pipe” (use your imagination with that one) and “how do you have sex in this?” Well, I can tell you with certainty that having sex in an iQ won’t be a problem (The front passenger seat has more room for it to slide forward so you can have more room in the back. What, you think I’m that cool to have done it in one? Not that cool. Yet.) So, believe me when I say: the Scion iQ does not suck.
Another fact that shouldn’t come as a surprise: this thing is slow, and I mean crazy slow. You jam the gas pedal to the ground and keep doing it with the hopes that you’re actually helping it to go faster (along with a manic rocking back-and-forth motion of your body; you know what I’m talking about). It’s slower than your ’94 Honda Civic DX in stock form with all its glorious 94hp. But what were you expecting? Just because there isn’t a lot of room for anything more than its 1.3L to squeeze into doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Get this: in Japan, the iQ is old(er) news. Remember when the original xB came out? That, too, was an existing model in Japan also, as the bB. And what does it mean when cars are already available in the Japanese market? Say it with me: “Aftermarket. Parts. Are. Handled.” Companies such as Fujitsubo, Tein and Blitz (to name a few), already offer easy bolt-ons that will add a much-needed pep to the realm of horsepower. As far as basic driving is concerned, the iQ really does feel like you’re driving a car that’s bigger than what it is. The drivetrain shifts smoothly, and will most likely not be able to handle a lot of power if one’s going to attempt adding a custom turbo or supercharger (hello TRD!). Only time will tell how much modification you’ll be able to do at all since the car’s differential sits in front of the engine/transmission, so hopefully there’s room in the front bumper to do something. We haven’t seen much out of Japan other than exhaust systems.
Styling—well, this one’s easy. The iQ is tiny, your girl will think it’s cute and might even buy one before you do. But like its JDM counterpart, you’re going to see some cool aero coming your way. Not only can you find homegrown body pieces from one of Scion’s partners, Five Axis (who, by the way, has a very aggressively styled kit that we love, not to mention a great set of wheels to boot), but you can also go to Japan and Europe for inspiration. A couple years ago, Toyota Japan displayed a Gazoo Racing iQ Racing Concept (Gazoo is the same team that helped out on the Lexus LFA at the Nurburgring 24-hour race) that features a bumper stuffed with a massive intercooler (yes, this concept gives us hope and that lovely 6-to-midnight feeling we love talking about around the office) that we wouldn’t mind seeing on an iQ in the future. Even the body kit master, Veilside, has their own iQR body kit, which uses a carbon-fiber front bumper and fiberglass side skirts, rear bumper, rear spoiler, widened front fenders and a vented hood to give the iQ a more GT-R vibe—really cool. And suppose you really want to ball out; well, in Europe, the iQ is offered as the Aston Martin Cygnet, which out of the three variants probably has the best looking fenders and hood (there are M3-style vents on the fenders and small vents on the hood). Perhaps a hybrid of parts from all these parts of the world can help create a stunning example of a little car that could…
Ok, ok, so more about this car in stock form. Other than knowing it’s slow and has more potential to look good than anything, I should also point out that moving this thing around town is a breeze. Anyone can drive this, and should. Obviously it’s ideal for situations where you’re tight on space and doesn’t require a shoehorn to pull yourself back out on to the road. The really cool part about the iQ is its turning radius, which, if you want to get super technical, is 12.9-feet. In basic terms, you can crank out U-turns like it’s nobody’s business without having to do much of a 3-point turnaround at all. Perfect for you city folk. And if you’re worried about if this thing packs enough interior space, well, it does. The engineers put the a/c system behind the center console instead of where they’re traditionally placed (behind the passenger side dashboard), which allows the seat to slide up further so you can squeeze someone in the back without crushing their legs and sending their knee caps to their chins. Safety? Pssh—11 standard airbags with the world’s first rear window airbag. Scion’s got your back. Literally.
Anyone out there still thinks the iQ still sucks? We challenge you to think again… especially since this is way outside of the “box”.
That New Car Smell
2012 Scion iQ
The Sticker $15,995 (inc. destination)
Engine 1.3L 1NR-FE 4-cylinder with Dual VVT-i
The Power 94hp at 6,000rpm; 89lb-ft at 4,400rpm
Scale Tipping 2,127lbs
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Continuously Variable Transmission with intelligence (CVT-i)
Footwork & Chassis MacPherson strut front suspension; inverted torsion beam rear suspension
Brakes 10" vented front disc brakes; 7.1" rear drum brakes
Wheels & Tires 16" steel wheels (with your choice of two wheel covers); 175/60R16 all-season tires
At The Pump 36(city) / 37(highway) / 37(combined)
The Competition Smart Car, Fiat 500, Mini Cooper
Deep Thoughts While this platform is new only to North America, the iQ, much like the xB before it, brings a certain sense of cool back to the marketplace. It has the potential to capture the hearts of consumers with its unique styling and potential for fun.