Last week as our friends on the East Coast were just learning of the impending Hurricane Irene, we were in sunny Manhattan Beach California for a day of fun with the Scion iQ. The morning started with a brief history of the Scion brand, followed by the introduction of the Scion iQ from Scion VP Jack Hollis. Just as a side note, the iQ is all new to our U.S. readers but for some of our European and Japanese readers, the iQ has been in market as the Toyota iQ for about 2 years. The iQ seem ideal for those two markets but for the urban cities in United States some of those needs have carried over and also part of a new necessity. Urban space and the price per mile is now an important factor in the decision making of new car buyers in tighter cities from those with tighter wallets. There are a number of competing cars in this new category of micro-subcompacts but the Scion iQ comes with wealth of innovations making it a strong competitor.
Scion calls their iQ “small in size, but big in innovation”. Eleven innovations were introduced and all of which added up to a smaller car with a roomier fit. At just 10 feet in length, the iQ is the “world’s smallest four-passenger automobile” with 50/50 fold-flat rear seats. While we didn’t really give this a try, the two rear seats are more appropriate for one adult or two small children. Regardless, having the option is the key here. The price per mile should be a welcoming fact as gasoline prices fade in and out of historic highs, the iQ offers 37 miles per gallon combined, that’s both city and highway miles.
We took the iQ for an hour test drive from Manhattan Beach to Santa Monica and can say it’s a pretty good ride. Comparing to my personal 4 door sedan, the iQ’s handle and performance is some what close but at the same time it was a definite surprise as I had low expectations due to its small size. Another interesting fact in regards to size is the turning radius of 12.9 feet making it a great handler in tight spaces. If you happen to be in a narrow two-lane street, pulling a u-turn here should be quick and easy, potentially not even needing the shoulder.
For those of you interested in checking out the Scion iQ, our friends in the West Coast will be the first to see them this coming October. The Southeast and Gulf States will get them in January 2012 followed by New York and the rest of the East Coast in February 2012. Scion will put the iQ out on a Pure Price philosophy, forgoing the need to haggle or hassle over the price of just under $16,000. Head over to Scion for more details on specs and sign up for availability notices. And for those wondering, we made it back to NYC on Saturday morning to join in the East Coast’s Hurricane Irene preparedness.