The Scion iM is the anti-car, a four-door hatchback aimed at nailing the wants and needs of the millennial zeitgeist. Millennials mostly want the antithesis of traditional baby-boomer automotive desire. Welcome to the future.

What a change. Boomers have established the automotive ideal for half a century. Today, the oldest boomers are shuffling into their 70s, with creaky joints and bad backs that make a trial of twisting and bending into any car.


The iM has a very distinctive face.

The iM has a very distinctive face.

The ideal boomer ride in 2015 is a crossover or an SUV, with an entry height at hip level and room in the back for grandkids and the tools of an idle retirement, golf clubs, perhaps a bicycle.

A little runabout like the Scion iM is too small and looks too weird for the typical boomer. But not the millennial, or so Scion believes. Scion, a sub-brand of Toyota, exists to define what personal transportation will mean over the next decade.

In the U.S., Scion flogs cars with a "Weird, Right?" ad campaign.

In the U.S., Scion flogs cars with a “Weird, Right?” ad campaign.

The anti-car brand? Scion in the United States flogs cars with a “Weird, Right?” ad campaign. One spot features an inflatable tube man who struggles to hold a coffee in his flopping hands – hands that also point to features like the 7.0-inch touchscreen display and the backup camera.

The iM is, indeed, lined with features designed for the smartphone generation. Of course there is a standard 7.0-inch display audio system with streaming Aha Radio, six speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and steering wheel-mounted controls. All standard, plus a 4.2-inch full-colour multi-information display and more. Bongiovi Acoustics DPS audio, navigation and more are extra. A base $21,165 iM can climb to the mid- or high-$20,000, if loaded. im piano black iM dash im wheel

Millennials run in packs – they are social and want to do and share everything (Facebook, Instagram). So the iM has room for five adults, a cargo bay made useful by the rear hatch and 60/40 split folding rear seats. The generation raised on “play dates” and helicopter parents is safety obsessed. So the iM has eight airbags, a bunch of active safety technologies and even a standard back-up camera.

The cabin is comfortable and as roomy as a Toyota Corolla. Power is adequate from a 1.8-litre four-banger (137 horsepower) that is very efficient (7.4 litres/100 km combined using regular fuel).

Most buyers will add the $825 continuously variable transmission (CVTi-S) which tries to mimic a traditional autobox with seven stepped shift points. For zipping around town, all this is more than adequate.

im flig rear half im rear seats iM logo

As a driving machine, the iM is an excellent smartphone interface and on par dynamically with the latest minivan. That is as intended by Toyota. But if you’re a boomer, shed a tear. The iM is no pony car.

THE LOOK: Two-box hatchback designs can be dull, but Scion’s stylists have done their best to jazz things up with an aerodynamics body package, shark-fin antenna, side fenders, rocker panels, big-ish 17-inch alloy wheels with low-profile rubber. The front honeycomb grille, a big front bumper, angular headlights and LED daytime running lights make the face memorable. At the rear, a spoiler disguises the hatch. The car is memorable, not beautiful.

THE DRIVE: It feels light and quick, and unless you push the CVT tranny hard with aggressive acceleration, the package is more than pleasant for running chores. If you want dynamics in a small car, try a Ford Focus or a Volkswagen Golf.

THE NUTS AND BOLTS: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has yet to rate the iM, but the new iA sedan is a Top Safety Pick+. The iM will do well once tested. The front-drive configuration is good for interior space and fuel economy.

THE CABIN/STORAGE: A success. The seats with white accent stitching fit adults well, visibility is all directions, the piano black dash and leather-wrapped steering wheel are handsome and the materials look and feel very good. The various ways to interface with technology are simple and sensible. Power door locks, mirrors, windows and so on are all standard, as is keyless entry. For full vehicle and package features and specifications, visit or

The IS has modern, high-tech gauges.

The IS has modern, high-tech gauges.THE BRAND: Scion ranks well below average for initial quality with J.D. Power and Associates. The brand is sold in Canada through mini-showrooms that are added on to Toyota’s. In Canada, Scion is small and remains largely unknown.


WHY BUY? If you want a Toyota Corolla hatchback, this is it. Yes, the iM is based on the Corolla hatch sold in other markets, but not ours. It looks very different than its rivals, has lots of standard gear, is equipped to cater to the smartphone set and the drivetrain is efficient.
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder (137 horsepower/126-lb-ft torque).
Transmission: six-speed manual or continuously variable automatic.
Drive: front-wheel.
Fuel economy (l/100 km): 8.6 city/6.6 hwy using regular fuel.
Warranty: three years or 60,000 km, with five years or 100,000 km on the powertrain.
Price: $21,165 base; $23,814 as tested, including $1,695 freight and delivery.
Comparables: Fiat 500L, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3 Sport, Kia Forte, Mini Cooper, Volkswagen Golf, Subaru Impreza (hatchback versions, all).

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