The new Scion iQ is the latest vehicle to join the growing list of micro-subcompacts that many auto manufacturers are offering American consumers.
Measuring just 10 feet in length and with the capability of seating four people, Scion is billing the iQ as the world’s smallest fourseat vehicle.
The iQ is a three-door hatchback with a geometric shape and it should give the Smart Car a run for its money. It has a strong, high beltline that runs from the large headlights, up the A-pillar and across the roof to wrap around the rear. Side mirrors with integrated turn signals accent the geometric design.
The iQ is billed as a premium micro-subcompact and it is intelligently designed, with six engineering innovations basically responsible for its ability to be small in size, but large in capability. They are:
• A compact front-mounted differential;
• A high-mount steering rack with electronic power-steering;
• A compact air-conditioning unit;
• A flat gas tank housed beneath the floor;
• Slim-back front seats that optimize rear legroom, and
•A 3+1 offset seating arrangement that allows one adult to sit behind the front passenger and a child or small package behind the driver.
The iQ has a 78.7-inch wheelbase and a unique suspension design of MacPherson struts up front and a compact torsion beam in the rear. The combination allows the little car to maneuver through city traffic much easier than a larger vehicle. The overall length of just 120.1-inches and short front and rear overhangs allows the iQ to slip into virtually any urban parking space. At the same time, the iQ has a wide track of 66.1 inches for solid handling, much like a larger sports car.
The 2012 iQ is powered by a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 94 hp and 89 pounds-feet of torque. It also has the latest dual VVT-i, allowing the engine to operate efficiently and deliver a broader powerband, yet requiring less fuel and generating fewer emissions. The engine is paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) for smooth acceleration and excellent fuel efficiency of 37 mpg.
The iQ comes standard with safety features that consumers expect and demand. It has 11 standard airbags, including the world’s first rear-window airbag, along with driver and front passenger airbags; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags; side curtain airbags; driver and front passenger knee airbags, and (a Scion first) driver and front passenger seat-cushion airbags.
All iQs have the Star Safety System, which includes anti-lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Smart Stop Technology brake-override. A tire-pressure monitoring system also is standard equipment.
Pricing on the Scion iQ starts at $15,265.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.