Gas prices are currently rising nationwide and the prices of new and used cars are higher than they have ever been. But what if you live in the city and need a small, fuel-efficient car that can dart in and out of parking spaces while returning good gas mileage numbers? In that case, a Scion IQ could work for you, but just note that it’s one of the lowest-scoring cars that Consumer Reports ever rated.
What is a Scion IQ?
The Scion IQ was Toyota’s quirky answer to microcars like the Smart Fortwo and the Mini Cooper. The IQ was produced from 2012 to 2015, and its two-door, four-seat configuration sounded great on paper but lacked a lot of real-world practicality. And while passing power and acceleration weren’t its strong points, the IQ’s fuel economy figures (kind of) made up for its shortcomings.
We say that because the tiny IQ was powered by a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that produced 93 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque. Yes, that’s a tiny amount of horsepower, but considering the car is only 10-feet long and weighs 2,172 pounds, you would think that amount of power should be sufficient, right?
Not really. According to Car and Driver’s testing, the Scion IQ was able to go from 0 to 60 mph in a very slow 9.6 seconds. It wasn’t exactly a pocket rocket, but at least it was able to achieve 36 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway according to the EPA. However, that wasn’t quite good enough for Consumer Reports.
Why did Consumer Reports give the IQ a low rating?
Consumer Reports is one of the most revered publications when it comes to rating and reviewing products, especially cars. The publication’s rating system is highly regarded as it rates various aspects of each car in order to give fair and accurate reporting. As such, every model year of the Scion IQ was rated poorly (one out of five) when it came to major categories like acceleration, ride, noise, rear-seat comfort, and cargo area.
According to Consumer Reports’ road test of the Scion IQ, it was noted that the car is “slow, noisy, and uncomfortable,” while its “only redeeming qualities are its 34-mpg fuel consumption and amazing urban maneuvering and parking capabilities.” They also pointed out that the car’s slow acceleration and numb steering take the fun out of any equation. When it came to highway driving, the IQ didn’t score any major points as Consumer Reports pointed out that the car feels “nervous” and its ride is “stiff and jittery,” given its short wheelbase.
On top of it all, the Scion IQ wasn’t very practical. While there was plenty of room up front for the passenger and driver, the rear seat was so cramped that there’s almost no possible way to fit a human back there. And with the rear seatbacks folded up, cargo room was virtually non-existent. Folding them down revealed a small amount of space, but the headrests need to be removed to do so.
Does that mean that the IQ was a terrible car?
Technically, no. I was able to test the Scion IQ when it first debuted in 2012 and I was impressed with the car’s smooth CVT transmission and small size. Yes, it was slow and its interior quality wasn’t the best. However, the car did drive a lot better than a Smart Fortwo and served its purpose as a glorified golf cart that excels in densely packed city environments.
Ultimately, I would recommend the IQ to anyone that’s looking for a tiny car to run errands in every day. But it’s definitely not suited for long drives. The good news is that you can currently find used Scion IQs selling for less than $10,000, which is great for times like this when gas prices are soaring and the used car market is at a high point.