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2012 Scion iQ
Scion's tiny iQ gets great fuel economy, but is it too small for American tastes?

With an increasing emphasis being placed on fuel economy these days courtesy of more stringent CAFE guidelines, all manufacturers are looking for ways to boost fuel economy across the board. That means that you will see more hybrids and full-electric vehicles on the road. It also means that you will see more "eccentric" cars like the Scion iQ darting through traffic trying to avoid getting flattened by Suburbans and Expedition XLs.

The iQ is the latest addition to Scion's rather tired an uninspiring “youth oriented” lineup which currently consists of the (xB, xD, and tC). The iQ measures just ten feet in length and slightly resembles the Smart fortwo which has been a sales disaster in the U.S. marketplace. The vehicle features what Toyota calls 3+1 seating: two people can obviously fit up front with ease, but only one full-size adult will be able to sit in the back behind the passenger seat. Unless you're Mini Me or a kid in child seat, don't bother trying to fit behind the driver's seat. 

The iQ is powered by a direct injected, 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine which generates a meager 94 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque. While the engine can't even crack the 100 hp barrier, it only has roughly 2,100 pounds to push around.

The only transmission available is a CVT, so any chances of having fun in the iQ just took a bit of a nosedive with that selection. And acceleration is on the lethargic side with The Car Connection reporting that the iQ reaches 60 mph in 11.8 seconds.

But what everyone wants to know is how does the Scion iQ stack up when it comes to fuel efficiency. The iQ is rated at 36 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway; the combined rating is 37 mpg.

More expensive compact cars like the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Ford Focus SFE, and Hyundai Elantra can all boast highway figures that surpass the iQ, but none can touch its city rating (the three compacts achieve city numbers in the 28 to 30 mpg range while EPA combined is 33 mpg).

With a starting price of $15,995, it closest competitor for fuel economy comes from the ’12 Hyundai Accent GS ($15,355 including destination charge) which can actually seat five and has six times the cargo space with the rear seats up. It is EPA rated at 30/40/33 (city/highway/combined). If you prefer more style, the Fiat 500 “Pop” will run you $16,000 and is EPA rated for 30/38/33 with a manual transmission. 

The Scion iQ will have limited availability on the west coast this fall. A full-scale launch is scheduled for March 2012.



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better than a smart car
By tastyratz on 7/25/2011 8:08:23 AM , Rating: 2
The smart car was terrible, maybe that impacted sales?
This is inexpensive with great city gas mileage. There is certainly a market for this car and I would be curious to see the sales numbers after it launches.

Imagine this bad boy with a diesel in it? I bet for 20k and prius like gas mileage people would line up (if it wouldn't directly compete with their hybrid offering).




RE: better than a smart car
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/25/2011 8:21:06 AM , Rating: 5
I wouldn't call it inexpensive -- this is Fiesta/Fit/Accent price territory. Those cars get nearly the same fuel economy while being a gazillion times more practical.

If the iQ was $10,000, then I'd agree.


RE: better than a smart car
By Omega215D on 7/25/2011 8:40:00 AM , Rating: 4
In NYC, Manhattan mainly, these little smart cars do make sense in that they can fit in tight parking spots, move around tight traffic better and use less fuel doing so.

It's a different story once outside of Manhattan unless the outer boroughs become just as congested.


RE: better than a smart car
By quiksilvr on 7/25/2011 8:49:12 AM , Rating: 3
These tiny cars only make sense if they are cheaper. I understand the complexity of the engineering involved to make such a car, but it's nothing new:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/andy.carter/images/je...

Either the price drops or the sales will.


RE: better than a smart car
By mcnabney on 7/25/2011 11:08:36 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, I was interested in this car for a long time. Now, when it finally shows up, the price is too high and the mileage is just 'meh'. I am thinking Fiesta now. With a manual gearbox it gets 30/40 mpg.


RE: better than a smart car
By Flunk on 7/25/2011 9:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
At this price it's only going to get bought by hipsters and eco-posers, basically the same market as the Smart Car. I can't see many passing up the much more useful Fiesta or Accent, which aren't difficult to park in the least, for a 2 seater with no cargo space at essentially the same price.


RE: better than a smart car
By Omega215D on 7/25/2011 10:04:16 AM , Rating: 2
Not difficult to park but in NYC parking spaces run out quick and some spots are only big enough to fit 2 motorcycles and most of the time just 1.

With these smart cars coming about I have noticed that my motorcycle has some competition in terms of parking space. I've also driven the Ford Fiesta for rallying. It's still bigger than the smart car but undeniably much more fun... of course the car was outfitted with some aftermarket parts so I can't comment on the stock model.


RE: better than a smart car
By YashBudini on 7/25/2011 10:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's a different story once outside of Manhattan unless the outer boroughs become just as congested.

Somehow being in bumper to bumper traffic at 70+ mph on the FDR or the Belt leaves something to be desired, especially when the vehicle riding your rear bumper is something like a Cadillac Escalade.


By inperfectdarkness on 7/25/2011 8:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
16k? maybe for an xA, not an iQ. i'll be looking at a kia rio before i look at an iQ.


RE: better than a smart car
By Samus on 7/25/2011 10:35:48 AM , Rating: 1
People will buy it because its a Toyot....*ahem* I mean Scion.


RE: better than a smart car
By aardarf on 7/25/2011 1:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly.
"...but is it too small for American tastes?"
NO IT IS NOT TOO SMALL. I WANT TO BUY ONE.
"it closest competitor for fuel economy comes from the ’12 Hyundai Accent GS ($15,355 including destination charge) which can actually seat five and has six times the cargo space with the rear seats up."
THIS IS WHY I WILL NOT BUY ONE. For crying out loud I keep getting disappointed when I hear about a new microcar but it can't match a Prius for mileage. Give me something small like this that gets over 40 mpg and/or is $10,000. Or make it a hybrid with better mileage than Prius.


RE: better than a smart car
By vision33r on 7/25/2011 10:00:55 AM , Rating: 3
Diesel does not = prius gas mileage in the real world. I just love how the diesel folks love to promote this misinformation.

Diesel cars do not score well in city traffic and the only time diesels shine is constant driving highway efficiency.

You'll be disappointed when you see diesels gets only 34mpg combined while hybrids get 40mpg+ combined. There's a huge difference. While hybrids can get 50mpg in all city traffic, diesels cannot achieve 50mpg unless it is only highway non-stop fixed speed.


RE: better than a smart car
By mcnabney on 7/25/2011 11:11:22 AM , Rating: 3
In addition, there is a lot of bad data relating to diesels. The MPG numbers quoted are frequently those from the UK which use imperial gallons and that data is compared to the very conservative numbers that are allowed to be published in the US by auto manufactures for current gasoline powered cars.


RE: better than a smart car
By superstition on 7/25/2011 5:39:18 PM , Rating: 1
The same testing methodology rated some diesels higher than the Prius.

Comparing the UK's methodology to the US' is nice and all, but it does not support the notion that the Prius is superior to diesels bar none.

The Prius isn't all that impressive for highway traveling because of its gasoline engine. Diesel has more energy per gallon than gasoline. That's a fact that can't be argued away with confused points about Imperial gallons.

If a Prius gets fewer MPGs Imperial than some diesels (which it does, according to UK testing), then it is being beaten by some diesels.

Yes, if one only drives in the city, it makes more sense to get a hybrid. But, guess what's even more fuel-efficient in the city?

A diesel-electric hybrid.


RE: better than a smart car
By tastyratz on 7/27/2011 10:53:11 AM , Rating: 2
truth
diesel electric hybrid would be the ultimate mileage machine, and we may start seeing them WHEN (not if) gas spikes even more.
Diesel loves to be loaded up and still get good mileage vs gas which under a lead food drops fast. You can tow or zip around carelessly and see a lower drop in mileage vs a gas car.

Also diesel is the advantage here in a small car like this. Where are you going to put the battery pack in the passenger seat? Hybrid does not scale well and will not do for sub sub compacts like this. It adds too much weight and takes up too much space which goes against the small lightweight car premise. A small efficient diesel outfitted with a start stop system would do wonders here. Hell you could turbodiesel a 3 cylinder or something really small even.


RE: better than a smart car
By superstition on 7/25/2011 5:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
The "real world" must mean America, eh?

If you look at the results in the UK, you'll see your points are overstated.

"Diesel cars do not score well in city traffic and the only time diesels shine is constant driving highway efficiency."

Only? America is a vast nation in which many people do a lot of highway traveling.

And, diesels don't just shine in highway travel, they also do quite well in the city if things like stop-start technology are added. You have to look to the UK vehicles to see how good diesel can be.

And, then there is the diesel hybrid, something that negates your entire argument. The only issue with those is the extra cost of a diesel engine. Diesel simply has more energy per gallon than gas.


RE: better than a smart car
By DennonHeim on 7/28/2011 1:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
What made the Smart ForTwo such a terrible car is the same attributes that this car has. Arguably, the Scion IQ is worse.

The ForTwo was an extremely small car with a very low price, but it has weak performance (0-60MPH in 12.8 seconds and top speed of 90MPH) and had terrible fuel efficiency (36MPG combined) despite its small size and the fact that it requires premium gas. With such weak advantages, why would anyone purchase a ForTwo over a similarly priced but superior Toyota/Hyundai/Honda?

The Scion IQ? It has similar body style, MPG rating, and performance, but it has a starting MSRP nearly $4,000 more. Uh...

No, really. Unless you live in an insanely congested city, I honestly don't see the advantage of purchasing a ForTwo/IQ over, say, a Hyundai Accent, Toyota Corolla, or Honda Civic. For the ForTwo/IQ to become more mainstream, it should provide bigger advantages to the common consumers, not just to people living in Manhattan/London.


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