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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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RE: a loser
By stephenbrooks on 7/25/2011 10:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
37 miles per US gallon? You've got to be kidding me. In those units* my Jaguar X-type/2.2L/diesel/155bhp gets 34.5 MPG and that's in realistic driving conditions (off the car computer). The real puzzle is how they made the IQ's MPG so bad . You'd only buy this if you had to park in a particularly small space. [* I'm converting from UK gallons, where it's 41.5]

RE: a loser
By Solandri on 7/25/2011 2:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Diesel has about 12% more mass and 15% more energy per gallon than gasoline.

An engineer would be comparing fuel consumption in mass, not volume (that's the way it's done in aerospace). But the public is so used to measuring fuel consumption by volume I guess we're stuck with it. Volume measurements however will exaggerate the efficiency of diesel when compared to gasoline.

RE: a loser
By superstition on 7/25/2011 5:43:54 PM , Rating: 2
Is your calculation based on 10% ethanol gas?

RE: a loser
By Spuke on 7/25/2011 3:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
In those units* my Jaguar X-type/2.2L/diesel/155bhp gets 34.5 MPG and that's in realistic driving conditions (off the car computer).

1. The cars computer is optimistic.
2. The way fuel economy is measured in the US can't be compared to the way fuel economy is measured in Europe. Testing methods are totally different.

RE: a loser
By lawrance on 7/26/2011 1:22:37 AM , Rating: 2
You're slamming 37 MPG? Really? You must not be familiar with what's being sold here in America. We have very few choices for fuel efficient cars here. Probably less than 10 diesel cars to choose from, and basically 1 econo-box from every manufacturer, most of which suck. America loves it's SUV's and 37 MPG combined milage would place that in the top 5 most efficient cars sold here.

I remember traveling to France back in 2000 and seeing Smart cars back then. By the time they reached the US, it was a 10 year old model that looks like it wasn't even updated.

The iQ happens to be a Toyota. It's design is fresh and it's sure to be safe and reliable, (relatively speaking) and the price point is one of the lowest available. Those are the ingredients that sell.

RE: a loser
By Keeir on 7/26/2011 6:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
37 MPG combined from a 2 seat car with no cargo space is not so great.

Maximum PMPG is ~74.

My car might only be 24 MPG combined, but because it seats 4 comfortably, I could go as high as 96 PMPG. (Since I have 5 seat belts I guess that's 120 possible... and I'd still have room for more than 15 cubic feet of cargo)

But this is besides the point. There are cars available that around 2 cents more per mile (TCO over 150,000 miles)
A.) Carry 4-5 people
B.) Carry up to 60 cubic feet of cargo
C.) Still are "stylish"

Heck, there are cars thats TCO is -cheaper- and do at least A.

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