When Doug Murtha, Vice President, Scion, started talking to a group of journalists about the Scion iA it was introduced as Scion's first ever sedan. It quickly became apparent that Scion has heavily collaborated with Mazda to bring out a thinly veiled Mazda 2.
Many companies collaborate on different projects. Mazda is well-respected for their tiny skyactive direct injection engine and 12.0:1 compression ratio. It is a coup for Scion. Scion could have worked with Toyota or borrowed from Lexus, but they went to Mazda for the zoom-zoom factor. The Toyota Yaris will be based on the Mazda 2 and built alongside each other in Mexico. The Scion iA will be built in Japan.
Scion can make a case for bringing out a 1.5-liter engine with an estimated 42 highway mpg that starts under $16,000. Scion told a group of journalists that forty percent of the buyers of the iA were replacing a used, that they had never owned a new car.
The compact sedan segment is a competitive segment filled with great driving vehicles; 2015 Toyota Corolla LE Eco ($18,965) that gets 42 highway mpg, 2016 Ford Fiesta ($14,580) 37 highway mpg, 2015 Nissan Versa ($11,990) 35 highway mpg, 2015 Chevy Sonic ($14,245) 35 highway mpg, and 2015 Hyundai Accent ( $14,745) 37 highway mpg.
The 1.5-liter engine can extract 106 horsepower and has a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions. The sedan is rated by the EPA at an estimated 33 city/ 42 highway/ 37 combined MPG for the automatic version and 31 city/ 41 highway/ 35 combined for the manual.
A vehicle less than $16,000 has few standard amenities. The Scion iA standard amenities include dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry push-button start, 16-inch aluminum wheels, forward-collision warning system, and turn-signal repeaters in the side mirrors, two USB ports, and an Auxiliary input.
Scion had us put this sub-compact sedan through the test; the twisties through the Redwoods and down Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Cruz, CA. The car could use a little lower torque engagement, more on-demand power.
The interior comes complete with cruise control, air conditioning, seven-inch infotainment system screen, and a backup camera. From the Genesis, Scion has been the Burger King of cars, allowing you to customize and accessorize your car. Now Scion has created Pure Process Plus, a process that allows customers to research a car through Scion.com, find a dealership, apply for credit and secure a price, all without leaving the couch.
The MSRP for the 2016 Scion iA is $15,700 for the 6-speed manual transmission and $16,800 for the 6-speed automatic. Add another $795 for delivery, processing and handling fee.