Pardon the pun, but the 2012 Scion IQ is a smart buy. This feature loaded premium micro-subcompact four-seater starts at just $15,265.
The Scion iQ is only 10 feet long, making it the world’s smallest four-seater, but it’s big on safety and technology — including the world’s first rear window airbag — plus other functionality and comfort unusual in a car this size or price. It begins arriving in dealerships in October.
Scion IQ space saving and engineering innovations — A compact front-mounted differential, high-mount steering rack with electronic power-steering, and a compact air-conditioning unit allow the front end to be shorter. Also, the iQ is equipped with a flat gas tank housed beneath the floor, which reduces rear overhang, and slim-back front seats optimize rear legroom. Although, let’s be honest — the back seat is no place for anybody the size of an NBA or NFL player.
Scion IQ Driving Performance — With a 78.7-inch wheelbase, MacPherson struts up front and a compact torsion beam rear suspension, the three-door hatchback is easy to maneuver in city traffic, and cushions the potholes. Perhaps more importantly, the short length allows it to fit into virtually any parking space with room to spare.
Scion IQ Fuel Efficiency — The 2012 iQ is equipped with a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder 94 HP engine and 89 lb.-ft of torque. The latest dual VVT-i technology allows the engine to be more efficient and generate fewer emissions. The engine also is paried with a CVT — or continuously variable transmission — that smooths acceleration, which further increases fuel efficiency. The IQ is so green that it has achieved ULEV-II certification, which isn’t easy to get. It’s rated at 37 mpg combined city and highway.
Scion IQ Safety — The iQ is packed with an industry leading 11 standard airbags, including the world’s first rear window airbag. Other airbags include 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. In addition, such safety features as anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and Toyota’s patented Smart Stop Technology brake-override are standard equipment.
Scion IQ Interior Features — Rear seats feature a 50/50 split and the ability to fold flat, which creates enough storage for large suitcases. The iQ comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity, HD radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching, and the a flat bottom that provides additional thigh room. There also are steering wheel controls for the audio system, and a dashboard display system with information including outside temperature, average MPG and an ECO-drive indicator that helps you maximize fuel efficiency.
Scion IQ Warranty — Like all Scion models, the iQ is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The iQ will also come standard with a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles whichever comes first, and three years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
As I said — the IQ is a smart buy. Other best 2012 cars under $20,000 include the 2012 VW Beetle, 2012 Ford Focus, and the 2012 Nissan Versa. Click here for a full listing of all EcoReport reviews of best cars under $20,000.