On paper, the specs for Scion’s new minicar, the iQ, don’t seem all that impressive. It delivers decent fuel economy (37 mpg combined), but it’s not that much better than the similarly priced Ford Fiesta, which is imminently more practical. It’s not even close to the lowest priced car on the market, since the new Nissan Versa sedan undercuts it by $5,000 in base trim. It comes well equipped, but so does the new Hyundai Accent, which costs just a few hundred dollars more in range-topping SE trim. Sure, the 2012 Scion iQ is small enough to make a Mini seem like an SUV and it’s got the whole cute thing going for it, but will novelty be enough to sell units?
Scion is betting that the answer to that question is “yes.” As any Pulp Fiction fan will tell you, personality goes a long way, and the iQ is chock full of personality. Its diminutive size means you can park it anywhere, and the iQ can actually haul up to four passengers (although linebackers need not apply). It may leave suburban homeowners scratching their heads, but urban dwellers will understand this car perfectly.
Power comes from a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 94 horsepower and 89 foot-pounds of torque. It’s (unfortunately) mated to a CVT gearbox, but that should help with fuel economy and whatever acceleration 89 ft-lb of torque can yield. The iQ may be terrifying to drive on a long interstate highway trip, but it seems perfect for low-speed, short distance urban driving.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: Aston Martin sells their own version of the iQ, called the Cygnet. The price for the Aston Martin version starts at $50,500, but you don’t qualify to purchase one unless you’re already an Aston Martin customer. Scion will sell their iQ to anyone with sufficient cash or credit, whether or not you’re a current Scion owner.
Interested? West coast buyers get first dibs, starting this October. City dwellers in other parts of the country will need to wait until early 2012 to buy their own iQs.