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2016 Scion iA

$10,019 — $15,563 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
35 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 1 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Maneuverability
  • Cabin design
  • Multimedia system
  • Fuel economy
  • Features for the money

The Bad

  • Garish grille
  • Small backseat
  • Touch-screen is disabled when car is moving
2016 Scion iA exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2016 Scion iA
  • New for 2016, Scion's first sedan
  • Subcompact based on the Mazda2
  • Manual or automatic transmission
  • Low-speed pre-collision system standard
  • 7-inch multimedia screen standard

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

From the 2015 New York International Auto Show, Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2016 Scion iA.

by Jennifer Geiger -

The 2016 Scion iA is not your average subcompact sedan: nimble handling, class-leading fuel economy and robust safety features put it a cut above the rest.

Toyota's youth-oriented brand hasn't exactly achieved cool-kid status lately. With an aging lineup that includes a few duds, Scion is losing its edge. Enter the new-for-2016 iA. While not as mold-breaking as some of the brand's past vehicles, the sedan is pleasant and should appeal to shoppers looking for a little something special in the no-frills subcompact sedan class.

The iA is the brand's first sedan and competes with the Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic. Compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
When you turn the iA on, the multimedia screen flashes a sketch of a chiseled, coupe-like apparition with curves outlined in beams of light. This is more than a little aspirational. In person, the iA is less dazzling.

In profile, it blends in with the rest of the class. Its face, however, could stop traffic — and not in a good way — with a huge, hexagonal grille and stabbing, angular headlights. It should look a little familiar: The iA shares the new 2016 Mazda2's platform (on sale overseas but unavailable in the U.S.) and even borrows its shark-nose face — or in this case, its angry fish face.

How It Drives
On paper, the powertrain looks puny, but the iA has decent zip in this modestly powered class. Power from the 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder is sufficient ...

by Jennifer Geiger -

The 2016 Scion iA is not your average subcompact sedan: nimble handling, class-leading fuel economy and robust safety features put it a cut above the rest.

Toyota's youth-oriented brand hasn't exactly achieved cool-kid status lately. With an aging lineup that includes a few duds, Scion is losing its edge. Enter the new-for-2016 iA. While not as mold-breaking as some of the brand's past vehicles, the sedan is pleasant and should appeal to shoppers looking for a little something special in the no-frills subcompact sedan class.

The iA is the brand's first sedan and competes with the Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic. Compare them here.

Exterior & Styling
When you turn the iA on, the multimedia screen flashes a sketch of a chiseled, coupe-like apparition with curves outlined in beams of light. This is more than a little aspirational. In person, the iA is less dazzling.

In profile, it blends in with the rest of the class. Its face, however, could stop traffic — and not in a good way — with a huge, hexagonal grille and stabbing, angular headlights. It should look a little familiar: The iA shares the new 2016 Mazda2's platform (on sale overseas but unavailable in the U.S.) and even borrows its shark-nose face — or in this case, its angry fish face.

How It Drives
On paper, the powertrain looks puny, but the iA has decent zip in this modestly powered class. Power from the 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder is sufficient from a stop and builds steadily on the highway; credit the prompt automatic transmission's smooth, well-timed shifts. Unlike many of its rivals, it never feels slow — even with a couple passengers onboard. A six-speed manual is standard, and the six-speed automatic is an $1,100 option.

Fuel economy leads the class. Automatic models are rated 33/42/37 mpg city/highway/combined, much higher than the base automatic sedan versions of the Versa (30 mpg combined), Fiesta (31 mpg combined) and Sonic (28 combined), though an optional continuously variable automatic transmission bumps the Versa's mileage to an impressive 31/40/35 mpg.

Automatic-transmission models are equipped with a Sport mode that's hit and miss. From a stop, the iA amps up launch response for more pep, but it holds lower gears too long on the highway, making for loud, awkward transitions.

It's delightful to drive around town with nimble handling and slick maneuverability, easily slipping into tight parking spaces. It's also comfortable on the highway, with precise, nicely weighted steering and admirable road isolation. The ride is firm, but not disturbingly so. Bump absorption is good, and wind and road noise levels are low.

Interior
The cabin is handsome and again evokes Mazda in both design and materials, with the dash's sweeping horizontal lines broken up by circular vents that visually pop. The black-on-black palette is pepped up with subtle blue contrast stitching on the dash and door panels, complementing the geometric-patterned blue cloth seat inserts. Scion nailed the understated, sporty vibe (as Mazda often does).

But lest we forget, this is a relatively affordable subcompact car, and cheapness lurks in a few areas — elbows were apparently the target of much of the scrimping. Most annoying: There are no inboard armrests for the driver or front passenger, and the tops of the doors (where you might want to rest your arm) are made of hard, uncomfortable plastic. Lastly, the sun visors don't extend or slide.

The Nissan Versa demonstrates that just because a car is subcompact, its backseat doesn't have to be. The Scion iA's backseat, on the other hand, is very much subcompact. By the numbers, there's 34.4 inches of rear legroom, much less than the Versa sedan's 37.0 inches. The Ford Fiesta trails with only 31.2 inches of rear legroom.

Though there are seat belts for three rear passengers, fitting even two will be a challenge. Headroom and legroom are in short supply, and the narrow middle position is further hindered by a big floor hump, rendering it unusable for anyone out of kindergarten.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Front and center is a standard 7-inch display that rides high on the dash for excellent visibility and is an easy reach for the driver. It's a touch-screen when the car is stationary, but a console knob is required to control the system when in motion — just like the Mazda system, which this clearly is. It's counterintuitive given, in my estimation, using the knob pulls more focus from the road and requires extra steps to do some functions. Another annoyance: The audio volume dial is next to the control knob, which is an awkward reach from the driver's seat. Standard steering-wheel audio controls help, however.

On the upside, the menu structure is logical, and I appreciated the controller knob's buttons. Clearly marked with back, home and star icons (the latter for favorite presets), they flatten the system's learning curve.

Large climate controls under the screen are also clearly marked and comfortably placed.

Cargo & Storage
In front, there's a large bin with well-placed jacks handy for device-charging (two USB ports, one 12-volt and one aux input), plus two cupholders.

The iA's trunk is small but deep, though its hinges intrude into the cargo area. Cargo space is midpack compared with the rest of the class. With 13.5 cubic feet of space, it's bigger than the Fiesta (12.8), but smaller than the Versa and the Sonic (both 14.9).

Two trunk-mounted levers or seatback-mounted buttons fold the seats easily for more space, though they don't fold very flat.

Safety
When it comes to safety performance and features, the iA's resume is impressive. It's an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus, the agency's highest designation. It aced all the IIHS crash tests and received an Advanced rating in front crash prevention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet tested the iA.

A precollision system that alerts the driver to an impending low-speed forward crash and automatically applies the brakes is standard. Many subcompact rivals don't offer this equipment, even as an option. A backup camera is also standard. Click here for a full list of safety features.

Value in Its Class
The iA starts at $16,495 including a destination fee, which seems expensive considering its rivals start anywhere from $1,000 lower (Fiesta and Sonic) to nearly $4,000 lower (Versa). Unlike many other subcompact sedans, though, the iA comes in one trim level, and it's loaded. Aside from the safety features, other standards include Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free phone connectivity, keyless entry with push-button start, two USB ports, a 7-inch touch-screen multimedia system with voice recognition and app integration, and a 60/40-split folding backseat.

Animated road manners, a contemporary cabin, and plentiful safety and convenience features make the iA one of the most engaging subcompact sedans on the market.

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Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.3
14 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.1)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Great Ride

by MichaelDC from Washington, DC on October 7, 2018

This is great on gas mileage and has an amazing sound system. The best thing about it is the apps and the technology it uses. Read full review

(5.0)

Very reliable car

by Whitney1116 from Nashville, TN on May 26, 2018

This car me lets all of my needs and is very fun to drive! The gas mileage is great! I love the blue tooth also. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2016 Scion iA currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2016 Scion iA Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
marginal

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
good
Structure and safety cage
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Scion

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    24 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    7 years/less than 85,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12, 000 miles

  • Powertrain

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    160- or 174-point inspections

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2016 iA Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The iA received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

D

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

C
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker