Scion iQ Review

I recently have had the opportunity to visit Tejas Scion for a test drive of Scion’s latest car: the new micro car named the iQ. Ever since I had first seen the concept a few years ago, I have been curious about the iQ. My first thought about the car was that it seemed to be a cross between the Scion xA and the Smart Car. I liked how it looked, especially the wider Five Axis concept, although I wasn’t fond of the yellow color they chose. I think that black would be a much better color for that kit. Every so often I’d check on the progress of the iQ’s concept, mostly just the exterior design, but not as thoroughly as I am following their next upcoming car: the FR-S. Therefore, I really didn’t pay attention that the iQ would be a four-seater car. When I first showed up to Tejas Scion and started looking at the iQ in person, I thought it was a good size micro car with plenty of storage space, considering the size of the vehicle.

Scion iQ – The World’s Smallest Four-passenger Car


When I looked in the backseat of the iQ I spotted some cup holders, with what appeared to be split seats lying flat down. My first thought at seeing the backseat was: Are these backseats even practical to fit more passengers? Since the front passenger seat had no bulky glove box, more leg room was available for the passenger. This extra space made it possible for the passenger to slide the seat forward in order to allow easy access of more passengers in the back.

For short trips I do think the iQ is a practical four-seater car, allowing you to get around with friends when needed. To take a road trip in this micro car, however, I don’t think would be very practical or comfortable unless all the passengers are on the small side. We did have a few groups of 4 drive around in the iQ and these short trips were fine. If you are a single person, or a couple without kids, this may be the perfect micro car for you. If you want a small car to get around the city without the constant need to use the back seat this might be for you. However, if you are a family of 4, and this will be the only car, you may have to think about how long your trips will be.

1, 2, 3, plus the driver

When I sat in the passenger seat on a test drive the seat felt very comfortable, having plenty of leg room, at least while there were no additional passengers in the back seat. Because there is no glove box, there was plenty of room for me to adjust the position of the seat and position my legs. If you need extra storage space, there is an optional storage tray which slides out from under the passenger seat. The test drive, overall, was pretty smooth, and wind noise and other aspects were comparable to other Scions. Everyone was pleasantly surprised with the iQ’s performance, taking into consideration it is such a tiny car.

No glove box, more leg room

Next, I took a turn behind the driver’s wheel and gave this little micro car a spin accompanied by a passenger. Since this car is not a performance machine, pickup was a little sluggish at first. After hitting approximately 40mph, the iQ responded much better at acceleration. I pushed the car up to some higher speeds on the freeway to see how much it would sway, taking into consideration winds and switching lanes. In my opinion it did fairly well. I would suggest, however, taking U-turns slower than 35-40mph; talk about adrenaline rush! We felt like the iQ was going to topple over when we navigated our U-turns at this speed! We were all glad it didn’t topple over-and I really didn’t want to test how fast you can take it through turns either.

After jumping back on the freeway to head back to the dealership, I wanted to test the pickup in the other modes. The “S” mode, which Toyota calls its “Super Drive”, is better in pickup and at slowing down the micro car, but not a huge thrilling difference. Coming to the exit of the freeway, we had a chance to test out the brakes since someone decided to come to a complete stop at the end of the exit ramp! Well, I would have to say that the brakes on this little machine are great!

Overall, the iQ was a nice ride holding some surprises for all of us who came out for the test drive. The small size of this car made it extremely easy to maneuver through tight spaces, gave it a great turning radius, and made it capable of parking in many spaces other cars would not be able to even dream fitting into. Visiting the Houston Auto Show, I did get a chance to see a modified version of the iQ from Jonsibal, which looked pretty good. I can’t wait to see what else is in store as far as modifications are concerned as well as seeing other peoples’ creations!

Check out that turning radius

Special thanks to Tejas Scion for inviting us to the iQ Ride and Drive event as well as the ladies at the Houston Auto Show Scion Booth for allowing me to get some interior shoots of Jonsibal’s modified iQ.


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 3-door hatchback

BASE PRICE: $15,995

ENGINE TYPE:DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection

Displacement: 81 cu in, 1329 cc
Horsepower: 94 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 89 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

TRANSMISSION: CVT-I – continuously variable automatic

Wheelbase: 78.7 in
Length: 120.1 in
Width: 66.1 in
Height: 59.1 in
Curb weight: 2127 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 11.8 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 50.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 18.5 sec

Top speed: 100 mph

EPA city/highway: 36/37 mpg


See more pictures from the Tejas Scion iQ Ride and Drive event here