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2012 Scion iQ Review

The 2012 Scion iQ’s small size makes it a great urban runabout, according to reviewers, but most rivals offer a more enjoyable driving experience and a more spacious, comfortable interior.

Pros & Cons

  • Easy to maneuver in tight spaces
  • Noisy CVT makes driving dull
  • Cramped back seat




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 6.3
Interior: 6.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.6
Safety: 8.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Scion iQ Overview

Reviewers had mixed opinions on the iQ’s standard four-cylinder engine. Some were pleasantly surprised that the iQ feels quick and has plenty of power to keep up with traffic, while others simply thought the iQ is slow. The iQ achieves 36/37 mpg city/highway, which is fairly good for the class, and slightly better than the fuel economy of one of its closest competitors, the Smart ForTwo. The biggest gripe reviewers had with the iQ was with its continuously variable transmission, which several criticized for being noisy and sapping any fun from the driving experience. For a small car, reviewers were generally pleased with the Scion iQ’s day-to-day performance through city streets. They appreciated its small turning radius, which makes parking and maneuvering in tight areas easy. Reviewers added that the iQ has communicative, accurate steering.

Reviewers said the iQ’s cabin is constructed with quality materials, and that the four-seat iQ offers front seats that are reasonably comfortable. However, many test drivers said that the iQ’s back seat isn’t spacious enough to be comfortable. Standard features include a four-speaker stereo with HD Radio, a USB port and Bluetooth. Available features include satellite radio and navigation, as well as an upgraded stereo system. The iQ offers 3.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, or up to 16.7 cubic feet with the seats folded. Both figures are extremly small for the class.

See the full 2012 Scion iQ specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The Fiat 500 is also a small hatchback with more back-seat and cargo space, as well as a better safety score. Additionally, a high-performance variant called the 500 Abarth is available, which reviewers liked for its peppy engine and sportier handling.

The Chevrolet Sonic is also slightly larger than the iQ, and its four-door body style may make it a better choice if you regularly have back-seat passengers. The Sonic also has more cargo space than the iQ.

Compare the iQ, 500 and Sonic »


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