The 2023 Scion iA is a compact sedan available in a single but well-equipped trim level. The Scion iA easily meets these requirements but is also packed with features and is highly desirable to own. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition, and entry, cruise control, a low-speed forward collision warning system with automatic brakes, all-electric accessories, tilt and telescopic steering, 60/40 fold, rear seats, and air conditioning.
The Scion iA is not the widest choice though, so if you really want a subcompact to carry things around, you’ll probably be better off with the Honda Fit hatchback. A fun-to-drive attitude and cutting-edge specs are also big selling points for the popular Ford Fiesta, so it might be worth checking out too. But the decision to choose a Scion is an easy one, hitting the sweet spot between economy and quality better than its already strong rivals.
The front is a large bin with well-placed jacks and two cup holders handy for charging the device. The Scion iA’s trunk is small but deep, but its hinges dig into the cargo area. The cargo area is medium-sized compared to the rest of the class. With an area of 13.5 cubic feet, it’s larger than the Fiesta (12.8) but smaller than the Versa and Sonic. Two trunk-mounted levers or seat-back-mounted buttons easily fold the seats for more space, although they don’t fold very flat.
Scion iA Interior
Inside, the Scion iA cabin is handsome and reminiscent of Mazda, both in design and materials, with the broad horizontal lines of the dashboard divided by visually opening circular vents. The black-on-black palette is supported by subtle blue contrast stitching on the dashboard and door panels that complement the geometric patterned blue fabric seat inserts. Scion has captured the understated, sporty vibe. Front and center is a standard 7-inch display that rises to the dash for excellent visibility and is easily accessible for the driver. It’s a touchscreen when the vehicle is stationary, but controlling the system while in motion requires a console button, just like the Mazda system, which is obviously the case.
It’s unreasonable that using the knob would focus more on the road and require extra steps to do certain functions. Another annoyance: The volume dial is next to the control knob, which is difficult to reach from the driver’s seat. That said, the standard steering wheel audio controls do help. On the upside, the menu structure is logical and I appreciated the buttons on the control. They are clearly marked with back, home, and star icons, flattening the learning curve of the system. The large climate controls below the screen are also clearly marked and conveniently located.
Scion iA Engine
The engine of the Scion iA is a 1.5-liter four-chamber motor that produces 106 drive and 103 pound-feet of force. The power is sent to the front wheels via a standard six-speed manual transmission, and a six-speed automatic is available for an extra charge. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 37 mpg combined for automatic (33 cities/42 highways) and 35 mpg combined (31 cities/41 highways) for manual. These numbers are the highest for the class.
Scion iA Safety
When it comes to security performance and features, the iA resume is impressive. It is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Plus, the institution’s highest designation. Successfully passed all IIHS crash tests and received an Advanced rating in front of collision avoidance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to test the iA Scion. A pre-collision system is standard, which warns the driver of an impending low-speed forward collision and automatically applies the brakes. Many subcompact Scion iA competitors do not even offer this equipment as an option, a backup camera is also standard.