For August, the trendy 2012 Scion iQ goes under the magnifying glass as part of the Car Guide’s monthly mechanical inspection. In addition to the usual criteria, our team will also try to answer the question on everyone’s minds: How can a car as small as the Scion iQ accommodate four passengers? As always, we headed to Nicolas Demers’ garage in Saint-Étienne-de-Lauzon, Quebec, to get up close and personal with this eye-catching little speedball.
Tight in back
Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go: the rear seats are microscopic. Sure, you can squeeze two adults back there, but we bet you can’t take them for an afternoon drive without hearing a few complaints about the lack of space. It’s even tight for two kids, and don’t even think about adding two extra seats. Essentially, the iQ can really only carry three adults, as the seat behind the driver is practically useless. But despite this shortcoming, Scion is boasting that this is the smallest four-seater on the market.
Good things in small packages
As soon as we rolled this vehicle into the garage, the mechanics were excited to take a look at what lay beneath its miniscule exterior. They crowded around the iQ and were quickly joined by all the clients who happened to be on site. Unfortunately for us, the iQ is not all that different from the other cars currently on the market. What is striking about this vehicle, however, is just how small the mechanical parts are, including the wee 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine. But all the usual parts of a standard vehicle are there (ABS brakes, CVT transmission, air con, full-size battery, power steering and independent front suspension) and it offers a solid and reassuring ride – surprisingly so for such a small car.
One thing any good mechanic will notice is how accessible all the mechanical components are. On the Scion iQ, everything is obviously packed in tight, but the parts are easily accessible nonetheless. Getting to some of them requires a bit more effort, but in general, everything is well laid out for quick and efficient maintenance. What’s more, parts that tend to require special attention are clearly marked. Meanwhile, the windshield and dashboard are almost directly above the engine compartment, thereby reducing the size of the hood and hindering access to the engine.
A job well done
More praise for the layout of everything under the floor. No detail was missed, aside from the front oxygen sensor, which is positioned a little too low. There is even an ultra-slim fuel reservoir between the suspension and exhaust.
On the road, the iQ performs quite well, despite its size. The small suspension has the traditional Macpherson configuration in front and a torsion bar in back. The turn radius is very short as the steering tie rods are positioned quite high on the shock absorber.
The photos give you a detailed view of what the Scion iQ is made of. Toyota products are known for their reliability, and this newcomer is probably no exception. At the end of the day, this car is well made from a mechanical standpoint.