A two-seater "mini-car" similar to the Smart Fortwo, the Scion iQ was manufactured by Toyota. The idea was to create an extremely economical vehicle with a lot of room on the inside that was small on the outside. Amazingly, this miniscule vehicle can accommodate four passengers - but only if the fourth passenger is willing to ride under very cramped conditions. For in-city driving, it's ideal. It's small, goes practically forever on a gallon of gasoline, and is extremely maneuverable - it can be parked easily almost anywhere. For long road trips however, it's not a very good choice.
The iQ was powered by a 1.3 liter, four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that could travel approximately 37 miles on a gallon in city and highway driving. While that is quite impressive, what the iQ lacked was an electric option. That's where the competition, the Smart Fortwo had it beat; the Fortwo is equipped with an electric motor that charges up in 6 hours and is good for 70 miles.
When it comes to the Scion iQ vs Smart Car, the iQ comes with a substantially higher price tag - about $2500 more than the Fortwo. And don't expect a lot of high tech equipment. Like the Ford Model T of the early 20th Century, the Scion iQ is basic, bare bones transportation. It is true that the iQ base model offered a bit more than the Fortwo - it has a touchscreen display, high definition radio and the interface for your iPod is of better quality. It also at least had air conditioning along with powered windows and outside mirrors, as well as keyless entry. However, an onboard navigation system cost extra.
The overall safety rating for the Scion iQ by the National Traffic Safety Administration earning four out of five stars. However, it was never subjected to crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The safety equipment included with the iQ is only basic - seatbelts, antilock brakes and a full set of airbags (11 in all). You won't find anything like blind spot monitors or warning systems for lane departure as you will most newer vehicles today.
Early in 2015, Toyota made the decision to discontinue the Scion iQ. Part of it was due to Toyota phasing out its Scion division. However, the fact is that there really wasn't much demand for the vehicle. In 2013, Toyota sold just over 4,000 of them. A year later, after the company started allowing its dealers to order the iQ as customers wanted them, sales dropped to only 2,000. In general, the Scion iQ represented an experiment on Toyota's part, trying to determine exactly how U.S. consumers would respond to such a vehicle. The conclusion: sometimes, the experiments should be left to science.
You can find a used Scion iQ for sale for around $7500 today. The jury is still out on how reliable it is, since the car is driven mainly in the city and drivers haven't put enough miles on them to the point that the develop serious problems. Still, it's a good idea to keep Scion iQ spare parts around, just in case. You can purchase these at substantial discounts through PartsGeek.com, an online auto parts retail outlet with some of the lowest prices around.