Scion iQ: The Urban Gent Test Drives the World’s Smallest 4-Seater

Last month The Urban Gent was invited to California along with various other design/art/fashion publications to check out the new Scion iQ, the world's smallest four seater. It was Toyota's first time inviting "the creatives" out to review one of their new cars instead of just the usual auto media. I knew I was in for a great time because c'mon, several days at a luxury hotel in sunny California?! I mean, it was gonna be a good time no matter what. But I'll admit that before learning about the inner details of what makes a Scion a Scion, I would have barely entertained the idea of owning one. Sure, it's a nice car, a few friends and I rented and explored  Puerto Rico in one a few years ago, but to buy one? Idk….

Well, I'm happy to say my uncertainty and one-sided "luxury or old school American car only" type mindset was challenged, my mind was opened and now? I get it. After experiencing the Scion iQ firsthand I totally get the appeal, want, and need to own this obviously-made-for-easy-city-living vehicle.

The Scion iQ press event not only revealed the detailed specifications and innovations of the iQ, but the event  also allowed us to have intimate talks with Scion's top executives and engineers. We learned more about their marketing/advertising features and plans, watched a graphic-filled and entertaining Scion iQ 3D film, and checked out a "live" version of the Scion  iQ Museum Project. The kicker of course is when we cruised to Venice Beach in the iQ of our choice during the test-drive. While the 10-feet long car is incontestably tiny, it is surprisingly comfortable and handles quite well. Not to mention we were able to squeeze into a motorcycle reserved space at one point when pulling over to turn around <— that means parking will never be a major issue in this car.

There's a ton of information I want to give you, but I think it's best if I simplify and straightforwardly write the 4 major takeaways I personally got after being educated and immersed in all-things-Scion.


#1: 37 MPG. Best miles per gallon in the industry. There are a few cars that advertise higher mpg's, but that's almost always after they upgrade and modify the vehicle in some way, like upgrading the tires and such. The Scion iQ comes standard with its combined hwy/city 37 mpg (there's no asterisk mark by it).  But if you include the upgrades of other cars when comparing, the iQ is still 75% more efficient than other hybrid or eco-friendly cars on the market– which is pretty damn good. As for me, well, I tire of spending hundreds a week filling up my tank (17 mpg/V-8 engine/premium gas), so the thought of barely spending in a month, what I currently spend in a week is super sweet.

#2: Pure Pricing. Most cars are advertised as one price, but then you get to the dealership and the pricing varies. So basically before going you have to prepare yourself. You can't just simply enjoy the experience of buying a car, instead you're stressed trying to haggle the salesperson down to the TV price. Scion relieves you of all that, there's one price: $15,995 ( that includes the delivery and complimentary Scion Service Boost maintenance program).  Base price w/o delivery: $15,265.

#3: 11 Airbags. I was in an accident not too long ago, a reckless driver "T-boned" me and my 540i went spinning off the side of the road. My car was able to handle the heavy impact, but I often wonder how a tiny car would prevail in such an accident, and most importantly how the driver would prevail. Scion beautifully addresses this issue by having not 2 not 4 not 6, but 11 airbags. That's more than any car I know of. There's basically an airbag at every angle (including the innovative, world's first, rear-window curtain airbag) to keep the occupant in place during an accident and to prevent airbag injuries. This is a feature I wish my car had because while I'm sure my airbag helped keep me safe, it also caused most of my injuries… and, yes, I'm okay (thanks for asking).

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#4: The Scion Culture. Even with all its winning features: mpg, pure pricing, and top tier safety features, some are still left wanting a cherry on the top of all the cake, icing, and whip cream. And in this case the cherry is of course the Scion culture. I'm no stranger to certain car brands having enthusiasts, but I was totally oblivious to the passionate, hard-core Scion enthusiasts. They actually organize meet-ups and drive cross country, yes cross country, by the groves to concerts and events. Alot, right? Maybe, but that's the type of stuff that goes down in the close-knit underground culture of Scion owners. That culture is what inspired Toyota to create the Scion iQ Museum Project, which spotlights influential cultural movements, moments, and individuals from recent history– particularly underground artist. This digital online museum will  open with exhibitions featuring East L.A.'s Chicano Punk from the late 70s and early 80s, Detroit's Strata Records, producer Paul Prince, and rapper Big Daddy Kane. The Scion iQ Museum Project will launch later this Fall on scion.com.

Long story short, if you're on the market for a very fuel efficient car, that is innovatively safe, and comes with a built-in active, young underground culture, then a Scion iQ may just be the car for you. This premium mini-compact car is certainly one of the best in it's class. Get more details at scion.com.

Scion iQ Launch dates:

West Coast – Oct 1st

South – Jan 1st

East Coast – Feb 1st

Central – March 1st

The Scion iQ comes fully equipped, and includes a booming Pioneer audio system featuring a CD player, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and HD Radio technology. Random Scion iQ Fact: Scion owners are the youngest of all other car owners in the USA.

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