The 2016 Scion iA is the first sedan in the brand’s 12-year history, and despite the badge, is really the next generation Mazda 2 with a different face.
The iA is part of a new joint venture between Scion’s parent company, Toyota, and Mazda. Mazda builds the iA in its new assembly plant in Mexico, and the car itself is all Mazda, with a front end redesigned by Scion.
The iA comes with a 1-5 liter four-cylinder engine that makes 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque, which makes it one of the least powerful cars in its class, especially when compared to the 130 horsepower Honda Fit and the 138 horsepower Kia Rio. Even the bargain-bin Nissan Versa sedan beats it – but just barely – at 109 horsepower.
Still, the iA feels lively thanks to a curb weight of 2,400 pounds, no doubt thanks to Mazda’s SkyActiv engineering that prioritizes weight savings for fuel economy. And speaking of fuel economy, the iA has it in droves, with a rating of 33 mpg city, 42 highway and 37 mpg combined for the six-speed automatic and a rating of 31 mpg city, 41 mpg highway and 35 combined for the six-speed manual.
The iA has a typical suspension setup for an economy car – MacPherson struts up front, torsion bar in the back – but it has been tuned for sporty driving. The electric-assist power steering system uses a rigid mount, which is atypical of an entry-level vehicle.
Inside, the iA has a similar dash design to other Mazda models, with the infotainment screen popping up out of the top of the dash and simple rotary controls. The seven-inch touch screen also includes voice recognition, and a back-up camera and keyless entry with push-button start are also standard.
Like the iM, the iA only has one trim level. The six-speed manual iA starts at $16,495 and the automatic iA starts at $17,595. The iA also comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels.
Mazda has delayed the release of the Mazda 2 in the United States, opting instead to focus on the CX-3 subcompact crossover that shares the 2’s platform. So for now, the only way to get the new Mazda 2 in the U.S. is to head over to a Scion dealer and pick up a new iA.
Check out the full video of the 2016 Scion iA to see if it really is as fun to drive as a Mazda: