Sometimes, it takes a second look at something to see the value in it.
I admit I wasn’t overly impressed by the new Scion iA at first glance or once behind the wheel during an initial meeting a couple months ago. I wasn’t nasty or vicious to the car. I was confused by its styling and uncertain as to its potential market. But a weeklong test drive did away with any such confusion. The car works for what’s intended to do and should satisfy its audience.
For all the particulars, you can read my original review on the new iA here. But, by way of a quick review, Scion went away from its familiar design language with its boxier side panels and sharper angles for a new, sportier and more artistic aesthetic. They partnered with Mazda for manufacturing purposes and produced the new iA.
There are worse ideas than buddying up with Mazda when you’re building yourself a new sedan. That automaker put out the Mazda 6 – a car that battled to the end for several Car of the Year Honors a couple years ago. And, Scion is greatly relying on this car to remake its image to some extent.
My first response to the iA was lukewarm. It didn’t drive badly. It had good features for the money and kept it mono-spec layout simple. But, the styling was a big shift away from the very identifiable Scion look — and I didn’t quite know who the car was for at the end of the day. It seemed to grownup for the average Scion buyer, yet not advanced enough for anyone much older and farther along in life.
Now, after a good and solid week with the car, I think I cracked its code. I did so with the help of a friend in Los Angeles looking for a new car. She’s in her early 30s and doing fairly well in her career with a cosmetics company, but she’s not ready at this point to invest in a $30,000, entry level luxury car.
However, she’s had a little hatchback since college. She wants to graduate to a more “grown up” car — like a sedan. That’s where the iA enters the picture. At only $15,700, it’s in reach of all buyers and a bit more mature than a sporty hatch. In fact, for that price, younger buyers can’t get their hands on a better sedan.