The Good Car Guy complained vociferously when Toyota announced Scion was coming to Canada in September of this year. Initially, plans were revealed for dealers to be concentrated in highly populated urban areas: just Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. This is, Toyota and Scion said, where the target market resides. Except, The Good Car Guy is a tremendously active part of the target market (driving a long-term smart fortwo for GCBC) and the GCBC Towers isn’t in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver but in Halifax; a populated urban area.
Well, Scion’s website, ScionNation.ca, now has a FAQ section which speaks of “more cities across Canada planned in the very near future”. That’s good news. Though not at all excited by the megablah Scion xD and despite disappointment in the changes manifested in the second-generation Scion xB, the Scion tC is pretty cool and the 2011 Scion iQ is an ingenious amalgam of ideas; executed to perfection or not.
New details have emerged regarding the 2011 Scion iQ, details which should make Mercedes-Benz Canada, and Roger Penske in the USA, a little bit nervous about the smart fortwo’s continued viability. Even with the Scion iQ’s relative obesity (approximately 150-300 pounds heavier than a smart fortwo depending on spec), its 1.3L engine will provide an additional 20 horsepower, 90 bhp in total, says Scion. More bad news for the smart car can be found when comparing fuel efficiency. Scion says the iQ will deliver similar, or even better, mileage than Daimler’s smart fortwo. Toyota Canada has said the Scion iQ should be rated just over 5L/100km. Smart’s are given ratings by Natural Resources Canada of 4.8L/100km on the highway, 5.9L/100km in the city. GoodCarBadCar.net’s long-term smart fortwo averages 6.4L/100km, 36.7 mpg on the U.S. scale. Incidentially, 36mpg is how the EPA rates the smart fortwo’s average fuel economy. Expect the Scion iQ to have a slightly better city rating than the smart fortwo (a 33 mpg car) helped by slightly easier acceleration and lower-revving. On the highway, don’t count on the Scion iQ being much higher than 41mpg, same as the smart fortwo. Let’s forecast 35/42 for a combined figure of 37 mpg.
Here’s the kicker. The Scion iQ offers way more space in the rear, two seats if you like or a cargo shelf if you don’t require them. The only obvious difference with the Scion iQ we’ll be offered, when contrasted with the Toyota iQ in Europe, is the Scion’s increased length. There’s nearly four extra inches tacked on to the bumpers. Wheelbase, width, and height dimensions remain the same.
Read on after the jump for more specifics on the 2011 Scion iQ’s, including prospective pricing and likely mpg ratings.
What about price? In the UK, Toyota has priced the iQ between £9,995 and £12,995. The Toyota Yaris, admittedly a slightly different car Across The Pond, starts at £10,245 and goes to £14,080. Fortwos, by the way, begin at a lower dollar point than the iQ but rise higher. In the United States, a Toyota Yaris is priced from $12,605. The least expensive Scion is the xD at $15,570. It’s improbable that Toyota USA would think the iQ has enough unique cred to be considered an upmarket small car and thus be priced in around the xD and the $16,520 Scion xB. Considering the smart fortwo’s base price in the States is under $12,000, the iQ can’t go too much higher than that or much up on the Yaris, either. One would have to assume the Canadian dollar base price would be under or just over $15K.
The 2011 Scion iQ will become renowned for its fleet of passive safety features. There are ten airbags in total, including a rear curtain to protect the noggins of rear seat passengers in such close proximity to the rear window, knee airbags for both the driver and front passenger, and a driver’s seat cushion airbag. Don’t get the impression the Scion iQ is lacking in active safety measures. ABS, EBD, traction control, brake assist, and stability control will be standard equipment.
Unless fuel prices rise rapidly, there aren’t a lot of customers in North America who would be willing to consider a Scion iQ when a Toyota Yaris or Scion xB are either less expensive or similarly priced. Smart’s sales struggles can be summed up not by the quality or rightness of the product but by the competition: normal cars at the same price. Fuel prices are too low and insurance costs too consistent for North American consumers to start taking “running costs” seriously.
If the 2011 Scion iQ is priced aggressively, Toyota could have on its hands the modern Volkswagen Beetle. One way or another, the ball has been dropped on the smart fortwo’s side of the court. What will Mercedes-Benz bring forth? And will the Volkswagen up! come out to play?
Toyota USA’s Scion website once said (as of October 10/2010) the Scion iQ will be launched in “Spring 2011”; another part of the same page said, “early 2011”. Scionnation.ca listed “Spring 2011” and “2011” as launch dates for the iQ in Canada. Autoblog heard from Scion that the launch month would be March of 2011. Now in mid-January, the U.S. Scion website simply says, “2011”. Scion’s Canadian outfit offers up the same info.
Scion tweeted The Good Car Guy on January 14th saying, “The iQ is launching this summer. Final EPA numbers should be out sometime before then,” and added that the launch “was moved to space out the launches a bit and launch during prime season for that segment.” John Voelcker of GreenCarReports then worked on the story on January 21st leading to this updated story that would’ve likely gone unchanged were it not for increased iQ launch publicity.