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    Review: 2016 Scion iM


    • Saying farewell to Scion

    A few days before I got the 2016 Scion iM to do a week-long evaluation, news came out that Toyota would be closing the brand this fall. Most of the lineup, including the iM, would move over to Toyota. It feels somewhat weird to do a review on a brand that is essentially a dead man walking. But with the iM moving to the Corolla family, it would give us an idea of whether or not we recommend it.

     

    The Scion iM is a rebadged Toyota Auris that is sold in Europe and Japan. There isn’t a lot of differences between two models aside from new mesh inserts for the front and 17-inch alloy wheels. The overall design is polarizing. The front is long and low, with a narrow grille and bumper that looks like it has fangs. Around back is an interesting shape for the tailgate.

     


    2016 Scion IM 8


    Moving inside, the roots of Corolla show up. For example, the iM’s dashboard and certain equipment such as the steering wheel come from the Corolla. Many of the materials are hard plastics, while the door panels have some fabric covering certain parts. Considering the price tag of the iM, this isn’t a big deal. Scion should be given some credit for making the iM’s interior have some style such as a strip of faux leather running along the glove box and contrast stitching on the seats.

     

    In terms of comfort, the iM is mixed. On short trips, the front seats provide decent support. Longer trips reveals the lack of thigh support. The back seat is small with limited head and legroom. Cargo space is towards the small side with only 20.8 cubic feet, trailing the Volkswagen Golf (22.8 cubic feet) and Ford Focus hatchback (23.3 cubic feet).

     

    Standard on the iM is a seven-inch touchscreen radio. It is your standard Toyota touchscreen system with a simple, if somewhat dated interface. The system is quick to respond when going between the various functions. Navigation is available as an option.

     

    Power for the iM comes from the Corolla LE Eco, a 1.8L four-cylinder producing 137 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. This can either be paired with either a six-speed manual or a CVT like our tester. Power delivery is not impressive as the engine can’t keep up with traffic and produces more sound than speed. Your foot will be near the floor if you want to try and get up to speed at a somewhat decent rate. The CVT seems to mesh with the engine better than the six-speed manual we drove last year. It is smart to know when it needs to increase or decrease engine rpm for various driving situations.

     


    2016 Scion IM 7


     

    In terms of fuel economy, the iM equipped with a CVT is rated at 28 City/37 Highway/32 Combined. We didn’t get close to any of those numbers as we only recorded 25.3 MPG for the week. A lot of this can be attributed to the iM coming during one of the coldest weeks in Detroit where temperatures were between -10’ to 20’ Fahrenheit. Before I would go anywhere, I would start up the vehicle to let it warm up for a few moments. If it was a bit warmer, I wouldn’t be surprised I could get the EPA numbers.

     

    One item I couldn’t fully report on during the iM first drive was how it rode. The particular vehicle I drove was fitted with some TRD suspension parts, giving me some different impressions from other folks that drove the standard model Now I can report on the iM’s ride and say it is pretty good. The iM provides a very forgiving ride on rough surfaces. This is partly due to the iM using an independent rear suspension and not the solid-axle setup found in the Corolla. We do wish Scion had put some sound deadening material in the iM as road noise comes in clear. Around corners, the iM doesn’t embarrass itself. There is little body roll and it feels composed. Steering is the weak point as it has rubbery feeling.

     

    The one place where Scion iM comes out on top is price. The 2016 iM starts at $19,255 for the manual and $19,995 for the CVT. Our tester with a few accessories came to an as-tested price of $20,334. That includes the touchscreen radio, dual-zone climate control, alloy wheels, LED taillights, keyless entry, and a backup camera. No other car in the class comes close.

     

    At the moment, we wouldn’t recommend the Scion iM. The engine is the big weakness as it can’t keep up with traffic and produces more sound than actual power. We also wished there was a little bit more cargo room. The low price does make it tempting, but a slightly used compact would be a better choice. As Scion drives off into the sunset and the iM heads over to Toyota, the automaker has its work cut out. There is a good car in the iM, but it needs a fair amount of changes. Whether Toyota does them or not remains to be seen.

     

    Cheers: Price, Ride Quality, Out There Styling
    Jeers: Lethargic Engine, Steering, Interior Space

     

     

    Disclaimer: Scion Provided the iM, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

    Year: 2016
    Make: Scion
    Model: iM
    Trim: N/A
    Engine: 1.8L DOHC 16-Valve, Valvematic Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
    Horsepower @ RPM: 137 @ 6,100
    Torque @ RPM: 126 @ 4,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/32
    Curb Weight: 3,031 lbs
    Location of Manufacture:
    Base Price: $19,200
    As Tested Price: $20,334 (Includes $795.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Carpeted Floormats and Cargo Mat - $185.00
    Rear Bumper Protector - $89.00
    Wheel Locks - $65.00

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      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
    • By William Maley
      They say timing is everything. As I mentioned in our quick drive piece of 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium, the automaker announced a refreshed version for 2017. Changes included a revised exterior, improved interior materials, and a revised EyeSight active safety system. Once we heard about the refresh, we knew we need to get one in for review. That’s what happened this past fall as a 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring arrived at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage. The XT is the important bit as it means we have the turbo engine.
      Let us begin with the engine as this is one of the best points of the Forester. The XT gets a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive. The turbo engine solves some of the issues we had in the previous Forester. The 2.5i wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked and it takes its sweet time to get up to higher speeds. With the turbo engine, the Forester leaps into action. Yes, it does a take a moment for the turbo to spool up. But once it does, the engine delivers power at a steady and smooth rate.  Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs on the market. Part of this comes from the simulated gear changes Subaru has programmed for the CVT. This will fool most people into thinking that the transmission is a standard automatic. Also, the CVT doesn’t have much of a groan when you decide to floor the accelerator. The downside to the turbo engine is fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.0XT stand at 23 City/27 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week was 24.7 MPG. If you’re expecting Subaru to make some changes to the suspension and/or steering for the Forester 2.0XT, then you’ll be very disappointed. The 2.0XT is the same as the 2.5i we drove earlier. That means a smooth ride over some of the worst roads Michigan has on offer, but a fair amount of body roll when going around a corner.  Changes for the 2017 Forester’s exterior include a new grille design, LED accent lights for the head and taillights; and a new set of wheels. The XT also gets a more aggressive front bumper. While the Forester is still a box, at least the changes have made it a bit more stylish. The interior remains mostly unchanged when compared to the 2016 model. The only change we noted is the option of brown leather for the XT Touring that is used for the seats and various parts of the dash and doors. It is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if Subaru had gone a bit further with the luxury touches - especially considering the price of our tester. Subaru has upgraded their EyeSight system for 2017 by installing a new set of color stereo cameras. Subaru says the new cameras allow better detection of various objects and a wider range of monitoring. We believe it as the updated system was able to detect vehicles slightly faster than the previous system when using the adaptive cruise control system. There is one big issue for the 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, price. The base price is $34,295. Equipped with an option package that brings a larger screen for the Starlink infotainment system, EyeSight, and reverse automatic braking, the as-tested price comes to $36,765. Taking into consideration for what you get for the price, the Forester 2.0XT Touring isn’t worth it considering you can get into some luxury crossovers for around the same price. You can get the Forester 2.0XT in the Premium trim which kicks off at $29,295, but you cannot get EyeSight as an option. If you really want a Forester with a turbo engine, wait for 2.0XT Touring to hit the used car lot as it will become a slightly better value. Otherwise, skip the 2.0XT and go with the Forester 2.5i or another crossover. Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Forester 2.0XT Touring, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Subaru
      Model: Forester
      Trim: 2.0XT Touring
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC GDI Boxer-Four
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,000 - 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/27/25
      Curb Weight: 3,686 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: OTA, Gunma, Japan
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $36,765 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Option Package 34 - $1,595.00

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