By Clint Williams
Green Right Now

The 2012 Scion iQ – a micro-subcompact designed for city drivers – is easy to park and…well, that’s it.

Scion iQ -- smart for parking; driving, not so much

The Scion iQ is slow, a bit skittish and not at all cheap. If you pay a bit more than $19,000 for a car, it should come with a glove compartment.

The iQ has a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 94 horsepower. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission and together they deliver good fuel efficiency. The iQ is rated an ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV-II) and gets EPA-estimated combined fuel economy rating of 37 miles per gallon. We got just over 33 mpg – which is good, but not much better than bigger, cheaper, more comfortable cars.

Scion touts the iQ as “the world’s smallest four-seater” but don’t expect to transport four people. The driver’s seat and front passenger’s seat are slightly offset, allowing one adult to sit behind the front passenger – but only if both are slightly uncomfortable. The seat behind the driver is strictly for grocery bags.

Because of the short wheelbase, the ride is a bit harsh. The handling is a bit flighty. But the car does have a tiny turning radius (less than 13 feet) making it easy to do a U-turn on a city street.

The tiny iQ is big on air bags. There are 11 standard airbags, including the world’s first rear window airbag. Other airbags include driver- and front-passenger airbags; driver- and front-passenger seat-mounted side airbags; side curtain airbags; driver- and front-passenger knee airbags; and a Scion-first driver- and front-passenger seat-cushion airbags.

This is a car for those who care more about ease of parking that actually driving. It’s hard to see why anyone outside of Manhattan or San Francisco would consider this car. Especially when better cars – with comparable fuel efficiency – can be had for less money. The review Scion iQ had a MRSP of $19,135 that included a ridiculous rear spoiler as a $285 option.

The iQ comes with a three-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and free factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles whichever comes first.

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