2017 Toyota iM Review

2017 Toyota iM - Goodbye Scion iM - Hello Toyota Corolla iM


 Toyota's Corolla has been around since 1966 but the iM is new this year to the fleet. Or is it? 

Actually the iM is a nameplate salvaged from Scion when Toyota closed its youth-oriented division in 2016 due to poor sales.

In effect, today's Toyota's Corolla iM is the same compact sedan as yesterday's Scion's iM. Measurements and performance are identical.

The 2017 Toyota Corolla iM retains the standard 1.8-liter, 137-horsepower four-cylinder engine that comes with a six-speed manual gearbox for the purists, as well as with standard hill start assist. Also absolutely suited for the 1.8-liter is the optional automatic intelligent continuously-variable transmission (CVT0 that includes both a sport mode and manual shifting capability with seven stepped shift points. Recent testing clocked the iM sprinting from 0 to 60 miles per hour in times ranging between 8.6 to 9.1 seconds.

With the standard 17-inch alloy wheels framed by fat tires, the iM delivers a tight, taut road feel and a compliant ride quality.

During the two test weeks in the iM with only the driver aboard, the hatchback had no problem passing slower traffic on Interstate systems. In suburbs with multiple stop lights, the iM held its own. During test period, the Corolla iM averaged 32.1 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. The engine runs on regular gasoline. 

The Toyota iM also brings versatility thanks to the 60/40 fold-down rear seats, standard cargo cover and up to 20.8 cubic feet of cargo room. 

Where the iM might have it over competitors is pricing. A six-speed stick transmission is standard, but even with the optional continuously variable transmission mated to the only engine offered, the manufacturer's asking price is $19,490. That price is not bad for the inclusions.

The price includes power windows, door locks, exterior heated and foldable mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, front (variable intermittent) and rear window wipers, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, air conditioning, split fold-flat rear seats, automatic (dusk) projector beam halogen headlamps, LED tail lamps and daytime running lights. Front seats move manually.

The seven-inch touchscreen (knobs, too, for volume and tuning) audio system includes AM-FM high definition, six-speaker radio, auxiliary and USB ports with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone and music streaming via Bluetooth, voice recognition. There is a rearview backup camera system.

Leg room in front for six-footers plus a few inches is good. It is tight in the rear. Rear sight lines are OK but could be improved. The control arm rear suspension in the iM is more sophisticated than the torsion beam in a regular Corolla. Tires at P225 are larger than the norm and are mounted on alloy wheels. There is a temporary spare under the cargo floor.

Besides the normal air bags (front, sides, overhead), the iM has one for the driver's knee. Standard safety fare prevails including a tire pressure monitoring system.

Looks are enhanced by side skirts, chrome-tipped exhaust tip, aggressive front fascia and modest rear spoiler. 

Vehicles: 2017 Toyota Corolla iM
Type: compact four-door, five-passenger, front-wheel-drive hatchback
Price:  $19,490 
Engine: 1.8-liter, 137-horsepower four-cylinder
Transmission: continuously variable
Fuel tank: 14 gallons
Fuel: regular
Fuel usage city, highway, combined: 28,36,31 miles per gallon
Wheelbase, length, width, height, ground clearance in inches: 102.4, 170.5, 68.3, 55.3, 5.5             
Leg room: 41.7 inches front, 32.7 inches rear
Weight: 3,031 pounds
Cargo volume: 20.8 cubic feet, 45 cubic feet when rear seats flattened
Tires, wheels: 17-inch            
Suspension: struts front, double wishbone rear, stabilizer bars
Warranty: three years or 36,000 miles, five years or 60,000 miles powertrain, two years or 25,000 free scheduled maintenance to qualified buyers (depends on downpayment amount)
Information: www.Toyota.com/Corolla-iM

M.J. Frumkin and J.E. Kuyper

M. J. Frumkin and J. E. Kuyper covered the auto industry for decades. Frumkin was with Consumer Guide for 14 years, has authored four books and co-authored three more. He is also the historian/archivist for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association/Chicago Auto Show. Kuyper has been an automotive writer, editor and columnist for newspapers in the Chicago area the past 25 years. His reviews currently appear in the daily Northwest Herald newspaper. Frumkin and Kuyper are founding members of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.