Hey, if you're paying attention, you might notice this sweet compact hatchback that's sold overseas as the Toyota Auris. It's actually the same car that was introduced in the U.S. as the 2016 Scion iM, but then Scion got the boot and it's now part of the 2017 Corolla family. It definitely adds some much-needed style to the Corolla lineup, which has been pretty boring for like, ever. But don't get too excited about the looks, because the Corolla iM is pretty average under the hood. It's got the same 1.8-liter engine and CVT as the regular Corolla, so don't expect any crazy performance. Technically, the iM version of the engine has a bit more horsepower and a little less torque than the sedan, but it's still not gonna blow your mind. Plus, even though it's shorter than the sedan, it's actually heavier. So yeah, it looks cool, but it's not gonna set any speed records.
So, the iM was a bit faster than the sedan when it comes to hitting 60 mph, doing it in 9.1 seconds compared to 9.5. But let's be real, it's still taking over nine seconds to get there, so "quicker" might not be the right word.
Now, the CVT in basic automatic mode ain't too great. It's got that slipping-clutch/rubber-banding feeling that we all know and hate, and it makes the engine sound like it's struggling to catch up to the car's movement. But, there's a Sport mode with manual shifting and seven programmed ratios that makes the driving experience way more tolerable. It's not perfect though, it would be even better with paddle shifters, but unfortunately, they're not included. If you're looking for even quicker acceleration, go for the six-speed manual option and save yourself $740.
The iM's acceleration is hella slow, which is a bummer because the rest of the car is pretty dope. The suspension is firm, like a Honda Civic or VW Golf, and it's got more roll stiffness than the Corolla sedan. Plus, it's got an independent rear suspension, which is fancier than the sedan's basic beam axle. The power steering is electrically assisted and quick, only taking 2.6 turns lock-to-lock. The car handles pretty well and has decent grip with its Toyo Proxes 4 Plus all-season tires, but it could be better. It matches the VW Golf's skidpad performance though, which is pretty cool. The brakes are solid too, with no fading, but the 70-to-zero-mph stopping distance of 175 feet is just okay.
When you really push the iM, it starts to understeer a bit. No surprise there, since it's a front-wheel drive car with tires that are more about lasting a long time and giving you a smooth ride than going super fast. But if you're not trying to go crazy, the iM handles pretty darn well and looks hot doing it.
Plus, compared to other hatchbacks in the same size and price range, the iM holds its own. There's some hard plastic in there, but it's not like you're gonna be touching it all the time. The doors have cloth on the upper part, the steering wheel is wrapped in leather and feels sporty, and the seats are comfy for cruising but also give you some support when you're pulling some g's.
The touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard is a little small, but it gets the job done. There's also a little screen between the speedometer and tachometer that shows you some info. But seriously, what's up with that weird white strip on the dashboard? Is it supposed to look like something out of Star Trek or what?
The black seats with white speckles on this Corolla iM are straight up classy. And get this, you can fit two grown adults in the back without making the front seat peeps squeeze in. Plus, it's a hatchback so you can fit more stuff in the back - 21 cubic feet versus 13 in the sedan version.
But yo, Toyota's slippin' by not hookin' up with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And what's up with no satellite radio, man? And who programmed the lane-departure warning? They need to chill, it's all good to ride close to the lines.
Overall, for $20,375, this Corolla iM is a solid deal for a compact hatchback. It gets decent gas mileage too - 31 mpg combined/28 city/36 highway according to the EPA. We got 26 mpg in regular driving and 36 mpg when we hit the highway at 75 mph. The car is pretty quiet and comfy, and even handles well on twisty roads. It's not perfect, but it's still a good value.
It's like a boxer with all the moves but no knockout punch. That's a big deal in boxing, but for a compact hatchback, it's not too bad. Just make sure you get the manual transmission, ya hear?