General Motors is starting to smarten its vehicles, and the car manufacturer is not alone; Toyota is now looking to do the same as well. Toyota and Mazda are partnering up to produce a Mazda2 for the United States – seeing that Mazda’s Mexico-produced Mazda2 sedan never made it here. In this regard, then, you can think of the 2016 Toyota Scion iA sedan as “the US Mazda2” since Mazda is making the vehicle for Toyota.
The stiff competition that mandatory driver vehicles will receive if Google’s driverless car project goes mainstream within the next 3-5 years has forced the hands of automakers who don’t want to wait until it’s too late to provide some smart car features that just may prevent Google and a few other automakers from disrupting the car industry and costing non-smart car manufacturers billions of dollars.
Apart from the Scion iA’s resemblance to the Mazda2, however, the four-door sedan will feature a pre-collision, automatic braking system. This pre-collision system is low-speed, however, meaning that the vehicle will brake if there’s an object in the road that the driver cannot see within his or her vision range. The Scion iA achieves this with an in-built laser sensor or a near-IR radar that can scan up to 30 feet ahead, flash a warning for the driver, pre-charge the brakes, and bring the Scion iA to a halt if the vehicle is running between 2 and 18 miles per hour (MPH). A secondary braking system helps the Scion iA if the vehicle has a back-end accident by preventing a forward-collision into the car in front of it.
Other internals consist of a Bluetooth phone and audio music streaming experience with voice command ability, 10-inch slide seat adjustment, a tilting and sliding steering wheel, a 7-inch multitouch display and six speakers for an excellent audio listening encounter, two USB ports and auxiliary input, push-button start, air conditioning, keyless entry, a 60/40-split rear backseat fold, halogen headlamps, power-folding mirrors, and a backup camera. Scion expects its 2016 cost-friendly, futuristic vehicle to have the right balance of “sporty handling and comfortable ride not normally associated with this segment,” the company says. While the Scion iA does come equipped with AM/FM radio, you won’t get a CD player – but this car does cater to the Bluetooth smartphone experience, so there’s that (you won’t have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, though).
The Scion iA has a 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine, 106hp, EPA estimate of 33mpg city, 42mpg highway, and 37mpg combined. And, as to be expected, Toyota’s new Scion iA is said to provide the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, and the 16-inch alloy wheels will add a nice touch to this sporty ride. The six-speed manual model will cost $15,700USD while the six-speed automatic costs $16,800.
The Scion iA’s pre-collision braking system is part of Scion’s overall strategy to give its 18-35-year-old target demographic the chance to drive a name-brand, sports vehicle while remaining budget-conscious. “Potential iA drivers can’t afford to be materialistic but are very brand-conscious,” Scion head Doug Murtha stated. Though there are some criticisms, including the car’s wide-mouthed grille, the split-second lag of the transmission when turning tight corners, and its “Mazda2” resemblance that gives away the idea that imitation is the highest form of flattery, it just may reinvigorate the 12-year Scion brand that has struggled in the face of Nissan, Hyundai, Ford, Chevrolet, and other high-end, sports vehicles. The 2016 Scion iA will arrive to US car dealerships on September 1st.