Toyota iM — A lot of value for the money

By David Finkelstein

Toyota is introducing its 2017 sporty Corolla iM 5-door versatile FWD hatchback to consumers. The modern Corolla iM — which entered the marketplace as the Scion iM — has a fair amount of room to accommodate lots of cargo for those weekend getaways or for transporting the little ones to after school activities. The Scion brand was discontinued following the 2016 model year.

Besides the iM being a fun-to-drive vehicle, it comes with an attractive factory pricing structure. Their entry level Corolla iM has a base price of $18,750, when equipped with the six-speed manual gear box. It jumps to $19,490 when furnished with the CVTi  automatic "Sport Sequential Shiftmatic" continuously variable transmission. The pricing may vary a bit in select regions of the country.

The car's front end has a hexagon designed lower grille assembly, pointy-eyed headlights with unique mounting bezels of which include a distinctive honeycomb mesh pattern. This aerodynamic design expression carries into the car's side profile. It further conveys a dynamic contemporary setting, from the lower front, to the rear lift-back hatch. Furthermore, the piano black grille treatment, standard sporty body aero kit, LED daytime running lights and taillights plus the chrome tail pipe outlet give the iM a sporty personality.

Also, the exterior color selections give buyers a winning array to choose from. They includes Blizzard Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, Black Sand Pearl, Barcelona Red Metallic, Spring Green Metallic and Electric Storm Blue.

In the cabin, the two front bucket seats are manufactured with a bolster sport design that includes an integrated advanced whiplash injury enrichment design for a higher level of occupant protection.

The layered dashboard design was sports car inspired. It has an uncluttered instrument panel with easy to reach and self explanatory operating controls.

Helping to keep unwanted noise outside of the passenger compartment, Toyota uses an acoustic layered windshield, strategically placed sound dreading insulation foam as well as floor silencer hushpads.

Select premium amenities also come as standard such as a variety of the interior materials. Also standard is the iM's 60/40 fold-down rear seats with a security cargo cover. A roomy glove box and console box are included as well as front door pocket storage bins.

The 6-speaker Pioneer sound system is compatible with a number of personal electronic devices including iPod's in various forms. A 7-inch center dash display unit which includes HD Radio and Aha further help with the enjoyment of your particular electronics. That screen also provides the view for the standard rear backup camera, however it's difficult to read in bright sunlight.

The steering wheel is leather wrapped and includes a number of fingertip switches for audio, multi-info display and hands-free phone operation by way of Bluetooth wireless technology. The 4.2-inch color TFT multi-information display is positioned between the main instrument gauges displaying numerous driving features and execution functions.

Also standard are automatic folding/heated power exterior door mirrors, automatic on/off headlights, power windows and door locks, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry and dual zone A/C climate control.

The sophisticated four-wheel independent suspension, standard 17-inch alloy wheels and with the extensive use of high-strength steel plus special body reinforcements help keep the iM stable during tight maneuvers. Toyota's Safety Sense C system with eight airbags is also a no cost feature. This includes a driver’s knee airbag and a front passenger seat cushion airbag. Proprietary active safety technologies help make up this system. It combines a camera and forward laser beam radar for enhanced performance and reliability.

With Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beams and a Pre-Collision System, it can help prevent or mitigate collisions at a wide range of vehicle speeds. The 137 horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine uses Valvematic continuously variable valve timing technology to offer a broad torque curve, therefore the iM feels quite responsive in all situations.

Both the manual and automatic iM models come standard with Hill Start Assist, which helps prevent roll-back when pulling away from a stop sign or traffic light while positioned on an incline.

EPA numbers show an estimated 28 city/36 hwy/31 combined for the CVTi-S automatic models and 27 city/35 hwy/30 combined with the six-speed manual transmission. All versions include Toyota Care, which is a complimentary service plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.