Car Comparison: Toyota Camry vs. Scion iA

By Tyler

After our sluggishly reliable 2000 Toyota Camry met its untimely end, my wife and I started looking high and low for a new car. Mostly low. Our needs aren’t too elaborate – we want something that’s fuel-efficient, affordable, and most of all, reliable. We don’t want the car’s drive-train clunking onto the asphalt after 30,000 miles, and we don’t want it to burn South Dakota’s gross oil output every month. Unfortunately, there are quite a few cars that fit this bill. Choosing is hard.

While we initially focused on snagging a used Toyota Prius, the price tag associated with the eventual battery pack replacement was a bit concerning. Our other car, a Prius, needed a battery pack replacement after 150,000 miles and it cost us almost $3,000.

The Ford Fiesta was another model that we looked at heavily, since it’s a very fuel-efficient, budget-conscious car from a manufacturer that has fairly high quality standards. However, I read enough online about its finicky dual-clutch transmission to nix the Ford Fiesta as a final contender. Finally, I settled on the Scion iA as a potential option. It was time for a test-drive.

Test Driving the Scion iA

2016 Scion_iAFrom what I surmised online, the Scion iA is basically a Mazda 2 in a Scion skin – reliable, efficient, and pretty dang cheap. Scion is Toyota’s little brother brand, so it shares a lot of Toyota’s sterling reputation for quality, but with a price tag that’s not too much more than a domestic manufacturer would command.

Finally, the car. How does it look? Pretty embarrassing, actually. It’s a weird, snub-nosed looking car. The interior’s alright, though the backseats are very cramped. I currently drive a 2005 Toyota Prius (hence my experience with battery pack replacements) and the iA had considerably more power than I’m used to, but much less than I saw with the Fiesta. Cornering was alright though, and the ride was fairly quiet.

Final thoughts on the Scion iA?

Meh. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine car, but I’m not exactly tripping over myself to get back to the Scion dealership. But then again, we’re not talking about sports cars over here – this search is almost as unsexy as your mom’s minivan.

As it turned out, a friend of mine is leaving the country soon, so I’m going to be borrowing his car for the year. That’ll give me 12 months to continue agonizing over my eventual choice.

Did you miss the last two #TestDriveThursday reviews? Check out the Subaru Crosstrek review and the Highlander vs. 4Runner comparison. Then great ready for Erin’s test-drive review next week!

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