That’s so gay: introducing the spunky, peppy 2017 Toyota (not Scion) Corolla iM

Just as the Scion brand was getting ready for the guillotine last year, two new, cleverly named Scions, the iA and the iM, were introduced.  The reception was positive, and I enjoyed both vehicles (see my 2016 review here). But just because the Scion brand went away didn’t mean that the new babies had to disappear into the Nile as well.  Here is one of the surviving twins, the new 2017 Toyota Corolla iM. It’s basically the same as last year’s Scion iM, which was a fun little car.

It’s a hatchback, which means all your purchases and lover’s artistic works from college can fit nicely inside by just lifting your tail. For people who need a car where they can cram a lot into a practical, fuel-efficient space, the iM is your car.  (Call me old, the iM makes me want to sing Neil Diamond’s ‘i M I Said’.)

The iM starts at $18,750 for a manual tranny and $19,490 for an automatic.  Yup, that’s it, just two choices, but what fun choices they are. Standard features include alloy wheels, brake assist and smart-stop technology (everyone needs that, even performers and Private Dancers), leather steering wheel with audio control and 7-inch touchscreen.  There are many more standard options, which make the iM worthwhile for consideration as your only car. If you want carpet or anything that will make your car look racy, those are separate, a la carte items that can be added.

For me, the drive was pleasant and even had a bit of pep. You get a 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine that kicks out 137 horses. Mileage is good, coming in at 28 city / 36 highway. You’re not going to win any races with this car, but there is decent acceleration when entering and thundering through a freeway. While driving in the fast lane, that’s when all those buttons on the steering wheel come in handy. But watch it, girls: make sure you have memorized where all those audio and cruising buttons are before you start using them at 55 miles per hour. At best, you’ll break a nail.

At 245 American pounds, I’m a smidge larger than most people.  My friends are of equal or greater mass, so yes, the tonnage can be impressive in so many ways.  Know that when I say ‘It’s a bit snug inside’ I mean that maneuverability inside the iM can be challenging, even before the party gets started. I always recommend that you test drive the car with your friends to see how they fare once the engine is revved up, the Lady Gaga is full blast and the nachos are still dripping with hot cheese.  If you can live with that and are maybe even impressed, go for it.

Scion was supposed to be a young hipster brand that would get millennials interested in the Toyota marque and keep them loyal through midlife (Toyota) and success (Lexus). Well, that didn’t quite happen, but maybe Toyota has discovered that introducing kids to Toyota before they have had any real-life success is a smart move.  Why play Hanson or One Direction when they are ready for The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Beatles?

Perhaps after a half-century, the name Toyota really is as recognizable and just as trusted as Mickey Mouse or McDonald’s. No small accomplishment, given that many people still see Japan as The Orient….

My, how times have changed and evolved, even in the White House.

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