6.29.2017

Fitting Into The Family: The 2017 Toyota Corolla iM

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Toyota Corolla iM
The 2017 Toyota Corolla iM.
Twenty months ago, I wrote that the iM was the future for Scion.  At that moment, none of us outside the walls of Toyota knew the brand had no future.  It was four months and four days after that review posted that Toyota announced it was shutting down Scion.  Some models were killed off, but homes were found for others, including the iM, which is now the Corolla iM.



2017 Toyota Corolla iM side view
2017 Toyota Corolla iM.
That was a smart move, not only in terms of tooling costs, but from a marketing perspective as well.  The iM is a Corolla, at its core, and now it can wear the badge.  Beyond that, it fills a spot in Toyota's lineup.  Not only is it a five-door Corolla, for which a strong sales case could be made,  but it is a logical alternative to the Honda Fit, for someone who wants something just a little more spacious for people and their things.

You'll pay more for the Corolla iM in terms of base price ($18,750 to $16,029 for the Fit), but you can also pay less.  The as-tested price of the Corolla iM we are discussing here was $20,758, while the 2016 Fit we reviewed a year and a half ago finished at $21,885.  Admittedly, the Fit in question was a top-of-the-line EX-L with navigation, and our iM, which comes in only one trim level, was minus navigation.

However, nav is available, as a $900 option, which would still leave us at $21,568 for the Corolla iM to $21,885 for the Fit EX-L with Nav.  And that's a 2016 price, which has gone up by $300, giving the Corolla iM a $620 price advantage.

Now, that is with a six-speed manual transmission to the Honda Fit's Continuously Variable Transmission.  We prefer the manual, but if you can't or won't drive one, the $740 cost for a CVT in the Corolla iM tilts the money argument back to the Fit by $120.

Interior view of 2017 Toyota Corolla iM
2017 Toyota Corolla iM interior.
However, in the Corolla iM, there is more people and cargo room, an arguably nicer interior, and an EPA fuel economy number for highway driving that is surprisingly close---35 for the Corolla iM, 37 for the Fit.  The advantage in city driving goes to the Fit with 32 to the Corolla iM's 27.

Again, though, in the marketplace, this is not a head-to-head competition.  The Corolla iM is a size class larger, and could be just the ticket for people who like the look and mission of the Fit, but can't quite---fit.  There are no doubt Corolla buyers who'll be impressed by the versatility of a five-door.  The iM made the transition from the Scion brand to the Toyota brand very smoothly.

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