Posted Dec 4th 2012 3:00PM
Okay, we'll be the first to admit the Scion iQ isn't exactly aimed at spirited driving enthusiasts. However, the tuning experts at Five Axis are attempting to change that one micro car at a time, starting with Scion and this sporty iQ Five Axis Edition.
Although the tiny hatch already attracts plenty of attention for its micro-compact size and shape, the Scion iQ Five Axis Edition manages to draw stares based on its performance-inspired good looks. Starting with a 5-piece aero kit and Five Axis Edition graphics, our tester also included a sexy set of 18-inch gunmetal Five:AD S6:F wheels paired Yokohama tires and sport lowering springs. While it may still lack in acceleration, the Five Axis iQ attempts to make up for it with upgraded handling, sporty styling and frugal fuel economy numbers.
Our commuter-friendly boy-racer caused dozens of impromptu conversations with other drivers and passersby wondering if there was a high performance prototype engine lurking under its very modest hood? Although some were disappointed to hear it was still powered by an untweaked Toyota 1.3-litre inline four-cylinder engine (rated at 95 horsepower and 89 pound-feet of torque), we quickly found ourselves examining other benefits of driving this practical package for a few days.
- The iQ's cartoonish charm really shines when zipping about town, as it quickly proved microcars can serve a more practical purpose for most urban city dwellers. While the iQ's base price of $16,760 isn't the cheapest around, it does offer decent performance and clever design in a unique package. The total cost for the Five Axis upgrades adds an additional $3,500 (excluding the Yokohama tires) to the bottom line.
- When it comes to its layout, don't let the size of the Scion iQ fool you. It's surprisingly big inside and spaciously designed to deliver a decent amount of space... even when you cram four passengers on board! Should you require a little more room, simply flip 'n fold the rear seats to unleash 16.7 cubic feet (that's 4.7 cubic feet more than the Smart ForTwo) of useful storage space when you need it.
- The Scion iQ Five Axis Edition benefits from an amazing 12.9-foot turning radius, allowing it to turn around in even the tightest of urban spaces and make impressive U-turns anywhere, anytime. This car features a lovable, go-kart like personality which can make it pretty fun to drive. The lower stance (1.4-inches lower than OEM) and tight handling of the Five Axis iQ really make it feel faster than it sluggishly is, however the upgraded Tein sport springs are set a little too stiff and often caused a jittery feeling ride.
- Overall, the 2012 Scion iQ Five Axis Edition is a sexy and smarter option to its direct competition, the Smart ForTwo. Although microcars face design challenges of working within a confined space, Scion's engineers have proven their point and the team at Five Axis has given this "cute" car a little more edge in appearance.