Steve Martin used to do a routine parodying drug culture in which he said he was going to “get small.” You can’t get much smaller than today’s Nice Price or No Dice Scion iQ, so maybe Martin would appreciate it. Let’s see if it takes a celebrity’s income to afford it.
There’s much to be said about the value of a car that is nothing more or less than a cruiser. You may not feel like a hero carving up the canyons in one, but when it comes to laying down the miles and looking good while doing it, you can’t go far wrong with a classic coupe.
Last Friday we looked at just such a car, a 1990 Nissan 300ZX. That two-seater offered T-tops and a livable interior but lacked the ultimate goodies of a turbo engine and a manual transmission. It also was a bit rough around the edges.
Seemingly, the seller was aware of the car’s pros and cons and set a $4,500 asking price as a result. A narrow majority of you — 53 percent — agreed with the seller’s pricing acumen, and gave the ZX a Nice Price win. That pushed the winners over the losers last week which was a surprising result in so crazy a used car clime. Let’s see how we do this week.
We’re going to start out small. I mean, really small. Unless you’re going to go with a Smart ForTwo (and why would you?) or one of those motorized skateboards that look like a great way to see what the inside of an emergency room looks like, the Scion iQ is about the smallest, most-easily park-able four-wheel vehicle to be found on the market.
That’s not to say it’s really on the market since Toyota stopped selling them when it decided the whole Scion thing wasn’t working out and gave the sub-brand the heave-ho. That was a pretty ignominious end to the model since pretty much all its Scion bandmates got absorbed back into the Toyota supergroup.
That just leaves used iQs as options and this clean-title 2012 edition seems to be a perfectly viable candidate. It also has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.
Let’s start out with the mechanicals. The drivetrain is composed of a 1.3 liter, 98 horsepower inline-four and a CVT automatic. Those of you bemoaning the lack of a manual gearbox should at least acknowledge that one was never offered on the U.S. iQ. Get over it!
With these modest mechanicals, a short wheelbase, and your typical Toyota suspension tuning, it’s pretty obvious the iQ isn’t the car for eating up gymkhana tracks. Where its strengths lie, however, is in parking and squeezing through those small spaces in traffic. It’s really a car that is more about the destination than the journey.
With that said, the iQ does come with reasonable room for two and some bags. The back seat’s a joke and with it up there’s only room for a couple of burger joint bags in the back. You also get all the comforts of A/C, but one cup holder in the console because screw everybody else.
This one has done 96,500 miles and the interior shows those miles with a bit of wear on the center armrest and some fading of the upholstery. On the outside, things appear better and the car wears both aftermarket wheels and a hatch-mounted spoiler that’s obviously there only for ironic reasons. The rear license plate also has a secret. It folds down to reveal a hidden hitch receiver. That’s not for towing (what is this, a hitch for ants?) but for mounting a bike carrier.
Placing a couple of bikes sideways on the back would likely add half again to the iQ’s overall length, and doesn’t that defeat the car’s singular purpose? This is, after all, about finding that cherry parking spot that everyone else has passed up for being too small and sliding into it as if a tailor made it specifically for your iQ. Hell, go get one of those Metro bikes after that if you feel the need to sweat while getting a wedgie.
Ok, so we’ve determined this Scion’s purpose in life and have determined that it still seemingly has some life left in it to fulfill that purpose. Now we have to consider just what that all might cost. The asking is $9,100 and while that doesn’t make this the cheapest iQ out there, it still doesn’t mean it’s a bad deal. After all, there’s that cool hidden bike rack hitch that you shouldn’t ever use to be considered.
With all that in mind, what’s your take on this iQ and that $9,100 asking? Does that seem like a fair price to pay for a pocket-sized car? Or, for that much, would you expect it to actually be an Aston Martin Cygnet?
H/T to Tony A. for the hookup!
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