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STYLING | 7 out of 10
stout headlights and odd proportions give the iQ a cartoonish personality and a Volkswagen Beetle-esque charm
the maximization of interior volume and compact engineering beneath its sheetmetal makes Tetris look like a game of stick and ball
substantial and well detailed for a dink-class runabout
Car and Driver
stands tough like a bulldog, seven inches wider than it is high
The 2014 Scion iQ is often mistaken for a Smart ForTwo, simply because the two models are the shortest cars on the market--and the Scion iQ looks like a two-seater. And even if Scion calls it a "3+1-seater," it's rarely going to be used to carry more than two people--or even one.
The iQ's aggressive lines give it more attitude and presence than the cuter, cuddlier Smart. If you don't look past the side door, it almost looks like a conventional car, with more visual weight given to the (still very short) hood. Its height and width are similar to a subcompact, and it's more slab-sided and substantial than the Smart--and then it simply ends. It's almost like a subcompact with the back half removed. From the front and front three-quarters, it's beefier than the Smart. The large wheels visually add to a road-hugging stance that amplifies the car's frontal proportions.
The little Scion's cabin has nice detailing on the trims and finishes and relatively sensible, straightforward design. The grim nylon seat fabric isn't up to the standard of the rest of the interior, though, and there's a lot of black in a visually small space. The one exception to the straightforward design themes is what Scion calls a "manta ray" theme of swoops and embossing, both on the top of the center stack and on the door pulls.
The "3+1-seat" interior is accomplished by a passenger instrument panel that's moved several inches closer to the base of the windshield than the driver's. That means the front passenger will sit considerably further forward than the driver, slightly odd until you get used to it, if the third seat on the car's right is occupied. The fourth seat behind the driver is for a very, very small living creature--or more likely backpacks, bundles, and packages.
The 2014 Scion iQ has more street presence than you'd expect, but can look like a subcompact with the rear amputated from some angles.