Scion iM hatchback launches an overdue revival

Scion iM concept

While the effervescent Scion FR-S coupe continues to win fans among car enthusiasts, Scion’s more core products have been garnering a bit of a patina that only gets washed away in the form of special “release” editions and SEMA project cars. But Scion has been busy behind the scenes, it seems, preparing new products for the next three years.

The first in line is this car, the iM. Technically still a concept as it rotates on a turntable at the L.A. auto show, the iM is essentially be a rebadged and redecorated hatchback that Toyota sells overseas as the Auris. Indeed, it looks like an Auris that went on a shopping spree at SEMA, with a deep, aggressive front clip, funky geometric grille inserts, angry bird headlamps, widened front and rear fenders, rocker panel extensions, and a pretty amazing, be-grilled rear bumper. The body is rendered in “incrediblue” paint offset by matte silver accent pieces, all of which is slammed down low on gunmetal 19-inch forged wheels.

Little was said about what’s underneath the hood, but one can expect that one of the Auris’ available four-cylinder engines and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions will be offered when the car finally arrives stateside. Chassis components for the concept include an adjustable racing suspension and four-piston front brake calipers clamping down on vented rotors.

Scion says pricing for the iM will start under $20,000. Speaking of pricing, Scion has initiated a pilot program at 50 of its dealers called Pure Process Plus, which allows potential customers to shop for a model on, locate it at a dealership, apply for credit and get a final price, all without setting foot in the showroom. Scion says it plans to expand the program in 2015 to more dealerships as refines the process, just as it plans to expand its model lineup.