An off month for the Iconic Japanese auto maker while the iM shows the hatch is alive and well. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Mar. 1, 2017 2017 Toyota Corolla iM 5-door w/ the CVT (2016 Scion iM in the woods shown) - $ 20,355 incl. the $885 D&H fee provides owners with a 28/36 mpgUS city/highway rating. The Corolla is an icon of reliability, longevity, and a champion of low total cost of ownership for quite literally decades. What the 11th generation Corolla lineup was missing however was a hatch given the demise of the 2014 Toyota Corolla Matrix. With much of the Scion lineup being merged into Toyota, the brand received a car that fit the job opening like a glove. Meet this weeks ride courtesy of the Toyota Corporation, the iM. We have not been in an iM since the 2016 Scion iA/iM short lead way back in late 2015. Scion iA First Drive. At the time, I spent a few minutes in the iM with a stick. After driving the Scion iA w/ the MT then and just a few weeks ago (2017 Toyota iA Review) as a Toyota Yaris iA, the iM w/ the 6-speed MT was a non-starter back then as it would be today. A very mushy uncontrolled long throw stick and a very unorthodox clutch action was its downfall. What we did not drive however was the iM with the CVT and the brand new Toyota emblem on the hood which left a far better impression. 2017 Toyota iM iM Exterior Design The iM includes a thinner hexagonal lower grille, thin wraparound lenses with LED DRLs, and honeycomb upper grille and side bezels. I like it better than the large open face grilles so prevalent in today’s automobile. Moving to the profile, you will see a somewhat sharp and rising front to back character line from the top of the front fender flares, above the handles and into the large LED rear tail lamps. The stylish 17” alloys keep the wheel arch gap to a minimum while standard add-on lower rocker panel side cladding provides the youth buyer something to talk about. Ours arrived in “Barcelona” Red Metallic, we’ll call it “red”, but it is also available in Blizzard Pearl “white”, Classic Silver Metallic “silver”, Black Sand Pearl “black”, Spring Green Metallic “green”, and Electric Storm Blue “blue”. Why all the extra verbiage? To keep up with everyone else's verbiage I guess? Inside the 2017 Toyota iM iM Interior Inside, heavily bolstered front sport seats did not impinge as I thought they would at first glance. The seat bottoms are still to short but after a few days, I did not notice any pinching when driving like I do in other heavily bolstered B and C-Segments. An area where the iM stands out over the entire C-segment is its interior design. The three layered dash with its sweeping edges and piano black bezel around the central display really looks sharp! Many claim Toyota lacks pizzaz but imho, their interiors can be put up against anyone and they hold their own. The iM just looks good from the front seats while providing enough cup holders, center console volume and even a decent sized glove box. Sunglass holders are standard although the sun visors like most Toyota’s need a complete rework. The sunvisors suck. The standard leather wrapped wheel is an unexpected surprise for car that starts at less than $20k. The 4.2-inch color driver display and speedo/RPM in the instrument binnacle is somewhat dated. Standard dual zone auto climate and heated power-folding exterior mirrors, and auto on/off headlamps are standard. Again, a car under $20k to start with this standard was certainly welcome. Wind and wheel noise is acceptable thanks in part to an acoustic layered windscreen, foam insulation in the pillars and doors, and floor silencer sheets. In terms of size, the iM is barely a C-segment. Due to its 102.4” wheelbase, the passenger volume is just 90.4 cu. ft. This means the back seat entry when the front seat is set for a 6 foot driver is not workable. Out back we find 60/40 fold-down rear seats and standard cargo cover. Cargo volume with the rear seats up is a generous 20.8 cu. ft. With the seats down, I am going to guess 40 cu. ft. as there was no spec provided. In any case, look what fit. 2017 Toyota iM Cargo Capacity There is no C-Segment sedan that can take in a carry-on and two checked bags in the trunk as easy as the iM hatch. 2017 Toyota iM Chassis The chassis consists of a high-strength steel structure and four-wheel independent suspension including a double-wishbone rear suspension and struts up front. 17” alloys with 225/45R17 tires guarantee it will have a sticky feel. Given it is winter here in Illinois where I drove it, pushing it to anything near its limits was not going to happen yet the ride was both compliant and did not crash on the 2” curb apron test. Body roll was well constrained and in a side to side shimmy, it did not feel as if it would get out of control in a higher speed emergency maneuver up to the tire traction limits. The Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system was Toyota vague and again, this is the formula that makes a Toyota a Toyota. Its rack is not to overly geared requiring small adjustments at all times and points you down the road where you want to go. 2017 Toyota iM Divetrain Fitted with the Corolla’s somewhat outdated 137 hp and 126 lb-ft. of torque 1.8L I4, it may not turn heads but again, the iM just like the Corolla from which anchors it is all about reliability. Mated to the diminutive I4 is Toyota’s first real foray into the belt and cone CVT space. And its action? It does have a simulated 7-speed action in manual mode but in D with light or heavy throttle, it has the standard rubber band effect of any older CVT. Beyond the driving enthusiast however, who the hell cares? It accelerates to 60 in a competitive 9 seconds and for the average driver, after a few minutes, they will not care if they ever even did to begin with. Yes I am making apologies for the iMs CVT action but for someone like my wife, my parents, and friends, they do not notice or even care. 2017 Toyota iM Safety This is an area where the iM stands out. Although it has not yet been tested by the IIHS or NHTSA as either a 2016 Scion or 2017 Toyota. The iM includes Toyota’s Safety Sense C plus eight airbags (front, side, side curtains, driver knee and front passenger positioning), all standard. The TSS-C active safety system combines a camera and laser beam to mitigate or avoid altogether collisions through a wide range of vehicle speeds. In the C-segment, no other OEM offers these advanced crash avoidance technologies standard let alone offer them at all! 2017 Toyota iM Infotainment A let down as this system reared up and bit… The iM includes a 6-speaker Pioneer sound system controlled via knobs and a 7” Display Audio system with backup camera and HD Radio. No XM. In addition, after you synch your phone, you had better have BT on when you start the car because if you start BT after the head unit is booted up, you will have to manually choose the phone by an on-screen menu. This is not 2005 so why does this problem exist in a new car today? 2017 Toyota iM Conclusions Remember the shadow devils from the movie "Ghost"? I caught one in this pic. 43.2 mpg over 236.3 miles indicated. In the short week we drove the iM, temperatures ranged from 0 to 40 degrees and drive distances ranging from multiple 2 and 4-mile segments to two 42-mile 70 percent highway drives. It is on the 40+ milers that the CVTs low RPM highway cruise where this aging but bulletproof drivetrain shined. Although rated at just 28/36 mpg city/highway, 55 to 60 mph was providing close to 50 mpg in below freezing temps. I will give that a plus although I would need to drive in much warmer weather for a sold offset and speed vs FE graph. In terms of cargo volume, I was surprised that this small C-Segment could carry all of my luggage without having to drop the rear seats. The independent rear end makes it a better handling and feeling platform than the base Corolla so I would give that a checked box as well. It even looks good. Think of a Golf like form factor with boy racer rocker panel cladding that somehow works to make an attractive package. The areas I have trouble recommending the iM are its price – only $700 discounts according to TrueCar, tight rear seating, sun visors that are useless, and a poorly implemented infotainment. Despite my lack of enthusiasm to cover the shortcomings, the iM will probably still be on the road long after most of its C-segment competitors have taken their last drive to the junk yard. That is Toyota’s best attribute after all and the iM will deliver on that low total cost of ownership promise. Toyota February 2017 Sales Overview Toyota reported it sold 174,339 vehicles in February, down a steep 7.2 percent below the 187,954 sold in February of 2016. Toyota on its own posted February sales of 156,001 vehicles, down 5.4 percent below the 164,864 it sold in February of 2016. Lexus posted February sales of 18,338 vehicles, down an abrupt 20.6 percent below the 23,090 vehicles it sold in February of 2016. YTD sales of 33,910 is down 23.0 percent below the 44,023 sold through the same period of 2016. By comparison, the luxury brands incl. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Cadillac and Lincoln February sales looked like this: Mercedes-Benz Feb. 2017 sales: 24,522 vehicles, up 6.9% BMW Feb. 2017 sales: 22,558 vehicles, up 0.3% Cadillac Feb. 2017 sales: 10,823 vehicles, down 8.6% Lincoln Feb. 2017 sales: 8,744 vehicles, up 8.8% Even with the all-new upcoming gorgeous LC and ultra-luxurious LS, a sales turnaround for the luxury automaker could take some time. Toyota February 2017 Sales Highlights February sales were about the 3 core models, Corolla, Camry and especially the excellent RAV4. With Scion being absorbed into Toyota in August of 2016, the former iM was brought into the Corolla fold. And why not! It adds the utility of a hatch to the Corolla sedan lineup. The Corolla/iM contingent was picked up by 27,161 new owners, down 11.4 percent below the 30,659 sold in February of 2015. Even with the sales decline, the Corolla still lead the compact segment in February beating out the award winning and very well received Honda Civic with its own February sales of 27,039. Corolla/iM YTD sales of 48,728 is down 10.2 percent below the 54,271 sold through the same period of 2016. 2017 Toyota iM Camry experienced sales of 27,498, down 15.1 percent below the 32,405 it sold in February of 2016. YTD sales of 47,811 was down 19.3 percent from the 59,253 sold through the same period of 2015. The clear highlight however was the RAV4. February sales reached 26,351- its best February in history, up 3.2 percent over the 25,523 sold in February of 2016. YTD sales of 48,506 was up 3.0 percent over the 47,077 sold during the same period of 2016. U.S. February 2017 Sales vs. February 2016 Sales Ranks and Results for the top 18 Automobile Manufacturers GM February 2017 Sales Up 4.2% with 237,388 Vehicles sold Ford February 2017 Sales Down 4.0% with 208,440 Vehicles sold Toyota February 2017 Sales Down 7.2% with 174,339 Vehicles sold FCA February 2017 Sales Down 10.1% with 168,326 Vehicles sold Nissan February 2017 Sales Up 1.2 % with 122,003 Vehicles sold Honda February 2017 Sales Up 2.3% with 121,686 Vehicles sold Hyundai February 2017 Sales were flat with 53,020 Vehicles sold Subaru February 2017 Sales Up 8.3% with 45,500 Vehicles sold Kia February 2017 Sales Down 14.2% with 42,673 Vehicles Sold Mercedes-Benz February 2017 Sales Up 6.8% with 27,383 Vehicles Sold VW February 2017 Sales Up 12.7% with 25,145 Vehicles sold BMW February 2017 Sales Down 2.5% with 24,712 Vehicles sold Mazda February 2017 Sales Up 5.9% with 22,824 Vehicles sold Audi February 2017 Sales Up 17.3% with 13,741 Vehicles sold Mitsubishi February 2017 Sales Up 38.8% with 10,924 Vehicles sold Jaguar/Land Rover February 2017 Sales Up 16.4% with 9,231 Vehicles sold Volvo February 2017 Sales Down 11.6% with 4,651 Vehicles sold Porsche February 2017 Sales Up 2.1% with 3,637 Vehicles sold In February, BMW moved ahead of Mazda, Mitsubishi moved ahead of Jaguar/Land Rover, and Volvo moved ahead of Porsche. In terms of Market Share, GM was a clear winner in February with a 0.9 percent gain over February of 2016. Nissan was up 0.5 percent while both Kia and Toyota took a 0.5 and 0.8 percent hit respectively. Regarding segment sales totals, Silverado and Sierra outsold the F-Series. Consider the Niro’s first full month sales totals. From nothing to the 4th best-selling Hybrid in the country! The Prius moved back ahead of the surprisingly strong Fusion Hybrid. Remember the Fusion Hybrid outsold the Prius last month for the first time in history. YTD, sales of the Prius (9,971) are ahead of the Fusion Hybrid (9,795) by just 176 vehicles. With the Ioniq entering the C-segment hatch hybrid space, the Prius may lose more sales than the midsize sedan based Fusion Hybrid. It will be a very interesting year based on the monthly and yearly sales results. February sales exceeded 17 million vehicles for the eighth straight month although February sales were off 0.01 million vs. February of 2016. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles was approximately 17.5 million vehicles.