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Highlight: The Scion iA shares a platform with the Mazda2, which is no longer in production.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $16,495

Seating Capacity: 4

Standard Safety Features: airbags; daytime running lights; vehicle stability control system; traction control system; ABS; electronic brake force distribution; tire pressure monitoring system; First Aid Kit; automatic headlights; LED taillights; outside mirror with LED turn indicator; and a rear view back up camera

Standard Equipment: 16-inch wheels; 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system; chrome tip exhaust system; A/C; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; cloth manually operated front seats; cruise control; dual vanity mirrors; a push-button ignition starter switch; and a remote control

Other Trim Level: The Scion iA with an automatic transmission!

 Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/HD available with Pandora, Stitcher and Aha

 Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

 iPod connectivity/USB: Yes

 Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder/106-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

 Standard Fuel Mileage: 31-city/41-hwy

 What’s New: The Scion iA is a new addition to Toyota’s youthful brand.

Why We Like It: The peppy subcompact is based off the Mazda2. So, one should expect a fun-to-drive vehicle, especially when one opts for the six-speed manual transmission. The iA is available with an automatic transmission too, which slightly bumps up the price.

 The affordably priced Scion iA is a value package, offering a number of standard amenities. Some of those features include USB ports, HD radio, power windows, a push-button keyless starter, a 7-inch infotainment screen, LED turn indicator lights, A/C and a back up camera. Shoppers can even opt for a dealer-installed navigation system or use their own device to hold down cost.

As the iA is basically an older model Mazda3 or a discontinued Mazda2, one can expect the same spirited driving experience or the zoom-zoom factor that separates this sedan from other subcompacts in its class. The Scion iA has the same driving dynamics one can find in any of the Mazda cars.

Inside the vehicle the iA is literally a Mazda product. It’s obvious from the Ipad-like infotainment screen to the awkward placed radio volume control that the car is definitely a member of the Mazda family. For those who love Mazda products, the Scion iA is the perfect ride to scoop up.

Why We Don’t: We have concerns about the power locking and unlocking doors. These are not the speed-activated rolling activated power door locks we’ve become accustomed to. The doors must be locked and unlocked by physically using the power door switch. Also a remote must be used in order to lock and unlock the doors. And it is too bad the subcompact doesn’t offer a keyless remote. With this vehicle, one literally has to take the keyless remote out to activate the locks. There is no radar-activated sensor on this econo box. There is no room to listen to a CD, hear satellite radio or slide open a sunroof. We also would have preferred a more interactive simplified process to control the infotainment screen. And where is a front center armrest? This feature just isn’t available.

Lastly, the grille is quite polarizing, either one will love it or hate it. The iA borrows the bold fascia from its grown up siblings over at Toyota and Lexus.

 Verdict: Essentially, the Scion iA is a Mazda product through and through. It’s quite obviously inside the vehicle. The fuel-efficient and well-equipped four door sedan is the perfect vehicle for college students, singles and empty nesters. It’s well built and offers more than enough power with the 106-horespower engine.

It’s definitely on our best picks list for shoppers in the market for a subcompact vehicle. And for those seeking a hatchback, the all-new Scion iM is available. Unfortunately, the iM is not based-off the Mazda platform.

 Competition: Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Nissan Versa

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.

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