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Before the demise of Scion, a brand so unique, it allowed their buyers to individualize their personalities and express them through their cars. In the final days of Scion, the launch of the iM and iA, cars to help revitalized their product ended up turning the brand into every other mainstream car on the road. Doubtful that was the cause of them closing the doors, as most of their targeted consumers in 2003 have grown up; as it goes however, when one door closes, Toyota opened a window and a spot on their showroom floors.

Now labeled as the Corolla iM under Toyota’s faithful name plate, a few additional features have been added to the iM for its 2017 model year that might perk some buyer’s ears.

These days, Toyota is stepping out of their bland comfort zone and while the Corolla iM is running on a couple years now, it is quite a sharp looking thing. Standard across the board all iM’s roll with LED daytime running lights, appearance enhancing body molds, and 17-inch sport designed wheels. The added appearance of our $399 rear spoiler added to its sex appeal that could cause teenage pregnancy. But it’s also what comes standard on the inside with a touch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth & hands free text messaging, rear view backup camera and Toyota’s latest Safety Sense system that features Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beams, and Pre-Collision Alert.

The Corolla iM isn’t a fast car even though it looks the part of a sporty hot hatch. It uses the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine from the Corolla sedan that produces an economical 137-horsepower. An eager driver may opt to keep the standard six-speed manual transmission while others who prefer only two pedals have the option to splurge $345 for the CVT automatic. In this day-in-age, opting for the manual is more for those that enjoy shifting for themselves than seen as a cheaper, fuel saving alternative – and considering it takes over 9 seconds to 60 mph, it’s not like there is going to be a high demand for the manual. But we’re glad to see that Toyota hasn’t gone the route of producing strictly automatics even though our manual turned over 25 combined MPG for the week.

Despite the Corolla iM lack of speed, it is relatively a fun car for what it is. Costing under $20,000, its manual transmission floats through the gears. The clutch engagement is set in beginner mode for first time drivers. And even though this sporty hatch shares similar quality traits with the Corolla, there is something to be said when left in 3rd gear on a twisty road the iM exhibits fun behavior through the weighted, electric steering. The cushy chassis on the other hand provides more of a soft ride than an engaging driving experience.

The Corolla iM is a one-stop-shop kind of car, there are no options to upgrade into a premium product – no sunroof, no leather, no heated seats or navigation. For an entry level hatchback, the cloth seats are durable for whatever life’s little mishaps. The seats are comfortable and well supportive, while the rear seats can pile up to 6 high school teenagers – 10 with the seats folded flat. There is plenty of cargo space in the truck and tons of cubby holes in the front. The Corolla iM also features a USB charging port, so it’s first come, first serve.

For costing under $20,000, the Corolla iM is above and beyond a cheap car expectations. The interior uses soft touch materials with fun accent materials. It comes standard with dual-zone climate control, and there’s a customizable digital TFT display in the instrument cluster. It even features power folding side mirrors.

The majority of Toyota’s targeted consumer for the Corolla iM is partly first time car buyers and in this modern world of touch screens, text messaging and Snapchat, distractions are everywhere at our fingertips. Seeing the long list of standard features on a car such as this, it’s good to know Toyota has your back for whatever life’s calamities may occur.

Vehicle Specifications:
2017 Toyota Corolla iM Manual: $18,750
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $20,758
Performance Specs:
1.8-liter Four-Cylinder – 137-Horsepower, 6-Speed Manual Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±9.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 27/35/30 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average: 25 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±330 Miles