2012 Scion iQ, Bear Mountain, NY, May 2012Enlarge Photo
Traditionally, people shopped for cars based on features, size and body style. For example, if you wanted a mid-size sedan, your test-drive list was likely to be nothing but mid-size sedans.
But with gas mileage becoming the number one priority for new car buyers, cars you wouldn’t expect to compete with one another start to.
Which is why we’ve chosen to pit the 2012 Scion IQ minicar and 2012 Honda CR-Z hybrid coupe against each other. WIth a combined gas mileage of 37 mpg, both cars should cost the same to run, but which is best for you? Read on to find out.
The 2012 Honda CR-Z is a two-seat compact hybrid sports coupe inspired by Honda’s iconic CR-X sports coupe from the 1980s.
2012 Honda CR-Z
2012 Honda CR-ZEnlarge Photo
it is powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated with Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist mild hybrid system and continuously variable transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox. Total hybrid plus engine power output is rated at 122 horsepower.
Meanwhile, the 2012 Scion iQ is a 3+1 minicar built by Toyota to compete in the same market segment as the diminutive 2012 Smart ForTwo.
Capable of accommodating three adults and one child (at a push), the tiny front-wheel drive city car is powered in the U.S. market by a 1.3-liter, 4-cylinder engine, producing 94 horsepower.
Unlike the 2012 Honda CR-Z, it is only available with a CVT drivetrain in the U.S.
With the added benefit of its mild hybrid drivetrain and a few extra horses under the hood, the 2012 Honda CR-Z beats the Scion IQ’s 11.8-second 0-60mph time by 2.6 seconds.
Even with that extra power however, it doesn’t feel as sporty as it could. In fact, the 2012 Honda Civic EX-L, a car we hardly consider sporty, is faster to 60 mph than the CR-Z.
If the faster CR-Z doesn’t feel all that sporty, then neither should the iQ. But like its minicar rival, the 2012 Smart ForTwo, the 2012 Scion IQ has a certain go-kart-like quality that makes it great fun to drive around town.
With very little in front of the driver, the IQ wins when it comes to maneuverability, requiring just 12.9 feet to execute a U-turn.
But take it on the freeway, and the plucky iQ feels much more stable than some of its minicar rivals, even at the upper end of the legal limit.
2012 Scion iQ - Driven, April 2012
2012 Scion iQ - Driven, April 2012Enlarge Photo
The 2012 Scion iQ and 2012 Honda CR-Z are both marketed to the same Gen X/Gen Y demographic. In everyday use however, the two cars offer very different practicality.
While it is bigger than the tiny iQ, the CR-Z only beats the iQ on legroom by a few inches, while it loses out to the minicar on both headroom and passenger volume.
That’s partly due to the number of seats, of course. While the CR-Z has seating for two, the iQ manages to squeeze in an additional two seats.
But be warned: fill those rear seats up, and the IQ will struggle to hold more than 3.5 cubic feet of cargo. The CR-Z can manage 25.1 cubic feet.
Which would you choose?
The 2012 Honda CR-Z is the hybrid coupe of choice for those wanting a sporty-looking car that is also great on gas mileage. Have more than one friend however, and its lack of rear seats makes daily use trying.
Add to that a $19,695 base-level sticker price, and the case for the CR-Z looks even less appealing.
2011 Honda CR-Z
2011 Honda CR-ZEnlarge Photo
On the other hand, the 2012 Scion iQ, while cute, offers trendy urban motoring with a hybrid-like gas mileage.
With a base-level rice of just $15,995, it wins our head-to-head, but make sure you’re on good terms with your passengers before you offer them a lift: the IQ’s interior can get a little claustrophobic on long trips.
Which of the two cars would you choose? Let us know in the Comments below.