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Which Years Of Used Scion iAs Are Most Reliable?

in Reliability
Blue Scion iA in a snowy parking lot

Scion iA by BlueCrabRedCrab - CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Scion iA is a subcompact sedan that Toyota’s youth-oriented brand introduced. It was available for the 2016 model year before the Scion brand was discontinued, and the car was rebranded as the Toyota Yaris iA. That’s right; the Scion iA had only a single-year production run before it was discontinued and renamed.

The Scion iA carved out a niche in the subcompact segment by offering a blend of affordability, fuel efficiency, and standard features that were uncommon in its price range. Its sporty design and engaging driving experience further set it apart from some of its more practical competitors like the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta.

While the Scion brand has since been discontinued, the legacy of the iA continues under the Toyota badge. The model’s value and quality approach resonates with buyers looking for a budget-friendly yet well-equipped vehicle.

If you’re looking for the most reliable Scion iA year, you only have one option with the 2016 Scion iA. So for today, we’ll have an in-depth look into the Scion iA, its potential issues and consumer complaints, overall long-term reliability, and more.

Is the 2016 Scion iA a Reliable Car?

Since the Scion iA is a product of Toyota’s Scion brand, it benefits from Toyota’s long-standing reputation for building reliable and durable vehicles. Having only one production year doesn’t indicate the iA’s reliability at all but is more of a corporate decision on Toyota’s part.

The Scion iA’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is known for its simplicity and efficiency. It’s not overly complex, which tends to reduce the likelihood of mechanical issues. The available 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions have also proven to be dependable.

Moreover, the Scion iA’s maintenance costs are relatively low, and it doesn’t require specialized care. Parts are generally affordable, and the car’s design allows easier access to crucial components, reducing labor costs for repairs.


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2016 Scion iA Quality and Reliability Ratings

The low number of complaints is one of the main reasons why the 2016 model can be considered the most reliable Scion iA year. According to, the 2016 iA has received only 49 complaints and no recalls. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has documented 23 complaints for the 2016 Scion iA.

Consumer intelligence company J.D. Power hasn’t rated the 2016 iA in reliability. Still, the small car did receive an outstanding score of 91 out of 100, with a 98 rating for resale and 84 for driving experience. More notably, J.D. Power ranked the Scion iA as the #1 model in the small car category in 2016, further cementing its overall quality and reliability.

On the other hand, U.S. News also mainly had good things to say about the 2016 Scion iA. The consumer advice website also ranked the 2016 Scion as the #1 subcompact car out of 15 models from other brands – beating the likes of the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, and even the 2016 Toyota Yaris.

Lastly, many folks from Reddit think highly of the 2016 Scion iA. Several users pointed out that the Scion iA is essentially a rebadged Mazda 2 sedan. They praise Mazda’s driving dynamics and believe the Scion iA retains these qualities. In addition, the Scion iA was lauded for being fuel-efficient, simple, and reliable. One user shares their personal experience, highlighting the car’s excellent gas mileage, stylish interior, and comfortable driver’s seat.


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2016 Scion iA Potential Reliability Issues

Although the Scion iA boasts excellent reliability ratings and consumer feedback, it has its fair share of issues that any potential buyer should know. Below are some issues you may encounter with this small car, as per CarComplaints:

Engine Issues

  • Malfunction lights and limp mode: One owner reported multiple malfunction lights turning on, including engine system malfunction, DSC malfunction, TPMS system malfunction, and auto transmission malfunction. The car went into limp mode, and the issue was not reproducible by the dealership.
  • Intermittent shut off: A complaint mentioned the vehicle intermittently shutting itself off on the road, displaying the check engine and battery lights. Multiple certified Toyota dealers could not pinpoint the issue, leading to concerns about safety.
  • Engine shaking: An owner reported the engine starting to shake violently at a stop, feeling like it was about to turn off. The issue persisted despite cleaning the throttle body.
  • Warning lights and low gear engagement: Multiple complaints described warning lights blinking (ABS, check engine, traction), followed by the engine going into low gear. The issue escalated in frequency over time and affected reverse gear engagement.
  • Unintended acceleration: An incident was reported where the Scion iA sped up and kept running while the brake was applied, leading to a collision with a store.

Electrical System Issues

  • Poorly wired and spliced wires: One owner complained about very poorly wired and spliced-together wires, considering it a fire hazard.
  • Malfunction lights and limp mode: An owner reported multiple malfunction lights turning on, including engine system malfunction, DSC malfunction, TPMS system malfunction, auto transmission malfunction light, and SCBS malfunction light. The car went into limp mode, and the issue was not reproducible by the dealership.
  • Intermittent display issues: A complaint mentioned sporadic problems with the infotainment display, including the backup camera. The dealership estimated a replacement cost of about $1200.
  • Trunk popping open randomly: An owner reported that the car’s trunk would randomly open while driving.

These two categories received the most number of owner complaints, but these reports aren’t widespread and don’t detract from the iA’s overall reliability. Regardless of these issues, we have no qualms about declaring the 2016 model the most reliable Scion iA year.


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Final Thoughts

The 2016 Scion iA is worth considering for buyers looking for an affordable, fuel-efficient vehicle for moderate use. Its connection to reputable brands like Toyota and Mazda adds to its overall appeal and long-term reliability. However, potential buyers should be aware of reported engine, transmission, and electrical system issues. In this case, it’s hard to go wrong with a thorough inspection by a trusted mechanic and a review of maintenance records when buying a used 2016 Scion iA.

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