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How does the Scion iM equipped with the continuously variable transmission compare to the Scion iM equipped with the six-speed manual transmission?

This is the question that TFL set out to answer.

The Manual

The clutch takeup is described as "high but easy to modulate." Doing normal driving and you'll be fine, but if you push it on the track, that's when some flaws began to show.

When rushed, the transmission loses a lot of its accuracy. Fast second-to-third shifts were met with an unsatisfying “clunk.” But the biggest problem with the iM’s sporting pretensions is the pedal placement. The gas pedal is to low for any type of heel-and-toe shifting. The poor pedal placement sapped a lot of the fun out of driving the iM, as it can’t overcome its economy car roots. It shouldn’t be too difficult to build an economical car with good pedal placement – Mazda and Honda already do.
The CVT

First thing noticed: the shift pattern is backwards. forward is upshift and back is downshift. The CVT isn't as peppy as the manual, even when the car is in sport mode and using the manual shift gate.

Using the shift gate, the CVT moves through the pre-selected gear ratios almost as if it were a regular transmission, but the throttle response still feels CVT numb. Even so, this isn’t the auto iM’s Achilles’ heel. It’s biggest problem is weight.

The CVT iM weighs 88 pounds more than the manual and the weight is all up front. Around corners, where the manual iM felt lively, the CVT just pushed. Understeer was prodigious, even at moderate speeds. The manual exhibited no such behavior. The only thing that saved the CVT iM from being a total bore was the rear suspension. I felt the back end swing around nicely a few times, something that only an independent suspension could do.
If you want a more fun and sporty drive, go for the manual. The CVT will be fine for those who aren't looking for anything particularly fun to drive.

Check out the full article here --> Quick Drive: 2016 Scion iM Manual versus CVT [First Impression] | TFLCar.com: Automotive News, Views and Reviews
 

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Around corners, where the manual iM felt lively, the CVT just pushed. Understeer was prodigious, even at moderate speeds. The manual exhibited no such behavior. The only thing that saved the CVT iM from being a total bore was the rear suspension. I felt the back end swing around nicely a few times, something that only an independent suspension could do.
So does it understeer or does it oversteer lol
 

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I usually avoid automatics at all cost, but this was for my wife and she refuses to drive stick. I have to say that so far I'm really impressed with the CVT. It's been great. Is it as fun as my '04 MCS or even my current '12 Fiat? Of course not. But it's a really nice car.
 

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I like both automatics and manuals, both have their place to me and this being my daily driver would be a vehicle that i make sure to get in automatic since being stuck in traffic and dealing with a manual transmission is not fun at all.
 

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Being that these guys were only driving the car as a test I'd have to agree with some of the statements about the manual if you haven't gotten used to the high engagement point ... YET. After driving the car for about 5 weeks now however, slapping the 6spd around has already become second nature. 1-3rd are actually the fun gears after that the car is totally geared out for gas mileage. I am still hoping someone comes out with a short shift kit. Even at 6'7'' with a reach like Wladimir Klitschko I feel like the shift from 4th to 5th is ridiculously long.

I can't make any comments about the CVT as I haven't been in one yet.
 

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Well coming from a 5.7 tundra yes there is lack of power. But to me the CVT is lively enough to make if fun but i guess because the IM handles so much better than the truck. So to me in sport mode the CVT is fun to drive.
 

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I've had my CVT iM for about 4 weeks now. I make excuses to drive it. I like it, probably way too much. I can take the subway to work, but I opt to pay $40 for parking a few days a week just to drive the car. It's not a race car, so understeer isn't a concern. I'm not trying to take turns at 40 mph. I've never felt like the car wasn't going where I want I point it at. I zip around thru traffic with the car in Sport mode. And when I park the car at home and walk to my apartment I have a grin on my face from the drive home. I think these critiques are often a bit unrealistic. Some of the Reviews I've seem like the Reviewer was expecting a sports or something. I hope anyone thinking of buying one of these goes to a dealership and goes for a test drive and not just read some of these reviews and blow it off as just an average car.
 

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I've had my CVT iM for about 4 weeks now. I make excuses to drive it. I like it, probably way too much. I can take the subway to work, but I opt to pay $40 for parking a few days a week just to drive the car. It's not a race car, so understeer isn't a concern. I'm not trying to take turns at 40 mph. I've never felt like the car wasn't going where I want I point it at. I zip around thru traffic with the car in Sport mode. And when I park the car at home and walk to my apartment I have a grin on my face from the drive home. I think these critiques are often a bit unrealistic. Some of the Reviews I've seem like the Reviewer was expecting a sports or something. I hope anyone thinking of buying one of these goes to a dealership and goes for a test drive and not just read some of these reviews and blow it off as just an average car.
yeah, that is unfortunately what the reviewers do because you know everyone likes to rip roar their cars in this fashion (some do actually which is totally fine also). its a really nice car for the money and im happy with my purchase.
cvt is good enough for me and the sport mode gives it some pep.
 

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Do you guys know if sport mode change steering effort or not, i tried back and forth a bit, it feel like heavier in sport mode for returning to centre.
 

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Do you guys know if sport mode change steering effort or not, i tried back and forth a bit, it feel like heavier in sport mode for returning to centre.
Per spec. and marketing material, it does. I find the change to be pretty marginal, personally, except for the fact that it seems to feel more precise.
 

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i can imagine that some people won't find it to be enough, probably will have to do aftermarket suspension modifications which I imagine the enthusiast that goes to auto cross events will find real value in
 

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So far as their comment regarding heel and tow shifting, I have no problem whatsoever doing it. Infact the pedal appearance, layout and spacing is based on a very long standing traditional Toyota one that dates all the way back to the very first front wheel drive Corolla (AE80/AE82) from the mid 1980s (I owned one as did my uncle back then and the pedals and spacing are effectively the same as the current car, even right down to the rubbers)! And that exact same pedal layout and shape was used unchanged in the Group A Corollas that contested the Touring Car Championship here in Australia where obviously the drivers had to heel and toe to even drive the cars on the track. And they had no problems either.


The greater challenge to me initially was not the pedal placement but the engine holding onto the revs when blipping the throttle and the corresponding very slight delay (compared to cable throttle) of the engine revving up when blipping the throttle. But as I mentioned in another thread, that delayed throttle response and the rev hanging is not as big an issue with an aftermarket air filter and a TRD exhaust.


That said, the US cars have to have that annoyingly restrictive carbon filter in the air intake which reduces the throttle response even more. That would make effective heel and toeing harder. But even so, that has nothing to do with the pedal layout.
 

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Throttle delay is very bad, this manual car is the trickiest I every drive, taught myself driving manual 5sp, 96 Honda Civic, then I bought 05 mustang gt with a S/C , now 01 Hyundai tibron . I stall on iM so easy it’s piss me off. It’s the way when you release the clutch and how the gas pedal feels and giving power. Let me explain:
When you drive a Manuel, you release the clutch until you feel the clutch completely grabs the flat wheel, then you give a little gas then you go. But with iM , it piss me off how it drives. What is it, weak power or the design. So when I drive , I release the clutch. The rpm drop to 300rpm to fully engage, that’s about to stall,plus you have to releas the clutch super slow then once you step gas pedal the car shakes because low rpm engagement , in real life you can not do that, too slow,3 cars with pass you in other lane before you start. then I give some gas, but delay throttle will stall the car because by the time you give the gas , it will stall most of time, but if you give it tiny more gas it suddenly revs to 2krpm so you feel jerking too much when you drive like that. Basically I think the clutch in iM is useless, low rpm/weak power + delay throttle makes this car hard to drive. The only way is drive it like you are in hurry, it will creat some jerking feel because you have to “burning” clutch for 1/2 second while stepping the gas pedal. Shifting too slow will creating too much jerking/engine braking effect because delay throttle,so you have step on the gas a little more. But driving my mustang and tibron I can shift and drive like an automatic car, sometimes you can’t even tell it's manual, so easy to shift and the gas pedal feel instant. Other than that the riding position is too high, when you get out look at the floor panel, your car fram as you open the door, looks like there are many layers. And you can’t lower the driver seat. You can only tilt back,somewhat “lower” but the front is still fixed. I bet if it has 2L engine it will drive better.
 

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Throttle delay is very bad, this manual car is the trickiest I every drive, taught myself driving manual 5sp, 96 Honda Civic, then I bought 05 mustang gt with a S/C , now 01 Hyundai tibron . I stall on iM so easy it’s piss me off. It’s the way when you release the clutch and how the gas pedal feels and giving power. Let me explain:
When you drive a Manuel, you release the clutch until you feel the clutch completely grabs the flat wheel, then you give a little gas then you go. But with iM , it piss me off how it drives. What is it, weak power or the design. So when I drive , I release the clutch. The rpm drop to 300rpm to fully engage, that’s about to stall,plus you have to releas the clutch super slow then once you step gas pedal the car shakes because low rpm engagement , in real life you can not do that, too slow,3 cars with pass you in other lane before you start. then I give some gas, but delay throttle will stall the car because by the time you give the gas , it will stall most of time, but if you give it tiny more gas it suddenly revs to 2krpm so you feel jerking too much when you drive like that. Basically I think the clutch in iM is useless, low rpm/weak power + delay throttle makes this car hard to drive. The only way is drive it like you are in hurry, it will creat some jerking feel because you have to “burning” clutch for 1/2 second while stepping the gas pedal. Shifting too slow will creating too much jerking/engine braking effect because delay throttle,so you have step on the gas a little more. But driving my mustang and tibron I can shift and drive like an automatic car, sometimes you can’t even tell it's manual, so easy to shift and the gas pedal feel instant. Other than that the riding position is too high, when you get out look at the floor panel, your car fram as you open the door, looks like there are many layers. And you can’t lower the driver seat. You can only tilt back,somewhat “lower” but the front is still fixed. I bet if it has 2L engine it will drive better.
Same issue here, but only for the first 20 miles of owning the car. I just got used to it. Now, no more issues.... For the seats, I got used to my supra and tiburon (low seats) . Then, I figured out why the car seats higher... I got it set to a sweet spot and now, its the most comfortable car that I ever owned. Hipefully, it will be the same experience for you. You will get used to it...
 

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Same issue here, but only for the first 20 miles of owning the car. I just got used to it. Now, no more issues.... For the seats, I got used to my supra and tiburon (low seats) . Then, I figured out why the car seats higher... I got it set to a sweet spot and now, its the most comfortable car that I ever owned. Hipefully, it will be the same experience for you. You will get used to it...
Well, it took me around 30,000 miles to get used to iM weird clutch. I don't get it stalled as much now, but it still happens. iM is amazingly comfortable for a small car in this price range and it has enough room up front, even for a tall guy.
 

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Well, it took me around 30,000 miles to get used to iM weird clutch. I don't get it stalled as much now, but it still happens. iM is amazingly comfortable for a small car in this price range and it has enough room up front, even for a tall guy.
I asked the dealer at my 6 month check about the clutch engagement point and they said they will adjust it one time for no charge in the first 10k miles so that it engages lower. I just need to make an appointment to get it done. :D

I'm actually used to the higher engagement point but I want it lower so it's like all of my other MT Toyotas.
 

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Well, it took me around 30,000 miles to get used to iM weird clutch. I don't get it stalled as much now, but it still happens. iM is amazingly comfortable for a small car in this price range and it has enough room up front, even for a tall guy.
I think I got used to it pretty quick because of the rush hour traffic I go through everyday in Souther California freeway lol...
 

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I think I got used to it pretty quick because of the rush hour traffic I go through everyday in Souther California freeway lol...
I got used to it pretty quick so I'm wondering if I want to bother having it adjusted. I'm concerned that it may do more harm than good long term.
 
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