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2017 Toyota Corolla iM - Hard To Beat At $20K

We spent some quality time with the 2017 Toyota Corolla iM and found much to love about this high-value hatchback.

Torque News recently spent some quality time driving the 2017 Toyota Corolla iM and came away very impressed. This $20K hatchback comes to Toyota by way of its now defunct Scion brand. The five-door, hatchback iM is the perfect counterpart to Toyota's Corolla sedan, and offers much of the same value and impressive content in a body shape that has more practicality.

The 2017 Toyota Corolla iM is a compact car that starts at just $19,615 including destination and delivery. Our test model had three options that most vehicles in dealer stock are likely to also have; A rear wind deflector, carpeted floor mats, and a cargo net. That pushed the MSRP up to $20,248 for our tester.

Safety in affordable compact cars is important. Size and mass are not on your side, so the fact that Toyota (only Toyota) offers standard active safety features such as forward collision prevention, lane departure alert, and automatic high beams gives this Corolla iM a decided advantage. These important crash-prevention features cost thousands as options on Toyota's competitors, but every iM has them standard (just like on the Corolla sedan). The iM has also scored well on every IIHS crash test conducted so far, which include the side-impact test and moderate frontal overlap test.

Inside our test vehicle had comfortable cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 7" touch-screen infotainment system with both Sat Rad and apps. Syncing our phone via BlueTooth was super easy and the system had much better audio than we expected at the price point.

Space in the iM is relatively generous and will compare well to a Mazda3. The iM is more of a classic car-style than, say the Kia Soul, another of our favorites at this price. That coziness lends itself well to spirited driving. This iM is almost exactly the same size, shape, and power as a 1990s Honda Civic Si, so there is fun to be had.

Our tester had the standard 137 hp four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. This is the perfect combination for such a vehicle and we enjoyed the smoothness of the engine. This is a not a pocket rocket like a Golf GTI, but it is also 50% less expensive than a Golf GTI. That said, there is plenty of scoot. The real news is the 30 MPG combined and 35 highway the iM earns in EPA ratings. The best Kia Soul with a stick shift earns just 27 MPG Combined and 30 MPG Highway.

Th attractive 17" alloy wheels wore all-season tires with a substantial sidewall protection bead that will help avoid rim-rash when parking in the city. Despite being low-profile, the tires offered a decent ride we would call comfortable.

Shoppers should also keep in mind that Toyota includes the first two years or 20K miles of maintenance on all iMs (all Toyotas actually). The maintenance is included in the MSRP and has a value of about $400 by our estimation. Pair that with the fact that Toyota is the top-rated brand for quality, durability, and reliability on pretty much every industry survey, and the Corolla iM has a definite advantage over other brands' offerings.

$20K is the new entry point for a decent car in America, and the 2017 Toyota Corolla iM is an impressive car with outstanding value for the dollar.