You should choose the manual, by the way. The six-speed stick is all Mazda, and we love it. Gear throws are short and snappy, and the clutch has a nice weight and crisp action. Driving the manual iA back to back with the six-speed iM really points out that Mazda makes a far better manual transmission than Toyota.
Great gearbox aside, on these canyon roads, we're feeling a bit let down. Never mind the acceleration issues, the iA just doesn't feel like a Mazda in the turns. Credit where credit's due: the steering is really nice, with a solid feeling on center and crisp turn-in and lots of feedback throughout the entire range of motion. But we're remembering the solid, planted feeling the CX-3 exhibited when we hustled it along the mountain roads of Arizona. And we aren't feeling it here in the Scion iA.
he Scion iA and Mazda2 are exactly the same just about everywhere else. The most obvious – and most offensive – differentiation is right up front, where the iA wears a restyled schnoz that's pretty darn ugly. Scion tells us that focus group participants gave this design positive praise, but we can't see how. It's like a sucker fish.