This youth-targeted hatchback looks cool, swallows a fair amount of bulky cargo, and is zippy on corners. But this derivative of the utilitarian Toyota Corolla is also saddled with an underwhelming four-cylinder engine that delivers lackluster acceleration. Its 0-to-60-mph time of 10 seconds is 1.5 ticks slower than the Mazda3's. It left us wishing for the 20 or 30 more horsepower offered by competitors.
The driving experience isn't helped by a continuously variable transmission -- which uses belts and pulleys rather than gears -- that attempts to mimic a regular automatic with artificial "shift" points. When asking for more power, you get more engine noise than forward thrust. One would expect great fuel economy as a trade-off. However, its 31 mpg overall is merely respectable and hardly a standout in this class. But don't write off the Corolla iM just yet.