2004 Scion xA Page 1 Review — The Car Connection

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2004 Scion xA — 1 Review

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“Small are looking more and more designer footwear,” declared a as we walked up to the xA, the first he’d

I could see what he meant. it’s a lot more rounded its mechanical sibling the xB (popularly the xBox), the xA brings an unusual, that we could only describe as a “stout wedge.” Odd or It’s up to you.

But there’s no that the xA boasts some efficient packaging. Several shorter than a typical car, and rather narrow, the xA somehow allows four adults to sit comfortably — more than some much compact sedans and mid-size

Fun or just small?


marketers are finally figuring out if small cars are fun to drive, and if bring the comfort and convenience of larger cars, buyers come. The xA is such an example. on Toyota ’s global small-car introduced to the U.S. in 2000 the staid Echo sedan, the xA — called the ist in


— shares much of the underpinnings but everything else is inside and out. Scion, new youth-oriented division, operates in the U.S. (with the lineup on sale in the entire country), so the basic car is now sold as the Echo in Canada, although the equipment, and tuning of the car is quite different.

The packaging of the xA proves much practical and elegant for this car, not to mention the fashion-conscious magic. The driving position is and visibility is rather good in all You can barely see the hood. Tall can fit comfortably in the height-adjustable front and those under 6’-2” or so good legroom and can fit in the back without bowing their

The dash layout is something prospective buyers tend to love or hate. Along its relations the Scion xB and the Toyota and the MINI Cooper and Saturn the rather small gauge is in the middle of the dash, requiring the to bring his eyes over to the A fellow auto writer out that it eliminates the need to through the steering wheel at a angle to read the gauges. But I unconvinced that it’s an and not a distraction in eye movement.

Flamboyant interior, flamboyant system

Outside of the gauge the control layout is a bit flamboyant but Toyota. Steering-column stalks headlights, wipers, and cruise while the climate control has three primary twist-knobs. The system resides high—perhaps that it will be a big focus for who buy the xA. Standard is a powerful system, by Pioneer, which includes MP3 It sounds great, unlike the midrange-deficient systems in so many small cars.

Our test car had the Bazooka subwoofer and six-disc CD system ($774) with display. The large, tubular mounted in the back cargo eliminates some grocery-bag for the sake of panel-shaking bass. And if you cue up booty bass on the sound those panels do rattle.

there were no rattles or The interior materials are surprisingly for a car that starts in the $12k The dash is covered with a slightly soft textured material, and trimmed in what like brushed aluminum and a plastic. But everything is tastefully not cheap-looking, and put together well.

A cubby area resides at the bottom center area of the where several CDs or small could be stored. Its translucent is backlit with a nice hue — and we’ve been told the color is also customizable.

Nice, firm ride — but the potholes

Small, low-priced — especially those from — tend to play it far on the comfortable of the ride and handling balance, very soft spring and settings and lots of safe the kind that would grandma happy. Well, she complain about riding in the xA. The standard (very firm) might border kidney-shaking for in the pothole-riddled Midwest and Northeast, but for Coast roads it’s perfect.

Its standard suspension is firm, with very neutral handling response. in direction are crisp, without a lot of body motion. As we found out in harder cornering with a in the back, the back end becomes and bouncy and less predictable the limit. For those who want more control, through there are Toyota Racing (TRD) parts, including a brace, available.

With 108 hp, the engine is no powerhouse. A cold-air — yet another dealer-installed option—will get you a few horsepower. It feels peppy but not powerful. Peak torque of 105 isn’t reached until rpm. Keep the revs up the five-speed manual and there’s of power, but the automatic — not well to this engine — can get bogged

The five-speed gearbox shifts enough. It’s a bit notchy, but gear snicks neatly place, including fifth, is typically obstinate on some The clutch on our test car didn’t disengage until almost the floor, making shifts tedious than they be. A TRD quick-shifter kit is available as a dealer-installed to shorten throws, but we thought the shift setup felt

While the xA does have power, bringing the revs into the 4000-rpm range is for keeping up with fast So it’s quite impressive engine noise is seldom in the cabin and never buzzy, as is the in some other small costing much more. The xA has an layer of sound-deadening materials, and it the little car very civil There’s not much road either.

There aren’t cars in this size to compare the xA to. The MINI is in a much price class, and the Chevy is a bit cheaper. Having recently the Aveo, I much preferred the way the xA It feels more solid and than the Aveo, while more frisky and nimble,

Frugality a big plus

We saw about 32 mpg — to the EPA city rating — overall in urban and suburban driving a heavy throttle foot. In days of ever-uncertain pump that’s a big positive.

Toyota Toyota xa

With its proven Toyota underpinnings, the xA will likely be reliable and serviceable pretty anywhere that you could a Toyota, and we’re betting on a resale value over

This sort of car has been from the market for a long — one that can serve as an excellent car for mainstream suburbia, or one that a lot of character and is at least somewhat to youth.

Scion places a big on customization, with a long of dealer-installed appearance accessories and performance accessories. While likely don’t make money on the car itself, this is they cash in. In the dealer-installed our test car had a carbon-fiber-look appliqué set which we would have done without, plus attractive upgraded wheels a security system ($459), and the upgraded sound system. The factory option available on the xA is airbags ($650).

For young the xA can be a great first car with far personality than what you can get for less than fifteen Or if you’re looking for a second or car, wipe that torturous old hatchback out of your Stay light on the dealer-installed and you’re getting a great, equipped conveyance that’s fun to drive, and easy on your Leaves room for those doesn’t it?

2004 Scion xA

Base / as equipped: $12,480/$15,542

Engine: in-line four, 108 hp

Drivetrain: manual transmission, front-wheel

Length x width x height: x 66.7 x 60.2 in

Wheelbase: in

Curb weight: 2340 lb

EPA 32/38 mpg

Safety equipment: front two-stage airbags, brakes, electronic brakeforce

Major standard equipment . windows/locks/mirrors; air conditioning; tilt/telescope wheel; six-speaker, 160-watt, CD sound system; split-folding seats; rear wiper

Three years/36,000 miles; six miles powertrain

Toyota Toyota xa
Toyota Toyota xa


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