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Scion xA

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  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    That's misleading. You probably saw "more compliant" in a description of the TRD suspension parts (offered by the excellent Toyota Racing Division parts performance wing of Toyota). All reports indicate the TRD parts are firmer, not more compliant.

    I once replaced the stock shocks on the Echo (similar to Scion xA under the body), and improved the ride; I used Monroe shocks which were designed and made in Europe for their version of the Echo, and they worked well.

    Unfortunately, the xA weighs considerably more than the Echo and the Monroe shocks designed for the Echo won't work here. The last time I checked, Monroe did not have any replacement shocks for the xA, but you could keep checking.

    In any case, most aftermarket shocks are firmer, not softer.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    was the ride in your xA "firm" or fairly tolerable? I mean, over rough road surfaces it's gonna bounce around a lot, but was the ride reasonable? I'm taking a little bit of a look at the RS 2.0 xA in Blue Mica. I remember you posted a lot about the ride of your Scion xA but I can't remember the finer details. :confuse:

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I should start out by saying that the handling on the xA, completely stock mechanically but with a slight upgrade in tires (to 195 Kumho Ecstas all season) was awesome; better than my original 2001 Golf, better than any of my Focus ZX3's, better than a Cavalier (don't laugh, they handle pretty well!), and better than my current 2004 Golf which has an Autotech rear sway bar (reduces the understeer and handles much better than stock). Better than Neon (which is traditionally good).

    But, that is at the price of "firm" valving on the shocks, and a "firm" ride. Not harsh, like on lowered cars (Eibach springs) or with stiffer shocks (like Tokico's) but firm. Coupled with the short wheelbase, you are really going to know you are driving. It's a lot of fun to toss around, but during the initial few thousand miles of break in, you might find it a little to firm for comfort. After a few thousand miles, it loosens up a little. I ran my tires at 35 psi, some people run them a little softer which can also help. Also some tires have stiffer sidewalls, which on a car this close to the limit of comfort, can make a difference. The stock tires are soft sidewalls; V-rated tires will probably be too stiff; H-rated Bridgestone 950's would be what I'd use if I did it again.

    If you are used to driving most small cars, you would probably consider this an "upgrade" over the stock suspension, but not harsh. If you drive a big car with a stock suspension, you would probably find this harsh. It's very subjective and depends on where you are coming from. Keep in mind that it will break in; and also keep in mind that it is nowhere near really harsh, like aftermarket suspensions. One mechanic told me there are three grades - soft from the factory; firm or sporty from the factory; and aftermarket. This is the middle grade, firm or sporty from the factory, but not really "harsh."

    Good luck, try driving the car at several dealers over different road surfaces so you can spend more time in it. I find I am sort of glazed over learning the controls on my first test drive, and don't notice the nuances until later.

    Also consider an automatic instead of a stick. The stick runs high rpm at freeway speeds, which is a little annoying. The automatic is still brisk, but you feel like you have more in reserve if you need to scoot into the 80's for a pass. Due to the high body profile and small size, I never took mine over 90, but some people have taken it close to the limit (100 or so). That is how well it handles - it doesn't feel insecure at speed or in crosswinds.

    If you are willing to order (why not, they are all the same price!) you can get side curtain airbags for about $650, a great long term investment. Ordering takes about 30 days - they don't really order from Japan, from what I understand, they just grab one in transit headed towards the docks - it's the advantage of a car that only has two options, the automatic and the airbags. I think in a few years used cars with side curtain airbags will sell for a premium that will more than recoup your initial extra expense. While the xA won't take a side impact from an SUV or compact truck well, it will do quite well in terms of body integrity if a mid size passenger car bones you, and the side curtain airbags add a lot in that context. Check out www.iihs.org for the scary details of how important side curtains are.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    I stopped by a dealer in the town I'm working in now that has tC's and xA's out in the lot. They were closed so I just browsed around the cars and peeked in the windows for a bit. Here's some thoughts of mine minus the all-important test driving.

    The Scion tC they had on the lot in Azure Pearl is quite striking. They also had a RS 1.0 tC but I don't like it's factory wheels much. I do like the Red. There is just something about that design that says "Hey, look, I'm a modern day '72 Celica!" I love it! The car just looks like a little slotcar, not just any slotcar, but your favorite. The kind you carried around with you, not just raced on the track. I would like 4 doors, so there's my quasi-dilemna. Get the Blue Streak Mica xA RS 2.0(ordered) for a bargain price of $14,745, OR, get the Silver Streak Mica tC 5-speed right off the dealer's lot in Sioux Falls, SD. I'm moving to South Dakota next month and want to purchase my Scion in that state. The dealer was telling me of a "tent sale" there this weekend but I'm 800 miles SE of him right now in mid-Missouri so that won't work.

    The stock xA's I peeked in the windows at looked awfully small. Do they seem roomier once you've plopped your fanny down inside, micweb? If they do, and I like the ride, the RS 2.0 is up there neck and neck with the tC. If they do seem too small for us(wife and I)the xA will be immediately scratched from my (our, but mostly mine!) list. My wife doesn't really wanna part with our Sportage 4x4 at all.

    Which brings me towards the conclusion of this long and rambling post. The Sioux Falls dealer(the largest car dealer in SD)also sells Kia's. Our fun wouldn't be complete without a new Kia Sportage test drive, but 3 in one day is pushing it and we will live some 200 miles west of the dealer! Gonna be interesting. Oh, if decent Sportage trade-in isn't possible, we'll be keeping our Sportage and I"ll keep trying to win a 2006 Hyundai Sonata online. You know that feeling ahead of time that you get though when you kinda know your dealer is going to make a good deal "just for you" that will work for you? I'm picking up that kind of a wavelength. I will "get up and walk out of the showroom" if I don't have my pre-selected sales/trade-in criteria met by them. I won't hesitate a tad. At least not much of a tad. You know what I mean. Used vehicles won't do, either. Go figure. Oh, Scion offers a $400 college gard discount that I will get if we go with their financing. Neato. First 3 LOF's free, too. Cool.

    Anyhoo, before this turns into a sellable short story worthy of being on the Oprah show or something, here's a brief summary: I love the Scion tC, but I want four doors. The Blue Streak Mica xA RS 2.0 fits that bill, has illuminated cupholders and dash, foglights and sporty grille, and nice, sporty alloy wheels available (yep, I'd order them, they look nice). Dealer is hinting at lots of rebates and incentives(with Scions?)available right now. The 2005 Kia Sportage looks bold and ornery and agressive in person and we love our 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4. Actually, there's no huge reason to trade-in right now, save for this writer's strange, nutty obsession withthis new Scion tC and xA RS lineup, and better gas mileage with both the xA and tC.

    Whatever we do will be taken care of in the 3rd week of May or so, after we settle in for a day or two in South Dakota. You better believe it I'll post the results in here. micweb, anyhing else you can add about the stock xA would be great. I know you've posted extensively about the little gas-miser, and I've read 'em all! :D

    Oh, did I mention yet that I'd love to get my grubby paws on a Revell-type plastic model of a Scion tC? :P

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    I'm just curious. I know you've traded in your xA and you've discussed the Scion xB before, too, just in general. Actually, you were going to buy one but you guys bought a Honda CRV instead. Here's my curiosity: how come you never mention the Scion tC? Not your cup a tea?

    I just re-read all of the posts in this thread (you've got to like the xA to re-read all of the posts in this thread!)and your knowledge of the xA has been extremely helpful to people like myself who want buying information on cars. I also like the Scion tC along with the xA but you have never mentioned it? Whaddup?

    I think the tC is a real knockout to look at and also a great value IMHO.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    Micweb I DID read the old posts! I thought I deserved the prize for the guy who buys a perfectly good new car and the tinkers around with it (changing tires, exhaust, shocks...) in attempt to make the car I really want (and probably the car is was never designed to be :blush: ). However, I believe you deserve the title! CONGRATULATIONS and thanks for all your insight on the xA. :D

    I recently drove an xA and found it much as you said: Peppy enough, comfortable enough though a bit rough riding, and a bit quirky. Also drove the TC which is much more refined and has a very nice balance of performance and comfort. All things considered though, for my daily driver/ghetto cruiser, I would probably opt for the xA for the the much better gas mileage. When comfort is the order of the day, I'll drive our A4. However, I think I'll hang in there with the ol' 92 Civic Si for up to another year wishing and hoping that the Jazz makes to our shores in the next year.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Glad you liked the xA. If you can wait a little longer, the 06 Civics will have stronger bodies (think: severe IIHS side crash test) and side curtain air bags standard, a big step up in safety. I suspect Toyota will follow at some point; at least more xA's are coming through with side curtain bags, although the xA is on an older platform. As an older platform, it passes the NHTSA govt. side impact test even without side curtain air bags (but NHTSA doesn't score for head impacts, which are the killing part of the equation) and should be pretty safe with the side curtain bags (which will protect your head). But the NEW xA, due in spring 06 as an 07 model (if rumors hold true) MAY have a stronger structure to pass the IIHS side test. Fun, huh?

    BUT no matter how you slice and dice it, the '92 Civic is in another galaxy at this point - an unsafe galaxy - for front, offset, and side impacts, so it is probably a nifty idea to upgrade at some point rather than holding on to an otherwise serviceable vehicle. The last decade has seen VAST improvements in safety...

    Happy hunting, let us know what you end up with!
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    Micweb, now you sound like my mother! Actually I am sure you are correct.. Anything pre-2000 compared to the 2003-2006 crowd probably qualifies for Ralph Nader's famous quote "unsafe at any speed" -- at least in a relabive sense. Still I know personally know people who walked away from major crashes with large vehicles in a 87 Ply Colt, 89 Ford Festiva... Interesting how our concern for personal safety seems to have racheted up these days. I guess most people don't feel particularily comfortable in meeting their Maker!

    So far I have survived, but won't mind having a safer box when I buy again!
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    are you missing your little xA Mini-fighter? :D

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Yes, actually, I miss it, it had really taut handling and a build quality I can't believe. Word is out on the detailed changes for '06 which sound nice, but no word on the major revamp Toyota talked about earlier this year. I'd like to see it slot in larger than it is now, but smaller than the Matrix, which seems gargantuan in comparison.

    Any word from our carrier-route driver? He must be mid-teens on his xA by now.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    the route-driver. The xA would fit his bill very nicely. I'm still considering an xA, or a Kia Spectra5, or a Kia Sportage 2WD FWD 5-speed. 5-speed stick in each and every rig I get from here on out, actually. I'll definitely post in here what I eventually decide to do.

    I followed a great tip on windshield wiper squirter operation. Mine were plugged and not squirting bug juice correctly onto my windshield, so I went online to try and get some answers. Turns out a simple pin needle cleans them out fairly well. They can get wax build-up that plugs them up. At least it opened up one of mine well and I can squirt bug juice happily onto my windshield again! Whoo-hoo! ;)

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • not2savvynot2savvy Posts: 1
    My ex-wife is seriously into buying an xA. She was told she has an option to upgrade to 17 inch wheels from 15 inch wneels? Do you, or anyone out there, have comments on "upgrading" to 17 inch wheels? Particularly interested in safety, handling, comfort. thanks for your comments in advance.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    It's not in any way, shape or form an "upgrade." It's purely stylistics. You won't have enough rubber to really protect the rims. I had the stock 15" wheels on my former xA and the car handled better than almost any other cars I had owned before (cars like the Neon and Focus ZX3). Look at the pricing on 17" inch wheels and tires. This is only an upgrade to the dealer's profit.

    Keep in mind that ultra low profile tires on a car designed for them, like a BMW 3 series, are not the same as such tires on a subcompact commuter car. This is a Scion xA, not a Ford Focus SVT, or a Cobalt SS, or a Neon SRT; the suspension on the xA is not set up to take advantage of racing tires/wheels, and the downside - easy rim damage - isn't worth it.

    Some newspapers (NY Times) and auto press has also reported on the dangers of heavier rims (larger rims) on cars - the suspension may break, breaking is not as effective.

    If you really want to upgrade, buy the car with stock tires and wheels then order a set of 16" rims with tires from Tirerack.com - you'll get much better pricing, a better choice of tires, better balancing (Hunter Road Force), and can choose from true lightweight rims like Kosei; weights on rims can vary from 13 pounds for ultralight to 20 pounds, which is heavier than stock steel wheels.

    Scion.com only offers 15" alloy wheels, I believe. Go there and try "build your scion" then click on "wheels" at the top. What the dealer is offering you is pure aftermarket.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    an xA's wheel size, micweb. Spoken from one who has owned and enjoyed their xA already. I was not comfortable with the idea of "upgrading" to 17" wheels on a small car with a short wheelbase like the xA. Also you would be asking for poor handling, rim damage and also very probable miscalculations from your xA's odometer because of the wheel size to wheelbase and FWD dynamics going on. Some simple physics state that the move is not a smart one for the xA.

    I can't wait for the RS 3.0 to come out! Still driving and enjoying my '01 Sportage 4x4 and watching the xA world go around in the meantime. :D

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    1.0

    image

    or 2.0

    image

    Now that is taking the jelly bean or the egg and styling it up! Which one would you choose?

    The angle of the 2.0 picture makes the car look bigger than the 1.0, sorta, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    the red paint on the 1.0 really made the car stand out - it was a very nice color. The blue 2.0 looks like just another blue car - very ordinary. (and I like blue)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    it shows how much snap (a lot) alloys give this car. It is too bad they can't figure out a way to make alloys standard, maybe bump up the price a couple of hundred $$.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,671
    Are you just looking for opinion on color?

    I see VERY little difference in these 2 pics aside from color, wheels, foglights, and a slightly larger grille on the blue one.

    By the way, i prefer the red.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    you like the best, the RS 1.0 in Absolutely Red, or the RS 2.0 in Blue Streak Mica. I like them both, though the red gets the slight nod because it just looks so...hot! They picked a great shade of red for the 1.0 IMO.

    Yeah, the alloys would be a must for me if I pulled the trigger on an xA. I would want to see the RS 2.0 in person to get the true affect of that blue color in the daylight. Both rigs have great wheels, I like them both. The RS 2.0 does have a metallic paint finish and I love metallic paint jobs. The interior special lights both rigs have are not a big deal to me, but I do love the foglights against the blue paint, the crystal against solid look that is very cool.

    I remain very interested in either one of these Scion's.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    The color of my next car is going to be A.B.R. (anything but red)! My Ford Aspire is red, and after ten years I want something different.

    As for the discussion about 17 inch wheels a few posts back: I test drove a Scion xA with the lowered springs and 17 inch wheels and it totally put me off the xA. The ride was so harsh, it was like the Princess and the Pea; you could feel every imperfection in the road. Yesterday I noticed they had a different xA out there- one with stock wheels. It was still a little harsher than the other cars I drove, but was in the pack with them... and had a nice sporty feel. For a tall car, it cornered nice; much better than, say, the Aveo, which leans quite a bit.

    I had pretty much dismissed the xA as a reasonable option with the 17's, but after driving it with the stock 15's, it moved back up on my list; it's neck-and-neck between the xA and the Suzuki Reno. I like the Reno a lot based on driving impression, but it's a Suzuki made by Daewoo and gets almost 10 mpg less than the xA (which tranlates to almost $30/month in gas). And the two cars are virtually the same price, at least online. From what I hear, Scion dealers don't haggle, but the Suzuki dealer may come down, especially after the 06s arrive. If I can talk them down enough, it will be the Reno, I think; otherwise, the xA is a decent alternative. I just wish it was a little bigger.
  • tundradudetundradude Posts: 588
    Its going to be interesting if Toyota releases a Echo HB (or whatever they name it)to compete with the xA, because the Echo will be slighlty bigger
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    The salesman said the Toyota Echo is done and they're not getting any more. Ever. (Don't know about a replacement.)
  • rossm2rossm2 Posts: 96
    Wrong! The new Echo hatch is 150.6" long, still a bit shorter than the xA. It will also be lighter (heaviest version is 2,385 lbs.). I have posted most of the specs on the "2006 Echo" Forum if you are interested. The figures are for the Canadian Echo, but are almost identical to the JDM Vitz.
  • tundradudetundradude Posts: 588
    I was in Montreal about two weeks ago, and I saw Echo HB's running around everywhere. Thats interesting that it is shorter then the xA or xB. I thought it was a much nicer alternative to the Echo Sedan. But being 14 inches shorter is a big difference. Thats even smaller than a MR2. I know having one of these in Montreal would be much nicer than my Tundra I had to park there. That was an experience.
  • chrisducatichrisducati Posts: 394
    I asked the same thing as was told that the Echo was removed for the US line up because of lack of sales. So, Toyota should have had the hatchback here the whole time. I hope the Yaris comes to the States.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Echo arrives next summer in the United States - not sure what Canada is getting. If it follows the general rule of car model updates, it will be bigger, and might outsize the xA at that point. Of course, who knows what the future holds for the xA. And I figure they might not call the next model "Echo" in the U.S. due to its loud and unceremonious crash in the marketplace when it was here before.

    They will bring the hatch here next time, I bet. By then a direct competitor will have emerged - the Fit. Not to mention the micro-Nissan that is coming within two years.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • rossm2rossm2 Posts: 96
    Check my posting on the 2006 Echo thread for the information on the Canadian Hatchback. It is smaller than the current xA, but larger than the current HB. In Canada it will continue to be the "Echo" as it is one of the top 10 selling cars - I have the latest spec sheet for the 2006.

    Ross
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    the car I am referring to will debut next summer as a 2007 model.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,713
    for looks at the small car Toyota future, though. Yaris or Echo or xA or whatever the Echo-replacement will be called in the U.S. in 2006, you'll find pictures in that thread that will resemble what you're gonna see here next year. I've added the 2006 Toyota Echo to my Edmund's searches now and have benefited from them.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

This discussion has been closed.