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Scion xA



  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I thoroughly enjoyed my xA in the approximately 10,000 miles I owned it. Crash tests indicate it is quite good, and with SIDE air bags will be better than most cars on the road (since side curtain air bags are so critical in any side crash due to the closeness of the head to the side of the car).

    The current model is super fine. If you care about such things, Scion indicated it is going to spruce up the Scion on a more accelerated schedule because it isn't selling as fast as originally predicted. This may be a sheet metal refresh, or may be a move to the newly introduced Vitz released in Japan.

    There are two schools of thinking as to when the new Vitz will make it over here: in early 2006 as a 2007 model; or on a normal 2007 release date.

    However, there is also word the 2006 xA will be out in June. Unless you have an immediate need, I'd wait until at least June to see what the model changes are. I'd also Google "Vitz" so see what the 2007 xA MIGHT look like.

    Finally, Honda is coming out with a competitor, the Fit or Jazz, which may be based on the first model released in Japan or on the newly released upgrade. It was rumored to have been released this spring, but now rumors are pointing to spring of 2007 (to let Honda clear out any inventory of 2005 Civics, which are being replaced by a bigger, better Civic). The Fit will be competitively priced, but may or may not have side curtain airbags. Honda's goal is "Safety for Everyone" or something like that, and they are promising side curtain airbags across the product line. Honda's plans have to be taken with grain of salt since they say they need an entry level car now that the Civic has grown to original Accord size, but on the other hand the xA's sales have been disappointing, suggesting America does not have the same love affair for small cars that Europe and Asia have....

    In any case the xA is a fine car, and we only sold ours to reduce our "fleet" from four cars to three (plus my wife needed an auto tranny).
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Marlene, also read the old posts...
  • Thanks so much for the valuable info. I will certainly do a search on the Fit. I'm glad you mentioned the redesign of the Civic. We were considering looking at a Civic Hybrid. We won't really need a third call until late next Fall when my daughter starts to drive, so we can certainly wait for the 2006 xA to see what it looks like, as well as the new Civic. I was called by a dealer yesterday and told that the xA R2.0 was just released in Blue. From the info he had it seems that it does not have a moonroof and cannot be gotten with side curtain airbags. I thought the reason that the xA R1.0 couldn't have air bags was because of the moon roof. I don't understand why side air bags on the R2 are not an option and why Toyota (er Scion) would make a car meant for the younger crowd without the option of getting them. By the way, the new R2.0 lists for $1,035 more than the basic xA. Thanks Marlene
  • geekaygeekay Posts: 51
    The Xa R 2.0 sems to be a letdown, even I had told my dealer to try and get me one but I am calling him to cancel the order. The base Xa is good enough but the Honda Fit will provide a serious choice for small hot hatch seekers.
  • Sophocles now has 130 miles on him. As a Honda owner since 1973, the last two were '84 and '91 Civic Wagons. I tried Mazda Protege, Suzuki Aerio, and Chevy Aveo. My ideal would be a Mercedes A Class which may never come to the states or the Honda Fit/Jazz which is yet to be seen here. I have been comparing the XA to the above vehicles since first seeing the XA in Nov 2003. Now that I have mine, and have read all 474 postings, I know I made the right decision. This is a city car and should be seen and evaluated as such; practical, maneuverable, relatively roomy inside for its size, and with all the latest required features. Cruise control and more power are really not necessary in this car. Despite marketing to the "tuner" crowd, I've seen a number of duffers like myself in XA's. No hassle buying, Toyota quality and service, upright seating, and efficient use of space. In my humble, aging, but knowledgable opinion, this is what urban cars should be like! :D
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    You forgot to add "smooth" and "quiet." :)
  • tmactmac Posts: 6
    My daughter is considering a 2005 XA. The ride is really downright harsh, though.
    I notice in the sales brochure that it's possible to replace the oem shocks and struts with a set that will provide a "more compliant ride". Anyone have any thoughts on or experience with this option? :confuse:
  • billmchalebillmchale Posts: 107
    After all the stuff in the 1.0, the 2.0 is a let down, heck it is little more than appearance package. 1.0 at least had traction control and a sunroof that could not be obtained in the
    basic car. Other than the color I don't see much to justify the extra cost of the 2.0 over the regular car.

  • 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: 5,675
    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:

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • 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 for the scary details of how important side curtains are.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,675
    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

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,675
    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.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • 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: 5,675
    are you missing your little xA Mini-fighter? :D

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • 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.
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