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Scion xA

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    If you are looking at the Civic LX, Corolla LE, and Mazda3, you should definitely look at the Elantra GT. You can get one with every option for under $15k, plus it offers a hatchback version which Civic and Corolla don't. And if your finances aren't as good as you'd like, check out the Elantra GLS, which comes well-equipped for under $13k after rebates and discounts. The Focus is also a good bet for a car under $15k--even Click and Clack have put their stamp of approval on it now, and the '05 model will have a mild redesign. If you are going to wait a year, you should also check out the '05 Spectra--yes, it's a Kia, but fully redesigned for '05 and all indications are it will be a very good small car, with a VVT engine, standard side curtains, and slick styling.
  • Thanks for the advice, but I'm a bit leery of Ford and the Koreans right now. Yes, Hyundai and Kia have fixed much of their past poor reliability, but their resale values are still lagging and I don't want to take a bath if I have to sell the car.

    Ford Focus- man, that thing was a recall nightmare, wasn't it? Again... yeah, I know, they've improved since then, but still I feel more comfortable with a company that got it more or less right the first time. Ford is having a lot of problems lately, IMO. So is Chrysler, though suprisingly GM seems to be making something of a comeback.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    I guess you don't want to consider the Mazda3, then, with all that Ford content. ;-) If you are concerned about resale value, Honda and Toyota are your best bets. Mazda doesn't fare much better than Ford or Hyundai in that area.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    2005 Vibe is on display for early release.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I currently own a Scion xA with stick shift and 5,000 miles, but in 2002 had an Echo with automatic for 7,000 miles. It's been my mother's car for about 14 months and now has only 10,000 miles, but it needed some warranty work from Toyota, so I loaned her one of my cars and brought the Echo back north. While I have it, I can't resist upgrading the Echo, partly for the fun of it, and partly before I do anything to the Scion xA which I might regret, and some of the upgrades are pertinent to this discussion (I also posted this to the xB discussion, since this xA discussion doesn't have many enthusiast posts).

    I am surprised how responsive the Echo is, even with an automatic. I guess that is the benefit of being about 400 pounds lighter than the Scion xA. I have to say the Echo automatic is about as perky as the xA with stick, although of corse the stick on the xA is more fun to drive.

    Likewise, although I don't have a tachometer to confirm it, the engine on the Echo with the automatic seems a lot less "busy" than the engine on my Scion xA stickshift. One person posted an rpm calculator which indicated 75mph on the Echo automatic is about 3,000 rpm, which may be right and compares favorably to the 3,750 rpm at the same speed on the Scion xA.

    The Echo automatic seems a tad - but only a touch - noiser than the stick shift Scion xA, which is surpising considering a good portion of the 400 pound weight differential on the Scion xA supposedly went into sound proofing. At highway cruise, the main difference in noise is some wind buffeting of the driver window on the Echo; this may be a factory defect and not a design weakness. Engine noise is low on both cars, noise up through the tires is similar. That having been said, the Scion feels much better than the Echo - solid, quite, deluxe. The Echo feels a little "tinny." But I can't put my finger on why, because the radio test - how loud I have to turn the radio on to hear it at highway speeds - indicates both cars are similar.

    Anyway, I dropped in a K&N air filter on the Echo (also fits the Scion, so relevant to xA owners) to see if there was any performance increase, and swapped out the factory muffler for a Dynomax Super Turbo, the 17709 verions which is 7" round and 18" long (ditto - fits the Scion xA with same set up; well I think it does, the overhang on the xA is obviously much less than the Echo). This new muffler is claimed to breathe much better than factory stock, but is very, very quiet. Truth is, I don't notice much difference in pep after the changes, but the motor doesn't seem to "roar" as much when it throws a downshift on a freeway onramp. Before there was a fair amount of pep, but a lot of roar, now there is a fair amount of pep, and a little growl. In other words, the factory system is not "choking" this motor, but it isn't the best "aurally."

    It does seem the Echo is stronger than I remembered. I attribute this to two things: Toyota engines are really tight, and once they break in will rev more freely and pull better; and now that I am long away from the break in period on the Echo, I use the throttle much more aggresively - I am not worried about hurting the car, and not worried about gas mileage - I just want to see what the car can do. Driven this way, the Echo is surprisingly sporty. I wish my Scion xA were 400 pounds lighter! But then, my Scion xA would probably "feel" more like a stripped down Corolla (which is how the Echo feels) and less like a miniature Lexus (which is how the xA feels).

    One piece of curiosity when the Echo, muffler was removed, is that there was no electrical plug into the muffler. The Echo brochure and website indicate that there is supposed to be an electrically operated "cut out" in the muffler that opens and closes based on engine load and rpm, to allow better breathing when performance demands it. In fact, there is NO electrical lead to the muffler. Maybe it's in the resonator - the resonator before the muffler is about as big as some Civic sport compact mufflers, and almost as big as the stock muffler, and in fact the car wasn't that loud with the stock muffler off altogether (the muffler shop tried Flowmaster and Magnaflow mufflers before I settled on the Super Turbo).

    So why am I reporting this? Because on my xA, I get a boom/resonating noise between 65 and 80. It's about the only thing I don't like about the xA (other than the laughable "trunk") and I'd like to get rid of the droning noise. My bet is a Super Turbo will do the job, at a lot less cost (and possibly less noise) than the TRD aftermarket muffler. The overall increase in exhaust noise will be less, and in fact the Super Turbo has a nice "sound" to it.

    I paid $165 for parts and installation - $120 of that was a parts charge for the Dynomax 17709 muffler which is no longer current stock (the 17710 is the same size, slightly larger input and output, but easily adaptable to the Echo's tiny pipe size). I found out after the fact that you can mail order Dynomax's for considerably less - the 17710 mail order is only $67!

    Any one else done intake or exhaust work yet?
  • Great write up.
  • I am planning to buy a Scion xA. I have a couple of questions regarding the options. First of I have a comment about the options. I think they are pricey. Anyway, here are my questions:

    1) What does the cold air induction system do? Is it worth getting this option?
    2) Same question for the Front Strut Tie Bar.
    3) Does one have to buy the entire security package priced at $ 499 to get a remote keyless entry?!!

    Any other advice and comments are welcome.

    Thanks,

    Sam
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Anyone have an inside scoop on cruise control? This is a major hurdle for me because of the amount of driving I do. I don't want aftermarket unless maybe you can have Toyota install it from the Echo parts bin.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Cold air induction systems feed the engine 'cold' air from under the wheel fender (instead of air that's warmed up in the engine compartment). I haven't used one but they're known to make the throttle more responsive and have a nice sound. Some say they add power to an engine it's only a couple of hp, only noticeable at high rpm, and varies per car. Probably worth it if you like driving spiritedly (and drive stick... I suspect an automatic transmission would get rid of the responsiveness advantage and keep you away from the high rpms that CAIs are best in).

    The front strut tie bar increases handling, but only near the limit. Farther from the limit, it won't be noticeable. For most people, it's a purely asthetic thing... there are more effective mods if you're trying to increase handling.
  • I was told by a Scion staffer at the SEMA show that the strut tie bar stiffens up the whole body structure and is a good investment. THE CAI makes a loud sucking sound and that's about it.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A writer for a national news publication is working on a story that seeks to find out what young people want in their cars. Any Scion owners out there? Anyone shop a Scion and decide against it? If neither, what do you like? If you’re under 25 years old and recently bought a car or will do so very soon, the writer would like to talk to you. You must be willing to be quoted by name. Send an email with your phone number to carguy147@hotmail.com no later than Tuesday, February 2/24/04 and an interview time can be setup.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I came across this body kit after seeing something similar in the parking lot at the local Safeway:

    image

    image

    image

    Now, I'm no fan of 2" drops and 19" wheels and 30-series rubber, but this looks really good to me otherwise. The grille is a huge improvement just on its own!

    If they start offering a super or turbo and go disc at all four corners, I'm interested. Very hip little ride.
  • looks so very cute, I just want to hug it.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,728
    That's what the photos look like to me.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Well, it is pretty much a mini Matrix after all, isn't it?

    Wait, are we saying Matrix is eee-vil?

    :O
  • jlgoldenjlgolden Posts: 32
    I have contacted Scion twice regarding cruise control, specifically asking if the ECHO add-on system is compatible. They responnded that cruise should not be added to the XA or XB. This oversight makes thes cars useless to highway commuters!
  • Couldn't agree more- cruise control is a useful (and relatively cheap) feature. This one of the cars' few glaring weaknesses. Hope they rectify it for '05.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    I'm guessing that either 1) by the offical North East June Launch or 2) by Model Year 2005, there will be a cruise control option.

    I wonder if you could get one from the Japanese version.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    It's interesting how some people like cruise control so much. I rarely use it. Maybe on very long stretches of open road, LA - Vegas or something.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Posts: 518
    fdanna-

    Just FYI, the Northeast launch already happened (2/1/04). Haven't seen one on the road here in PA yet though...

    -Andrew L
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    The "official" launch is June, even though the cars are available now. They'll officially launch the cars, including the new tC.

    At least that's what I how I understood it from the website.
  • montazhmontazh Posts: 8
    attn. to "micweb" in particular, but pls answer if you have any feedback. what's up with the aircon unit? is it still weak, did the car repair shop improve anything for you?
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    They're in denial. I will push harder when summer comes. They say Toyota's test routine only allows testing when the ambient temperature is above a certain level. Meanwhile there are bubbles in the sight glass, and they tell me that's normal too. Ugh.

    Otherwise I am liking the car more and more. The suspension is breaking in and not so harsh anymore, the shifting (manual) is less notchy, this car takes a long time to break in!

    Sometimes no boom at 75mph, other times boom from the exhaust. I think it has to do with the valve in the exhaust that is supposed to open and close for performance. Generally if I have been driving sedately, and then cruise, it is quiet, but if I have been driving sporty, then cruise, it booms.
  • montazhmontazh Posts: 8
    does anyone have a fair opinion on whether it's better to purchase the scion xa in stick or auto? equal opportunity transmission please - don't say stick if all you ever drive is stick. i'm considering purchasing stick due to its cheaper price and better pick-up...however i usually drive automatic and don't know if the transition to drive stick will be extra difficult if it's "notchy" or hard to handle. i DO know how to drive stick, but am no expert sports car driver by any means.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    I've driven stick and automatic Tercels - which had the same place in Toyota's lineup as far as powertrain goes - and with such small engines stick is much easier to live with.

    I don't recommend stick if your driveway is steeply inclined... where you might simply not move in an automatic you'll roll backwards a bit with a stick. Of course then you have the problem of not moving, in which case you wouldn't be considering the Scions...

    Stick also sucks in 2mph traffic, though automatic is worse in stop and go where the stops are long (squeezing the brake in the AT vs feet off the pedals in the MT).

    I'm not consistent about shifting smoothly, and it's embarrassing to see my passengers' heads bobble all the time. I don't think I can blame the lack of a tachometer or the soft suspension for most of that.

    But, the automatic tercel felt dangerously slow when it was time to get on the freeway if I was carrying passengers or cargo, or the onramp was long. Just not responsive at all. I find myself at pretty high rpm's often now (in the stick tercel) and it makes driving much more enjoyable. It's even fun, whereas the automatic was anything but.
  • Hi, I'm new to the board and I am looking into buying the new Scion xA and would like some input. For anyone who currently owns it or just knows a lot about cars especially the xA, what is your opinion of the handling, driving on highways, vibration, quality and power and what can I do to get more power if needed? I will be adding some 17" rims and tires shortly after so will that help with any of the noise. Does the automatic have enough power when driving longer than 10 miles on highways to keep up?

    Let me give you details and please tell me if you think this is a suitable car for me.

    I'm an at-home wife (starting a family within a year). I live in Atlanta Metro area where traffic gets rough but I live in the burbs so I don't have to face the traffic really depending on time of day I get out. I prefer the automatic as I barely know how to drive a stick. I just want a car that is good to run errands and get out of the house but safe and reliable, inexpensive as I will be paying cash and would like to keep it for at least 7-10 years.

    I really don't have to drive because my husband drives mostly but I want a car. I will probably drive anywhere from 3-4 days a week locally for shopping, hanging out, basic errands. I'm not looking to speed on the road but want enough power to feel safe on the highway without the trailors and SUVs running me over lol. Driving distance will be between 1-7 miles when I do drive. If you think it lacks sufficient power and handling, what basic less costly things can I do to improve these things. Also, I'm short so good visibility is a big concern for me which the xA does provide. I'm not a fan of Ford's unless someone can convince me otherwise but I figure Scion is toyota-built so I am looking in that direction. Do you think the Automatic xA is right for me or should I consider something else in the same price range? I started off looking at the Civic LX, Corolla, Mazda3,Mazda Protege and Hyundai Elantra but since I won't be driving on a regular I scratched the thought of paying 15-17K for a car in cash. Also, what are the chances of haggling a Scion dealership if I pay cash?
  • cartagramcartagram Posts: 115
    Maria...how about a used Civic? They can be purchased at about the same price as a new Xa, or cheaper, and will be as reliable, larger, and likely safer than the Xa.

    A Honda dealer can sell a certified used car, which means it will have a much longer powertrain warranty and a bumper-to-bumper 1 year warranty.

    Something to consider.
  • I first checked out the new civics and also certified civics and last I checked they wanted 15,900 for a certified 2003 Civic. I'm hoping to pay a little less than that. But if I get lower trim levels I won't get ABS brakes. So I'll keep checking to see if I can find a certified one at a pretty good price. The only downside is that the civic doens't provide great visibility for me in the back but it is better than the Corolla's front end visibility. Thanks again I will check into some others. If anyone else has any other suggestions please let me know :)
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    17" rims are likely to make the ride harsher, and unless you buy really lightweight wheels, adversely affect your acceleration.

    If you like this general shape of car (I do too), you can also look at the Suzuki Aerio. Comes with a much more powerful engine, and can be haggled down quite a bit.
  • You can also check out the Chevrolet Aveo hatch. The Aerio on hatch form might be more than you want to pay. Also, there's the Suzuki Forenza sedan. It MIGHT be possible to get a Mazda 3 sedan in the "i" trim level for $15k, but it's not terribly likely. More likely is an Elantra in non GT trim, which you can probably get pretty cheap (Even the GTs go for fairly cheap, just not AS cheap). But if you want a really good, versatile errand-runner, stick with the hatchbacks (Aveo, xA, Elantra).

    Oh, I know you're not a big fan of Ford, but a Focus ZX3 (Comfort trim) or ZX5 (Base trim) might be worth a look; they have $3k worth of rebates until June, which puts them square in the middle of your apparent price range.
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