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Scion xA



  • Hi Everyone,

    I've gotten a lot of great info on these forums over the past few months! Many thanks!

    micweb & Mr. Shiftright, I have a few questions/concerns especially for you, (& all the other xA'ers out there).

    I live in So. California, single, no kids, commute is a question mark right now as I'm between gigs, but I probably need a car that can handle a daily 25-30 mile stop-n-go L.A. freeway commute. I live on a hill and encounter them somewhat regularly, (nothing like S.F. though), and I do live in a particularly windy area, the Santa Anas can get quite bad.

    I need to buy a new car soon and after my internet research the finalists are: corolla S, matrix, xA. I just added the xA to the list after I spotted a few on the road and fell in love! IMHO they are so much better-looking in real life than on the web.

    I really like the look of hatchbacks, (never had one before though). I truly adore the exterior of the Yaris L.B. but inside it is so spartan it hurts. Plus, the speckled upholstery reminds me of motel furniture.

    I still need to test-drive these cars. BTW, my first & last car was a 1989 Nissan Sentra.

    Ideally, here's how the pricing should break down with advertised specials, (a couple of which are at dealerships my family's had luck with before.) However, I've got it in my head that buying a new car without side airbags is a major sin, so my insistence on them might make securing these deals much more difficult since they don't usually have these models with side airbags on the lot.

    These are all automatics & these prices are pre-side airbags & (I believe) before destination charges.

    corolla S ..... $13,577

    matrix (incl. pwr w & d.l.) .....$13,295-$13,977



    -Am I complete moron for contemplating buying an xA, when,(if), I can get more power, more room and probably a higher resale value, with a Corolla S or Matrix for roughly the same money? I do think it is hands-down the cutest.

    -Compared to the Corolla and Matrix, is the xA's ride significantly rougher?

    -Will I survive in the xA trying to merge onto the freeway on-ramp? How about in the Matrix, which although it has the Corolla's 1.8 126HP engine, is hundreds of pounds heavier? (I'm pretty confident about the Corolla.)

    -Will freeway driving be noticeably more strained in an xA vs. Corolla or Matrix?

    -How about the xA on hills compared to the Corolla and the Matrix?

    -Which is best in real-world MPG?

    -Does the xA have Toyota's usually stellar reliability?

    Your advice, insights etc. are much appreciated.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Okay I'll try to answer your questions.

    BUT FIRST -- I think some of those advertised prices are come-ons and you won't get a Corolla or Matrix at that price -- you should use Edmunds pricing. Go to, click on new cars, and build your own and price it out with any options you want. These are REAL numbers

    Now to your Questions:

    -Am I complete moron for contemplating buying an xA, when,(if), I can get more power, more room and probably a higher resale value, with a Corolla S or Matrix for roughly the same money? I do think it is hands-down the cutest.

    ANS: I don't think these cars are the "same money" so you have to think of getting more BUT paying more. The Matrix is certainly bigger so has more for more power, maybe a little. But you will pay probably $3,000--$3,500 more and you'll get less economy.

    -Compared to the Corolla and Matrix, is the xA's ride significantly rougher?

    It's not "rougher", it's different because I believe the wheelbase is shorter. But if you're asking if the Scion xA's ride is harsh and annoying, the answer is no.

    -Will I survive in the xA trying to merge onto the freeway on-ramp? How about in the Matrix, which although it has the Corolla's 1.8 126HP engine, is hundreds of pounds heavier? (I'm pretty confident about the Corolla.)

    ANSWER: Personally I don't understand this talk about a lack of power in an xA. I never ever feel a lack of power unless I"m in the wrong gear (I have a stickshift). I'd say if you have an automatic you are going to have to be ready and able to manually downshift it and now and then drive it like a stickshift rather than wait for the transmission to automatically downshift.

    -Will freeway driving be noticeably more strained in an xA vs. Corolla or Matrix?

    ANS: The automatic is better than the manual on "top end". On my 5-speed manual car, I'd say things get strained at about 85 mph.

    -How about the xA on hills compared to the Corolla and the Matrix?

    Ans: No problem

    -Which is best in real-world MPG?

    city 31-32
    hwy 35-38

    -Does the xA have Toyota's usually stellar reliability?

    Approaching 15,000 miles, not a peep, rattle, burp, nothing, nada going wrong.

    SUMMARY: The xA is a great short commute car, great city car, very agile, fun to drive. Matrix is more practical for hauling (more space behind rear seats) and a bit longer legs on the highway, but is pretty boring to drive. Ditto Corolla.

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  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    The xA is the way to go. The Corolla and Matrix will drive you nuts trying to find one that isn't either stripped, or loaded. The xA only comes one way - loaded (except wheels), but at a cheap price.

    The engine, pickup, cruising speed etc. in the xA are all the same as in the Matrix or Corolla. It has a smaller engine but it is a slightly lighter car so it evens out.

    The xA has plenty of rear seat room, but not as much trunk space. If you don't use both rear seats often, storage is never a problem.

    The car will go as fast as you need it. I cruised all the time at 80 mph. The automatic has lower rpm than the stick shift, so you won't "feel" as though you need to upshift (passengers never noticed the motor, the car has good soundproofing).

    The ride on the 2004 xA was a little harsh. I understand they softened it a little (they also reduced the size of the rear headrests and made the aircon more effective). It's a great car.

    Try Longo Toyota in El Monte for a good selection. Absolutely, positively don't succumb to "extras" like an upgraded radio or wheels. Buy it stock, otherwise you'll give back on accessories the money you'll be saving on the car, and might as well shop for something else.

    The only "option" worth getting is side air bags. The Scion Security System is overpriced.
  • I have 06 RAV4 V6 model which is a great car, both city and highway. However I miss the 01 RAV4 that I previously owned for five years. I liked its smaller size and its functionality. I'm sorry now that I got rid of it. The main problem was that it was not nearly as quiet or comfortable on the highway. About a month ago I became smitten by the xA and finally bought one a week ago. It's a great little city car, and loads of fun to drive. Its suspension is far stiffer than either of my RAV4s and not nearly as comfortable on the highway. It rides well on smooth asphalt, but the expansion joints in a concrete highway are a real pain on long drives. The chop can become quite tiring. So I wouldn't recomment the xA as your only car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    You can buy the TRD (or similar) performance struts and it will vastly improve your ride by making the struts more compliant.

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  • Thanks for the input guys. :)

    jbrahms- Thanks for the candor. I'll definitely test-drive it on the freeway. I guess there is some subjectivity here.

    Does anyone have the weight of these 3 cars w/AT? I've found very different numbers on various sites.

    Will a cold air intake really increase horsepower and torque?

    I'll check on the price of TRD's performance struts. Mr. Shiftright, are you recommending the front strut tie bar or the struts/shocks kit? What about installation?

    If I get the struts and/or cold air intake, will my savings margin be eaten up?

    About the pricing, I completely understand your skepticism. But at one of these dealerships in Dec. '03 we purchased an '04 Corolla CE for the ad price of $10,995. Before that my sister bought a new '03 Camry at the ad price of $14,500 or $15,500, (can't remember which.) And this past spring, my Mom got an '06 Corolla LE with 6-cd changer & side airbags for $14,250, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

    Let's pretend for a moment that I don't have my head up my butt by believing I can actually get these deals. ;p
    Which is the best value at the prices I listed?
  • Are you recommending both TRD lowering springs and the performance shock set or just the latter. If I could get a more compliant ride, I might make the xA my only wheels. Do you have any idea of the cost (installed)?
  • Here are the weights of the 3 cars with automatic transmission:

    Honda Fit Sport 2551 lbs
    Scion xA 2380 lbs
    Matrix 2778 lbs
  • The Matrix comes in a 4WD as well as a 2WD. I quoted the weight of the 2WD. The 4WD weighs 2965 lbs, almost 200 lbs heavier.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    I really don't think you'll get those prices. A Matrix will cost you at least $16,000. The Corolla price you quoted is below dealer invoice, so there must have been some factory money in there is all I can think of. But the Corolla price is more realistic than a $13.5K Matrix. No way Jose if you ask me.

    I definitely recommend the rear sway bar on the xA...the front strut bar offers pretty subtle changes, maybe a bit quicker "turn in" when you are charging around a turn.

    Cold Air Intake depends on the design and the quality of the product. If well engineered, it will give you a little boost, sure, but it will probably make more noise than horsepower. If it were a true "ram-effect" cold air intake and not just a simple intake that replaces the stock box, I'd guess maybe 2 to 10 HP.

    I haven't done the struts and lowering springs yet, but TRD swears by their struts and I believe them. I'm not sure I want to lower the car however. It may hurt resale value.

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  • Mr. Shiftright,

    I'm puzzled by your comment that "You can buy the TRD (or similar) performance struts and it will vastly improve your ride by making the struts more compliant."

    In what way is the ride vastly improved? I called the Scion dealer to inquire about the TRD lowering spring set and the performance shock set and was told that they would make the car stiffer and therefore less comfortable. They are aimed at the sport driver rather than someone looking for an improved ride.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Sorry if I wasn't clear. I was thinking of the TRD performance struts but NOT the lowering springs....just the special shocks, which are more sophisticated than the OEMs...they aren't meant for a harsher ride but rather to respond more quickly to events....faster response rate gives you a better ride.

    Lowering the car of course gives less compliance in the springs, which WOULD increase harshness to some degree.

    This is why I advise people (and myself) to be careful not to ADD UP too many modifications that contribute to harshness....for instance, if you did lowering springs AND lower profile tires AND perhaps bought new alloy wheels that were sort of heavy (the cheaper kind)....well, you are going to deteriorate the ride somewhat.

    But just installing more reactive shocks would, I think, probably improve the overall ride of the xA, since it wouldn't tend to say "skitter" over corduroy roads or "pogo-stick" on one hard bump or thump as much on road cracks.

    Of course, this is my theory and my considered opinion. I haven't yet implemented this but I'm confident enough to buy these shocks myself in the near future.

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  • So is it safe to say that the consensus is pretty mixed when it comes to the xA's ability to handle high speeds? I have a 30 mile commute (one way) on an interstate, so I'll be going 80mph most of the time. I'm looking at an xA, but I don't want to get run over by a semi trying to merge!
  • Thanks for the clarification. Since you are going to install performance shocks in the near future, I'll wait for your evaluation.

    The xA is a very nice little car and fun to drive, but I would like to soften its response to rough road so it would feel more comfortable on long trips. The occasional rough patches around town are to be expected and no problem, but riding on a washboard concrete highway makes you yearn for a stretch of smooth asphalt.

    I actually prefer the lower power (103 hp) and torque (101 ft-lb) of the xA because the response to the throttle is not abrupt, yet quite adequate. I consider my 06 RAV4 (V6) to be overpowered with 269 hp and torque of 246 ft-lb. Getting a smooth acceleration from a standing start in the RAV 4 takes some care. You have to squeeze the accelerator pedal very gently to avoid a jack rabbit start. Each time I switch from the xA to the RAV4, it takes a little time to recalibrate, and it is still hard to consistently get a smooth acceleration.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    The consensus is mixed, I think (and I don't mean this in a derogatory way) between two groups: a) the people who own them and don't think there is any problem with highway speeds whatsoever, and b) the folks who don't own one and have only read other people's comments who also don't own them (like reviewers).

    If you want the Lexus sensory deprivation chamber type of 80 mph, then sure, don't buy a Scion. But if you don't mind the pleasant sound of a nice hi-tech 4 cylinder, there's no problem...I go as fast as I dare to go on California highways and rarely get passed by anyone except sheer lunatics doing 100. And I'm only to glad to pull over for them.

    What you DO have to keep in mind is that you have only 103 HP. The trick to driving an xA successfully, or ANY low HP car successfully, is ANTICIPATION...

    If you enter a California freeway on ramp at 35 mph in 5th gear and suddenly expect to get 5th gear torque like a Z06 corvette, you deserve the performance anxiety you are about to receive from the semi behind you; but if you "keep 'er on the cam" and realize that with this little engine your power is at 3,000 rpm and above, you'll be in 3rd gear on the on-ramp, not 5th.

    It's up to you. The car can deliver but you have to cooperate with what you got under the hood.

    Another "negative" -- at 80 mph you aren't going to get 40 mph in a Scion. More like 33-34.

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  • At 80 mph could I get 40 mpg in an automatic Corolla?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    I rather doubt it, but you know, I don't know.

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  • sac220sac220 CaPosts: 24
    I have a question for you micweb Not sure if you will know but here goes. My son has an xa and hr rolled it on its side. Slow roll but a roll non the less. Sat this way for maybe 1 hr till tow truck could pull it onto its wheels. I was wondering seeing as how it got oil into the cylinders is it best to run it till it stops smoking or what else coulld he do if anything? thanks and if anyone else knows would be much appreciated SAC
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    I'd put a can of strong injector cleaner in and go out and blast it on the highway. There shouldn't be TOO much oil in the cylinders.

    Worst case scenario is that the spark plugs foul and you have to replace them or at least clean them up. Also the catalytic converter might stress out and throw a code for the engine light, but this should clear up as you drive.

    Be sure, of course, to check the oil level!!

    I'm curious: did the air bags fire?

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  • I have a 2005 XA with 22,000 miles. It is a good car. The ride is kind of jittery, gas milage 34 in city, very comfortable. It is a gas to drive. The engine is real sweet! Although only 106 HP, it gets around town real good. I love the car. I paid 15k for the car but it has some extras: Cruise, Floor mats, Tint, Remote Entry. Unmathced city car.
  • Hello All, I love the idea of purchasing an xA but realize that they are not making them for 2007. Is this going to mean the resale price of these four to five years down the line is going to be bad for the seller? What about parts: will Toyota continue making parts for the xA years to come? Should we be paying significantly less for a new xA considering they're being discontinued?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    They seem to have a strong resale value. I just saw a 2006 for sale at the Toyota dealer, with 17,000 miles on it, for $14,888 and a 2004 for almost $12,000. This dealer pushes out a lot of cars so they must know they can get somewhat close to those asking prices.

    The xA shares a lot of parts with the Yaris. Probably the only parts that might be harder to find as the years progress (you may have to order them) would be large body panels.

    Old models of Toyota generally don't depreciate abnormally, only when the entire make of car is discontinued would you see that (e.g., Oldsmobile).

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  • autoboy16autoboy16 Posts: 992
    Well we got 42mpg going 90mph... It wasn't windy, it was hot, humid and the topography is flat for the 1st 250miles. GOTTA LOVE FLORIDA!!

  • autoboy16autoboy16 Posts: 992
    It isn't necessarily discontinued. Google 2006 Toyota Ist and Ractis. Its just being redesigned like the xB or toyota bB. Its cool looking and i hope that this/models replace the xB/Xa gracefully if it is the correct model. Just like back in 2002 and 2003 when waiting on the old model to come!!

  • the wheel bearings are bad on the rear at 49,000 miles
    new ones are about $400.00 for the part alone. any one had this problem????
    :cry: sign: broke
  • Check out the Chicago Auto Show, or The Car Connection to see the xD, due in 2008.

    16" wheels, side air bags, 128 horsepower, gauges in front of steering wheel, NO SIDE REAR WINDOWS which makes visibility even worse. Looks like a cross between the xB and a VW
  • Yes they are also in the scion website

    and i personally think that they look the same.. i like my xA better..
  • kimberlyxakimberlyxa Posts: 2
    Yes I had the same problem, and then the drive shaft had to be replaced.
  • kimberlyxakimberlyxa Posts: 2
    :cry: So far I have had to have the bearing in the front of both sides, then the drive shaft was "notched" and had to be replaced. Next the entire transmission failed. Right after I hit 62,000. my toyota dealership cut me a deal since it was RIGHT AFTER the warrenty was up. So it now has a new transmission.
    Yesterday the front axel broke off??? the AXEL!!! I mean what kind of car throws an axel?? I am fed up. :lemon:
  • I purchased a 2006 Scion XA at the end of February 2006. By Labor Day of that year, the first front wheel bearing went bad and had to be replaced under warranty. Five front wheel bearings later I have 133,000 miles on the car.

    One other beef: poor fuel economy. I've had the dealer check the engine a few times, always nothing wrong, but my highway economy is around 33 MPG and in city traffic, in the 25 MPG range. I've never seen 40.

    Oh, it also eats tires. I've had a couple of separated belt situations on the rear tires.
This discussion has been closed.