I've been attracted to the Scion xA from the first test drive. It's utilitarian, reliable, fuel efficient and fun to drive. And it's so darn cute! But I almost didn't buy it because Toyota does a terrible job of supplying dealers with cars that have both a 5-speed transmission and side head/torso airbags. Finally, I found one with the side balloons and bought it. I'm glad that I did. The first tank of gas delivered 35 mpg overall. I knew that Nissan, Honda and Toyota (with the Yaris) will debut similar little hatchbacks next year. The spy photos of those cars revealed they lack the elan and classy look of my xA. I'm sure that the xA's cache', and it's excellent fuel economy, will ensure it retains a high resale value.
The 5-speed transmission is smooth and the clutch is silky. The center mounted instruments took no adjustment time and are preferable to other configurations. The steering wheel mounted audio controls are a nice plus. The first two gears are "short" and help make chugging through snow pretty easy.
I would have bought the car even more quickly if cruise control (not offered at all) and keylesss entry (an option) were standard. Also, the engine revs at 3,000 rpm at 60 miles an hour. This is a little high for turnpike cruising, but okay for my needs which only occasionally requires expressway driving.