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The Scion brand was created in 2003 by Toyota as a way of connecting to younger buyers with savvy tastes. One of its launch vehicles, the Scion xA, was an inexpensive hatchback marketed through hip promotions that emphasized its unique style. Owners could customize the xA with more than 30 accessories available at Scion dealers. Even with this strong pitch to trendsetting youngsters and auto enthusiasts, the Scion xA soon gained a reputation as a sensible subcompact with premium build quality and standard features.
Most recent Scion xA
Launched as a 2004 model, the Scion xA lasted just one generation, as Scion sought to keep its youthful portfolio fresh. A refresh occurred in its final year of 2006, so older xAs have some visual differences and some slight variations in the interior features, including the Pioneer sound system, steering wheel, speedometer and seat fabric.
The Scion xA came in one body style -- a four-door hatchback. For a subcompact, the xA had a noticeably upscale look and feel. The gauge pod resided in the center of the dash and glowed amber, while the dashboard had a contemporary appearance, with faux aluminum trim tastefully placed down the center console, door panels and steering wheel. The seating position was high, and headroom and legroom were decent in both the front and rear. But you couldn't haul too much cargo, with just 11.7 cubic feet of hatch space behind the rear seat.
The xA was also well-stocked with standard features, including air-conditioning; antilock brakes; power door locks, windows and mirrors; a rear wiper; and rear window defogger. Scion also provided the xA with a premium stereo -- a sound system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary input jack. Among the optional equipment was an 8-inch subwoofer, an iPod adapter, satellite radio and an airbag package with front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
Power for the Scion xA came from a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine rated for 103 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission was standard and a four-speed automatic was available as an option. With either transmission, the Scion was pretty frugal, with EPA city estimates of 31-32 mpg and highway ratings of 37-38. For those looking to improve the xA's performance, Toyota Racing Development, Toyota's in-house performance department, offered quite a few parts, including intake and exhaust, shocks and lowering springs, and a performance clutch.
Buyers could also customize their xA's appearance with dealer-installed accessories such as a rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and a variety of wheel covers, sport pedals and shift knobs.
In our review of the Scion xA, our editors found it to be quite a competent commuter. On highways, the ride was smooth. The small engine didn't provide much passing power, but around the city, the xA offered plenty of pep. It also maneuvered nicely on surface roads, with a surprisingly tight suspension for an econobox and precise steering. In more extreme cornering situations, the xA felt a bit wobbly, but TRD performance suspension components were available to remedy the condition.