AutoTest - 2004 Scion xA and xB

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Staff Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Utility, style and thriftiness: Scion aims at Gen Y, other gens pay heed


    (08:30 Dec. 22, 2003)
    THOUGH THE IDEAL customer for Toyota’s Scion division would be a college-educated male about 22 years old, the company’s fun, practical small cars appeal to other age groups, based on views from owners of the new Scion as well as our staffers.

    We tested both the Scion xA, a small crossover-looking wagon, and the xB, a shoe-box-shaped trucklet (pictured), similar to the Honda Element.

    The two cars’ well-loaded standard specs are basically the same, from a 1.5-liter, 108-hp, 105-lb-ft four-cylinder engine to a Pioneer 160-watt, six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo that is MP3 and satellite-tuner capable.
    Skid control and traction control systems are options on the xA.

    Scion says that because simplicity is important to Generation Y, buyers have to choose only the model, the transmission (a standard five-speed manual or four-speed automatic), the color and (what isn’t so simple) the accessories they want. Each model offers about 40 accessories, from an upgraded stereo to Toyota Racing Development parts. The latter could be used to hop up the Scions, which use the engine and chassis of Toyota’s Echo economy car.

    Owners and staffers have complained about the engine getting buzzy when pushed beyond 4000 rpm. And as expected, the x cars supply little bottom-end torque.

    You have to rev to 3500 rpm and beyond.
    At least the Scions showed no trace of torque steer at the drag strip. The 2340-pound xA topped the 2395-pound boxy xB in all 11 standing-start tests, from 0 to 10 mph (0.67 second vs. 0.74 second) to the quarter-mile (16.93 seconds at 80.9 mph vs. 17.34 seconds at 79.3 mph). But the two cars tied in the skidpad and were close in braking. On the slalom, the Scions need a steady throttle or else they get tail-happy. And if you have to back off, the tail comes out.

    The Scions scored in average-sedan territory in braking distances. We found only a little dive on braking and a bit of yaw in ABS stops. Both cars also darted right when testers jabbed the brakes.

    Most drivers approved of the interiors, but there were a couple of zealous exceptions, one concerning the center-mounted instrument panel, to ease building both left-and right-hand-drive cars. Driving at night on a steep, winding mountain road, a test driver hated having to keep looking away from the road to check the instruments. A similarly upset staffer concluded, “Design and style should enhance functionality, not take away from it.” The other big gripe concerned the tiny stereo controls, ideal only for the 20-somethings’ eyesight, and a couple of drivers thought the tach was too small and too difficult to read. One track tester pushing the cars hard heard some rattles inside and said the shift knobs felt too light and not as crisp as he preferred.

    Overall, owners and staffers liked the new Scions, with many older than Gen Y essentially saying, “I don’t fit the demographics, but I do like the...” These likes included the small sticker prices, the attention-getting looks, the xB’s rather spacious rear seats and cargo area, and—from two separate drivers—how the Scions were reminiscent of early four-cylinder Volkswagen Rabbits that made about the same horsepower and could likewise be thrashed around with the manual.

    The Scion division says it seeks Generation Y because it “is emerging as a tremendous force in the marketplace and will eventually rival the Baby Boomers for dominance.” But from what we’ve learned in doing this AutoFile, Generation Boomer is not going to be left out of a fun, cheap ride.



    Reasonably priced
    Toyota quality
    Attracts attention

    Engine too buzzy
    More power, please
    Center-mounted gauges

    Chrysler PT Cruiser
    Pontiac Vibe
    Honda Element



    We wanted a reliable, fun car with plenty of room in the back for a five-year-old. We were especially attracted by the xB’s price. The standard list of features is incredible. We drove the Honda Element and although it has more power, it is higher-priced and seats only four. The Mini would have been fun, but it’s small and too pricey. The xB doesn’t exactly turn the pavement into lava, but with the cold air intake, it’s got plenty of power and is fun. We have never received more positive attention in any other car from people of every age, class and gender. -Jason Willett, San Francisco

    We are in our late 50s, but are young at heart. The xB is a tight little car and the panel fit is excellent. The perky little motor seems stronger than the 108 hp. The interior space is useful with comfortable but firm seats. We considered the Element but found it too big, and the Accord is too mundane. -Lary Morrett, Citrus Heights, Calif.

    The sticker price is reasonable as it included the upgraded six-disc MP3, satellite stereo, cold air intake, keyless entry and security system. It feels like a much bigger car inside, maybe because of its tall profile, but the xA’s size makes it a cinch to park. The center-mounted instrument panel is a bad idea and the interior plastics scratch easily. The xA is clearly the car the Toyota Echo should have been. It’s fun, functional and priced just right. -Mike Gagliano, Los Angeles

    We are decades out of Toyota’s intended demographic for this car but we were drawn to it for the overall value. The xA has more utility and is more capable in performance than I expected. The engine is small but the variable valve timing makes it energetic. The handling also exceeds expectations. We are impressed with the xA’s reliability, unique styling and good fuel mileage. The only criticism we have is that the engine buzzes around 4000 rpm at 80 mph. A six-speed gearbox would be welcomed. -Don Roth, Chula Vista, Calif.



    Base (includes $485 delivery):
    $12,965 (xA)/$16,486 (xB)
    As tested: $14,165 (xA)/$18,143 (xB)
    Owners paid; average:
    $12,965 to $15,825; $13,978 (xA)/
    $14,650 to $15,480; $15,165 (xB)

    xA: Light package ($879), 15-inch alloy wheels
    ($665), curtain airbags ($650), security
    system ($459), six-disc CD stereo ($395),
    sport package ($353), floor mats ($120)
    xB: Light package ($879), exterior package
    ($785), sound package ($774), alloy wheels
    ($665), security system ($429), sport package
    ($353), floor mats ($120)

    xA/xB: XM satellite radio ($695),
    cold air intake ($335)

    Unibody four-door hatchback

    Wheelbase (in): 93.3 (xA)/98.4 (xB)
    Track (in): 57.3 front, 56.3 rear (xA)/
    57.3 front, 56.3 rear (xB)
    Length/width/height (in):
    154.1/66.7/60.2 (xA)/155.3/66.5/64.6 (xB)
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs):
    2340/3305 (xA)/2395/3315 (xB)

    Fuel (gal): 11.9
    Cargo (cu ft): 11.7 (xA)/21.2 (xB)

    Front-transverse 1.5-liter/91-cid dohc I4
    Horsepower: 108 @ 6000 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 105 @ 4200 rpm

    Compression ratio: 10.5:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane

    Front-wheel drive
    Transmission: Five-speed manual
    Final drive ratio: 4.312:1

    Front: MacPherson struts with coil springs,
    hydraulic shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Rear: Torsion beam with coil springs,
    hydraulic shock absorbers, antiroll bar

    Discs front, drums rear, ABS, aluminum
    185/60R-15, Bridgestone Potenza RE92 (xA)/
    Goodyear Eagle LS (xB)

    0-60 mph: 9.26 sec (xA)/9.71 sec (xB)
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph):
    9.91 sec (xA)/10.44 sec (xB)
    0-quarter-mile: 16.93 sec @ 80.9 mph (xA)/
    17.34 sec @ 79.3 mph (xB)

    20-40 mph (second gear): 3.9 sec (xA)/3.9 sec (xB)
    40-60 mph (third gear): 5.7 sec (xA)/6.0 sec (xB)
    60-80 mph (fourth/third gear):
    9.5 sec (xA)/8.3 sec (xB)

    60 mph-0: 132 ft (xA)/133 ft (xB)

    490-foot slalom: 42.3 mph (xA)/40.9 mph (xB)
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad):
    0.75 g (xA)/0.75 g (xB)

    Idle: 40 (xA)/43 (xB)
    Full throttle: 74 (xA)/77 (xB)
    Steady 60 mph: 66 (xA)/67 (xB)

    EPA combined: 34.48 mpg (xA)/32.26 mpg (xB)
    AW overall: 36.02 mpg (xA)/34.32 mpg (xB)

  2. wop

    wop Guest

  3. DefBringer

    DefBringer Guest

    I'd love to have one of those.

    I think they'll sell a shitload of them.
  4. Hurricurry

    Hurricurry professional alcoholic OT Supporter

    Mar 11, 2003
    Likes Received:
    muthafucking ugly
  5. CRXican

    CRXican God Loves Ugly

    Nov 28, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Los Angeles, CA
    They do look different. They are quite popular in California where they first were sold. I see them all the time. One of my good friends just bought the Xb. I like the way the Xb looks, it's different. They aren't that expensive either, I just couldn't justify getting one due to the pathetisad horsepower :hs:

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