First Drive: 2004 Scion xA and xB

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 8, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,748
    Likes Received:
    1,611
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Official Cars of the TRL Generation

    [​IMG]

    By Brian Moody
    Date posted: 04-02-2003

    "I don't get it," remarked a middle-aged man passing a row of Scions parked on the street. And that's just the point — more than likely, that same man walked back to his Camry in his "loose fit" acid wash jeans, drove home and gave his teenage son yet another lecture on how raking leaves builds "character" and how System of a Down doesn't play real music but rather "just a bunch of noise." And at the same time, that middle-aged man could probably tell you all about the quality, value and reliability of his Camry (and other Toyota products). There lies the dilemma, Toyota realizes that quality, value, safety and reliability are good things, but has struggled with how to wrap all those good qualities into a package that consumers under 30 would embrace. Enter Scion.

    With the Scion brand, Toyota is making a credible and real effort to understand the Generation Y market and give it what it wants without pushing it down its throat. It would have been all too easy for Toyota to take a Corolla and give it a slightly reworked body, then bombard us with image driven print and TV ads telling us how it's "down" and "keeping it real." Surely that thought crossed the minds of some at Toyota, but the Scion approach is a genuine and authentic attempt to connect with a group of consumers that simply does not like to be pandered to or "sold" on anything.

    The Scion brand will eventually grow to three models, but for now two are offered — xA and xB. The vehicles are very similar mechanically, but each has its own unique look. The xB is a little larger as it uses a lengthened version of the platform it shares with the xA. Looking more like a miniature SUV, the xB has a more trucklike seating position and offers plenty of utility like a traditional SUV would.

    Compared to the xB, the xA comes off more like a "normal" car with its rounder and softer look, closely resembling a small wagon or five-door hatch. Interior space is surprisingly ample, but the smaller xA lacks the vast rear-seat legroom and the serious cargo-hauling abilities of the xB. Both xA and xB come with the same 108-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine as the Toyota Echo.

    [​IMG]

    These cars are clearly aimed at younger buyers, but Scion does not call either vehicle a "youth market" car. So serious is Toyota about connecting with the under-30 crowd that it has asked Scion dealers to sign a covenant to ensure the dealership and sales experience exactly mirrors the Scion style, image and promise. Similar to the Saturn approach, Scion dealers will adopt a purposefully low-key environment and each salesperson will be qualified to take the customer from beginning to end in the sales process — no endless string of sales "managers" trying to confuse and complicate the process. Come to think of it, wouldn't this approach work for all age groups? Are there really some groups of people who prefer to visit a dealership with 12 salespeople hanging around out front all yelling "up" when a potential customer walks on the lot? Didn't think so.

    This philosophy extends to pricing as well. Scion dealers will use a model they call a "Pure Pricing Solution." This simply means that Scion dealers will sell cars for the advertised price without any surprises. And speaking of price, the real clincher for anyone undecided about the viability of Scion products is the bottom line. The Scion xA's MSRP is $12,480 for a manual and $13,280 for an automatic, and the xB is priced at $13,680 for a manual transmission and $14,480 for an automatic (prices do not include destination charges). No, that is not a typo — the base price for both cars is well under $15,000.

    "Sure, that's probably for a stripped model with no features," you might be mumbling — and you'd be wrong! The xA and xB five-speed manual come standard with air conditioning; antilock brakes; a six-speaker Pioneer stereo; power windows (with driver-side one-touch down), locks and mirrors; tilt wheel; rear wiper; first aid kit; plus headrests and three-point seatbelts in all five seating positions. The xB adds stability control, traction control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and remote keyless entry at no additional cost.

    Part of the Scion's appeal is its ability to be personalized through over 40 options. Both Scion xA and xB come with the same engine and each is available only as a four-door with a hatch type rear door (body style variants are not offered), the customer chooses the transmission type and body color (and optional side-airbags on the xA), everything else is added later. These options include such items as cold-air intake system, special body graphics, clear tail lamps, CD changer with color change illumination, subwoofer, satellite radio, remote keyless entry and many others. Clearly Scion is trying to sell options that they feel some customers will be adding anyway, but by opting for the ones sold by Scion, a customer won't have to worry about voiding the warranty.

    None of this would be of even passing interest if the Scion vehicles looked or felt like cheap econoboxes on the road. While the "boxy" remarks will surely not stop here, the Scion cars do offer fit, finish and refinement befitting a Toyota. Double seals around door openings keep the noise out — Scion acknowledges that by installing a thumpin' Pioneer stereo, the interior had to be made quieter — good thinking, engineering dudes. In fact, both the xA and xB seem almost airtight, as the last door to be closed requires quite a push. The interiors are full of high-quality materials — seats are comfortable in both cars, and the xB especially offers such vast amounts of rear-seat room you'd swear you were riding in a luxury car (or maybe one of those tall-looking London cabs).

    Scion got the Pioneer audio system right; even without a subwoofer, the stereo delivers plenty of punch. The optional six-disc CD changer comes with a lighted display area that can change colors at the touch of a button, or choose the "Mixer" setting and the colors will continually change on their own. A satellite radio receiver is built in as well.

    [​IMG]

    Although the xA and xB share a platform with the Toyota Echo, the xA seems to be a little more refined in terms of ride quality and interior noise, also edging out the xB with regard to handling — perhaps because the lower center of gravity gives it a more tossable feel. The xA also weighs about 100 pounds less and therefore seems to be a little spunkier with regard to acceleration. Both cars seem well-suited to urban environments as each offers a spacious interior with compact exterior dimensions.

    For a car with such a high center of gravity, the xB handles quite well. The optional front strut-tower brace adds some rigidity and seems to give the xB a noticeably stiffer feel. Power from the 1.5-liter engine is adequate but the Scion cold-air intake kit adds as much as 10 more ponies — without the cold-air kit and with an automatic transmission the xB can seem sluggish. If, as Scion says, the intended market is younger men, it may need a bit of a power boost. However, with a manual transmission, the little four is much livelier.

    As styling is subjective, we'll leave it to you to decide if the Scion look is cool or not. Driving through the streets of San Francisco, the Scion cars attracted their share of attention. The xB, with its noticeably boxy shape, stood out more, but both cars offer a different and slightly edgy look. Scion may be hoping to gain younger buyers, but the funky Scion xB got looks from young and old alike. From certain angles, the xA actually looks like a European micro car similar to a Peugeot 206 or Citroen C3. In fact, when people on the street commented on the xA, most assumed it was a European car. Love it or hate it, styling is what makes Scion unique — the masses love the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, and that is just the kind of thing Scion is trying to avoid.

    There is no question the xB and smaller xA have all the necessary ingredients to be an overwhelming success for Scion. The quality is there, the edgy and funky style is there and value is more than there. The Achilles' heel in this whole endeavor is the dealership experience. Will Toyota dealers be able to effectively adopt a low-key, no-pressure sales philosophy or will they grow impatient, lack long-term vision and resort to the kind of sales tactics that usually drive Gen Y shoppers directly into Saturn dealerships? Only time will tell. One thing is certain, Scion is the real deal and, based on product alone, it should be a runaway success. Scion cars will go on sale in California first beginning June of 2003, followed by states like Texas, Florida and New York. Scion products should be available nationally by June of 2004.

    [​IMG]

    What Edmunds.com Says: Is this the car that's going to get all the "kids" buying Toyotas again? We're not so sure, but it will be interesting to see if Toyota's marketing machine can pull it off.

    The Bottom Line: Both Scion models offer a surprising level of refinement and value — Toyota quality is obvious throughout.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. n2_space

    n2_space Space > *.*

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    4,529
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Indy
    Dear God, I thought the Element was boxy and ugly as hell :ugh:
     
  3. ///TRASH

    ///TRASH Hideously Erect

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2001
    Messages:
    39,143
    Likes Received:
    444
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    who the FUCK is going to buy that shit???
     
  4. iZero

    iZero Guest

    I was going to say they are pretty shitty until I saw the price. $13,000 for a new car with ABS, A/C, power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt wheel, and rear wiper is actually pretty good. It's not Cavalier or Neon either (though I don't even think you can get that low of cost ones of those). The xA is fugly, but the xB (bB) isn't too bad. I've seen the hooked up ones from Japan which don't look half bad.

    My main question is how sporty they are. They both appear to be practical in their forms as far as cargo room. The two things they already have going for them is 1) they're new, so that means you'll have a warranty that you wouldn't have with a used car, and 2) they are Toyotas so they should hold up quite well in the long haul.
     
  5. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    Blah, just blah.
     
  6. EdgeCat

    EdgeCat Guest

    The xB is so damned ugly it's cool. :cool:
     
  7. Chi_Town_GoD

    Chi_Town_GoD Guest

    I actually like xB a lot. I want one for a commuter/city car.
     
  8. 93ex

    93ex New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2001
    Messages:
    21,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    hmm

    is there a website to see the interiors... I'm lazy and dont wanna look by myeself
     
  9. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
  10. iZero

    iZero Guest

    For a youth-oriented car, the xB comes in pretty bland colors. White, silver, black, maroon, mint green, and dark blue.
     
  11. ZAQ786

    ZAQ786 BMW: The reason Lexus is still 'In the pursuit of

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2000
    Messages:
    33,124
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    HOUSTON, TX
    WTF is worng with OT!!!

    im soo lost :wtc:
     
  12. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2000
    Messages:
    92,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    everywhere
    i had a shit earlier today that looked better than those cars.
     
  13. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    Worse than anything could poop out.:o
     
  14. Gundam

    Gundam Tell Drama he's on my to do list, right after inse

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2000
    Messages:
    32,299
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Ugly? Yes? A good deal? Yes. I'd rather get that over any Kia, Hyundai, or Daewoo piece of shit (except for the Tiburon)
     
  15. We_Todd

    We_Todd I'm a naughty squirrel.

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2001
    Messages:
    23,851
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, US of A
    I'd run over both with my Jeep.
     
  16. HisXLNC

    HisXLNC ๑۩۞۩๑ Hot ๑۩۞۩๑

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    137,235
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Island of Electronicus
    The xB kicks ass. Throw on an exhaust, some ground effects, and the clear tails and you have the most Japanese'ish car in America.

    I'd rather have a Cube though. Cube > Black Box
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Zourn

    Zourn 16-bit Ninja OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    2,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    The bB looks ok; especialy for the price tag. Being that i drive an '82 Toyota that has never needed a rebuild, and still has the original motor. Plus, it has been a daily driver for the past two years, the five years before that it sat, and then from before that to the purchase date it was a daily driver.

    Reliability? Yes



    BTW, I first heard about these about these a year ago. and the website was already up with the pics and everything.
     
  18. Quick Silver

    Quick Silver Charging...

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2001
    Messages:
    6,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    yo yo yo, JDM fo shizle!
     
  19. LowkeyG

    LowkeyG OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Messages:
    29,188
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto
    ibbiggestflopintoyotahistory
     
  20. mayorbill11

    mayorbill11 Guest

    I like the xB, and i like the colour selection, obviously toyota knows that green and orange are ass ugly ricer colours.

    The standard equipment list sounds pretty good, only problems here are drivetrain, which are to say, large problems.

    looks like an easy car to chop top, though.

    the xA is stupid though.

    if i ever own an xB, it's getting toyota badging.
     
  21. Red97GST

    Red97GST Guest

    the Xb is hot only because it's too JDM for this country. which is exactly how i'd pimp it

    Gotta hook up the white fur cloth on the back window and the water bubble light column up in the interior.

    why are you guys complaining about the colors? shieeeet, if you was JDM you'd know black and white is the only gangsta shit
     
  22. [move]:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: [/move]
     
  23. Johnny*MacBlayze

    Johnny*MacBlayze wassup? shut up!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    719
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    bill gate's neighbor
    i like it. throw some rims on it looks nice
     

Share This Page