When Scions were first introduced, the "I will only use a  T-square to design this car" styling of the xB overshadowed the ultra-compact xA, and then by the time the xB buzz quieted down, the tC appeared and once again the xA was shouldered off into the shadows. Well now The Car Connection gives the chunky little wedge its due with a favorable review of what is essentially a fashionable-looking Toyota Echo. The 108-hp engine is obviously no beast, but it's tolerable in such a tidy package. The "flamboyant" interior is of surprisingly high-quality for such a budget vehicle, with the gauges moved to the center console and a bumpin' system. The ride is unusually stiff, and sharp handling contributes to a satisfying driving experience when slashing city corners. While the Echo underpinnings may not yield the most power, it does insure reliability and terrific fuel economy, in the neighborhood of 32 urban mpg. The xA's base price is $12,480, but any salesperson hoping to make a buck will no doubt try to sell you some of the manifold overpriced dealer-installed options that will help you "customize" your wedge. As tested the xA fetched just over $15K.



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