Sometimes I bet our readers think I'm nuts. Who wouldn't when I'm about to rave about a little 108 horsepower micro-car after being barely satiated in a $40,000 SUV. And both are made by the same parent company. It sounds truly insane but driving the Scion xA, the last of the three Scions I've tested, is a blast around town. The interior materials match those of the other two Scions and are quite substantial to the touch.

It?s not hard to build a nice $40,000 SUV. In fact if you?re charging that much for a vehicle it better have everything a driver wants and then some. For $13,000 no one expects much and that?s why Scion is doing so well. They?re delivering a well-equipped car for the dollar that is interesting to look at and not so bad to drive either.

Turning is crisp and the rigid frame is a bit of a surprise. Yes, the Scion takes bumps hard and road noise is high. That?s to be expected. But the comfortable cloth seats hold you in place and the stereo sounds much better than most economy cars.

Scion xA driving

A big question about this little car is the room. Can it fit tall folks? A full four people? Any of them comfortably? Yes and no. Saturday I chauffeured a few of the crewmembers from Speed TV?s ?World?s Greatest Auto Shows? series in a caravan of big SUVs (shown above) and the xA. I was being interviewed for a segment that took us to all parts of Chicago. The front passenger seat fits most people just fine while a 6+ footer in the back had to lean across both rear-seats to get ?comfortable.? On another leg of the trip a different 6+ footer sat up front with the seat all the way back and was cramped. But as he said that happens in lots of cars for him. They all commented on the interior quality.

Getting real world feedback from folks that know cars certainly speaks highly of the little xA. Tomorrow we?ll get into the utility of the car and then we?ll highlight all the add-ons that turn a $13,000 deal into a $17,000 head-scratcher.


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