2004 xA New Car Test Drive
Toyota admits, somewhat sheepishly, that it's lost touch with the offspring of its faithful. They know Toyota makes good cars but fear they don't look good driving around in one, that the image leaves something to be desired.
Scion is Toyota's response, a car the company hopes a younger set of buyers won't shrug off as their parent's Camry, or Corolla, for that matter.
To this end, Toyota is seeking to feed what it sees as an insatiable appetite for personalized transport, cars that may start out looking alike but end up accessorized to reflect their owner's unique personality. Oh yeah, they also have to live up to Toyota's quality, durability and reliability standards.
The Scion xA does all that. Solid construction, quiet operation, comfortable accommodations and low maintenance costs are all Toyota traditions. Spice and pizzaz haven't been. The Scion will test Toyota on the latter.
Scion xA comes in one iteration ($12,480). It's powered by a 1.5-liter 16-valve four-cylinder. There is a choice of transmissions: A five-speed manual transmission is standard. A four-speed automatic is optional ($800).
The list of standard features is surprisingly long for a car in this price class: antilock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (which boosts braking pressure in emergency situations); air conditioning; power windows, door locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; tilt steering wheel; tachometer and trip meter; 60/40 split folding rear seat; cargo area cover; and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD Pioneer sound system that reads MP3 files and is satellite radio-ready.
The only factory-installed option Toyota offers on the xA besides the automatic transmission is a safety package comprising front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear seat side curtain airbags ($650).
There are, however, some 40 accessories buyers can buy, installed at the factory or dealership. Many are appearance oriented and include appliques for B-pillars, the fuel door, instrument panel, door sills and rear bumper; license plate frames; mudguards; tail lamp garnish; rear spoiler; removable roof rack; red, blue or clear covers for the remote keyless entry; and sport pedals in choice of red, blue or silver. Functional accessories include a cargo liner, net and tote; carpeted floor mats; auto-dimming rear view mirror; satellite tuner and auxiliary antenna; subwoofer; security system; wheel locks; and alloy wheels. On the performance list are a cold-air induction system; front strut tower brace; and an assortment of offerings from Toyota Racing Development (18-inch wheels with Pirelli P Zero tires, lowering springs, strut/shock set; and sport muffler).