The Scion xA was a five-door subcompact hatchback produced from 2004 to 2007.
Design and Introduction
As Toyota introduced the Scion subsidiary brand as a youth-focused, economical Toyota alternative, the xA shortly followed the brands initial xB and tC offerings. Like all Scions, it was offered through a no-haggle pricing strategy and had been appointed with some relatively well equipped features while still maintaining an overall pragmatic approach. The Scion xA featured an exterior design that was rather upright and boxy while giving off somewhat undesirable economy vibes, which contrasted the xB's stylish and unique boxy appearance and the tC's sporty rounded shape. But what the xA lacked in exterior design, it made up for with a higher seating position, great visibility, and a relatively large cargo space for a vehicle with a 93.3-inch (2,370 mm) wheelbase and about 2,300-pound weight, built on the Toyota NBC platform shared with the Toyota Echo. The front end featured a smooth sloping line stretching from the rather large front bumper, through the hood, and up to the roof. The roofline was essentially horizontal and straight, until it dropped off like a cliff at the rear end, almost mimicking the Toyota city car or mini segment appearance from other automakers. The four-door design provided easy accessibility to the rear seats, which although somewhat cramped, were better than many alternatives in the same segment.
Engine and Fuel Economy
Under the hood of the Scion xA sat a 1.5L inline-4 engine with just 108 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, there's just no way to get around the sluggish performance from such a small, unpowered engine, but the available five-speed manual could help the driver find the right gear and chug away. A four-speed automatic was also available, and thankfully, it was tuned to maintain a lower gear for somewhat enhanced acceleration rather than constantly shifting back and forth to generate any speed. But this engine design came with a serious advantage in its fuel economy. The Scion xA received an EPA rating of 32 miles per gallon (mpg) city and 38 highway, a fairly impressive figure for the era and without any electrical boost. The drag coefficient of 0.31 combined with the fuel-sipping 1.5L engine to provide an economical ride that could also handle passengers or cargo with relative ease. It wouldn't win many drag races, coming in with an 8.8 second time to 60 mph, but that wasn't the focus of the value-oriented option and those race-seeking Scion buyers could opt for the sporty tC instead.
Scion xA Available Features and Options
A small production run of Scion xA Release Series (RS) models were used to boost the brand's image and popularity by incorporating brighter exterior colors such as orange, yellow, and green, plus some exclusive accessory packages, including a rear spoiler, moonroof, grow effects, and other sport-focused options. These vehicles came in short supply, with around three given to each dealership which usually sold out rather quickly, making the Scion no-haggle since price strategy give these few customers an excellent deal that prohibited dealer markups. While the Scion xA was only produced for one generation of design over a short production run, it received a slight update in 2006 just before being discontinued. The lower body panels, including the bumpers and side skirts were touched up, along with a more advanced infotainment system, which include the first production vehicle to incorporate an iPod input integrated into the stereo system and display. The Scion xA performed rather well in overall sales initially, with around 25,000 to 30,000 units sold annually from 2004 to 2006. However, the brand decided to go in other directions and developed the successor Scion xD five-door hatchback for 2008 release. While the xA may not have been Scion's most distinctive, sporty, or ground-breaking model, it served a specific target audience well, one that wanted an affordable vehicle that was economical and still offered a relatively decent driving experience and interior comfort.