Category Archives: Scion

2009 Scion xB 5-door

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2009 Scion xB 5-door small wagon. Like me lots of people I talked with about the Scion felt the early versions were really ugly. The sharp boxy edges just didn’t do it for most folks. Today’s more rounded edges soften the look and less like a gang bangers car. The gay community adopted the Saab for unknown reasons and it is interesting how cars have become an integral part of our lives and how they often define us.

The Scion has blended into the competition a little more with the 2009 and in fact it is much like its cousin the Honda Element. It sits even lower than the Element and in part the low to the ground design of both is what puts them in the Wagon category rather than an SUV class.

What surprised me from the outset with the two vehicles is the broad acceptance of the design. Young and old alike have embraced the look. I believe for different reasons however. Young people like to be different – period! Older folks like the practicality of the design. When the Element came on the scene Honda felt it would appeal to the older buyer since it was easy to get in and out of. It was simple and could even be hosed out for easy cleaning. Just open the doors on both sides and the ‘suicide door’ configuration make it look like you could drive a truck thru it.

I guess the generations are not as far apart as you might think.

General Info:

Parts –  Japan

Assembly – Japan

Class:  – Small Wagon

Cars: – tC, xB, xD

Opinion:

As car companies come and go cars have always been repaired and maintained. The history of the automobile should help us to get a grip on the fact that losing dealerships may in fact be a Good Thing. Have you ever experienced the cost to do anything at a dealership? Not a pretty picture at the check out counter. Bring more than one credit card because you shouldn’t carry that much cash around on your person.

As some of you know I experienced first hand the difference between the dealer and the independent repair facility. Why – because I was an owner of an independent mostly foreign and some domestic repair shop. We also had a body shop and I learned how BMW, Jag and Mercedes Benz owners would drop in as if we were an Oasis in the desert.

The point is simply this. If you have any trepidation about buying any car because they may not be around next year forget the worry – buy the car you want or need and know with confidence independents have been fixing cars abandoned by their parents for a hundred years now.

Handling & Performance:

The Scion is comfortable and has good stability in part because of the lower center of gravity. It is fast and because of its smooth ride you tend to drive faster than you should. That fact is sufficient reason why you always include ‘cruise control’ when you buy a car. Simply set the speed and forget it and you’ll avoid your, not so friendly, highway tax collectors.

Styling:

Another comparison where the Honda Element is more thoughtfully crafted than many similar vehicles is the rear ‘theater seating’. Scion doesn’t incorporate that design feature, and although it may seem like a small thing, when you try it you will love it. Correction – your passengers will love it.

Some Curb Weight comparisons: Scion 3026 lbs; Element 3352 lbs; PT Cruiser 3070; Kia Rio 2568 lbs; Chevrolet HHR 3155; Dodge Caliber 3052;

Small and large SUV examples: Ford Escape 3229 lbs; Cadillac Escalade 5511 lbs.

In the style department however the winner has to be the PT Cruiser from Chrysler. It simply stands out in the crowd and if you ask ‘mirror mirror on the wall…’ it is the prettiest one of all.

Fit and Finish:

Not bad and for this price point car it is quite good. You expect exceptional assembly from Japanese car makers and because they have set the bar so high the competition has met the challenge and none are really poorly assembled. To get to the really ‘exceptional’ level you must triple the price point, so I can’t get too excited about looser tolerances for the purchase price in this class.

Cost:

Very good car for the money.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good.

Consumer Recommendation:

Nice selection to choose from in this economy class of small wagons. I’ve tested most but have not been in the Ford Transit Connect or the Nissan Cube. Good stuff.

Recognized Competition:

Scion xB $16-17,000, Pontiac Vibe $16-21,000, Mazda 5 $18-23,000, Chrysler PT Cruiser $18-25,000, Honda Fit $15-19,000, Suzuki SX4 Crossover $16-19,000, Kia Rio5 $13-14,000, Kia Rondo $17-22,000, Nissan Versa $10-16,000, Kia Soul $13-17,000, Dodge Caliber $16-25,000, Ford Transit Connect $21-22,000, Nissan Cube $14-19,000, Chevrolet HHR  $19-25,000, Toyota Matrix $17-22,000.

Good News:

Good fuel economy, nice ride and well priced.

Bad News:

Light weight class that concern many.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 158 hp 4 cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, electronic power steering, 4-wheel power ABS disc brakes with brake force distribution, sport tuned independent MacPherson front strut and rear torsion beam suspension, stability control with traction control, front – side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring, power mirrors, front and rear washer wipers, front bucket and rear split fold flat seats, cruise control, air conditioning, audio with CD, 6 speakers, iPod connector, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, privacy glass and tilt steering wheel with audio controls.

Gas Stats:

$2.43/ Gal avg. May 14, ‘09

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

22 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $16,700.

2008 Scion xD 5-door Wagon

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2008 ‘Preproduction’ Scion xD 5-door subcompact Wagon that replaces the xA. It should be available in showrooms early this fall and is worth looking at. It is a big improvement over the prior xA and others that were flat ‘ugly’. If I were a mother I wouldn’t claim it as my child – know what I mean – drop it at the dog shelter and forget to reclaim it. But finally, with the ‘08 release of the xD, it begins to look like a normal child.

Friend Merkel, my automotive engineer friend, notes that a new wave of interest in “Green” sensitive cars are becoming popular even in super rich communities where top of the line Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and the like were standard fare for those folks.

One has to wonder if it isn’t the new approach to flaunting wealth since they can have any car they want to drive but are becoming more conscious of waste in general that contributes to Global Warming. Me – I don’t believe in that global warming pitch from the likes of Al Gore. I think they have other agenda’s and aren’t really honest. I believe that because there are just as many scientists that insist our contribution to atmospheric problems is so miniscule as to be laughable. Stephen E. Blewett, Phd from Cal Tech, and Stanford undergrad work wrote “The Ozone Myth” that made sense to me.

Anyway I hope those Prius buyers in Palos Verdes and other upscale communities don’t believe my views and continue to buy “Green” in record numbers. Hey, what could it hurt and it would likely make us less dependent on Middle East oil. That will allow those OPEC countries to sell to China with its voracious appetite for oil at this singular time in history.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – Japan

Class:  – Subcompact Cars

Cars: – Scion tC, xB and xD.

Handling & Performance:

The new 2008 finally sports a bit more horsepower at 128 versus 103 from the previous 4-cylinder. But you do sacrifice a few miles per gallon in a time when 10% decrease compounded with a rising cost of fuel becomes more significant to many. However you’ll need to consider part of the drop results from new government EPA mileage calculations.

Make no mistake however this rides nice but is not for the guy or gal who loves to drive and place a lot of value on performance. This is a basic commuter and it does that just fine. You just won’t expect to get all excited to get out and ‘drive’.

Styling:

The xD looks new and improved but it also sits on a new platform this year – the Camry. Thus it is heavier, has a larger engine and adds more safety features.

Fit and Finish:

Well, this is a $15,000 car so you wouldn’t expect Lexus or Toyota brand high end price and quality. But you would expect better than average assembly that is consistent with the brand generally – and you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Cost:

Affordable is a terrible word because it tells you it isn’t expensive or to others that it is cheap without the ‘tramp stamp’. But it is targeted at the youthful driver in style and affordability.

Conveniences and comfort:

Quite good frankly for the price but the real good stuff like traction control and Vehicle Stability Control are optional.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you want more fuel economy and about the same space and power consider another Toyota product. The Yaris S is worthy of comparison even if lower priced.

Recognized Competition:

Scion xD $15,350,  VW Rabbit $15-17,000, Ford Focus $14-17,000, Chevrolet Aveo5 $10-13,000, Honda Fit $14-16,000, Dodge Caliber $14-20,000, Toyota Yaris $11-14,000, Hyundai Accent $10-14,000, Nissan Versa $13-15,000, Suzuki SX4 $15-16,000, Kia Rio5 $13,750.

Good News:

Improved design that is a real face lift, good fuel economy, 25 more horsepower than prior year and it’s a Toyota product which will influence a lot of people.

Bad News:

Sun visors don’t extend, low horsepower will strain on the hills, …for Scion is the fact there is a lot of great competition and therefore it will make your purchase decision more difficult.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 128 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, front wheel drive, air conditioning, cruise control, front air bags, front side airbags with front and rear side curtain airbags, front bucket seats, 60/40 split folding reclining rear seat, intermittent wiper, 4-wheel ABS Electronic Brake Distribution brake system with brake assist, halogen headlights, audio system with CD, iPod compatibility, six speakers, power door locks, outside mirrors with turn signal, power windows with one touch driver side, rear window defogger, rear wiper, remote keyless entry, tilt steering wheel with audio controls, tire pressure monitor system. Optional: VSC – Vehicle Stability Control and Traction control.

Gas Stats:

$2.85/ Gal avg. August ‘07

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

26 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $15,350.

2011 Scion tC (900)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the All-new Scion tC compact sports coupe a favorite among tuners, from the view of colleague Vince Bodiford. Other columns can be seen at his website www.theweekenddrive.com.

Scion is Toyota’s youth brand, and it continues to excite interest in their cars, especially with the introduction of the all-new Scion tC. It’s the second-generation of the tC coupe, and it’s a hands-down favorite among import tuners.

The impact of the youth and tuner market on the car business is significant. Scion exists today because Toyota listened to Gen X’rs in the US and Japan who were demanding radically different cars. The result is the full line of Scion – as well as other cool competing brands like the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul. The spark even influences hybrids and all-electric cars, like the Nissan Leaf.

So it’s no surprise this new Scion tC is the result of a collaborative design with input from real customers. Those customers asked for and got this new tC, which adds new styling, enhanced performance, and technologies that add to the driver’s experience.  It delivers all that, and it’s a great value with more power, better fuel efficiency, great driving dynamics, and lots of safety features.

The all-new 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine offers the latest in efficient, lightweight technology. It makes 180-bhp, 19 more than the previous model, and 11 additional lbs.-ft of torque. There are two all-new six-speed transmissions. The manual transmission features tight shifts that are direct and precise.  The automatic transmission boasts sequential shifting, providing an additional fun-to-drive element.

The 2011 tC is fun to drive, with plenty of road handling ability. It rides on an enhanced platform, including a MacPherson strut front-suspension and a double-wishbone rear-suspension that were specially tuned to offer the driver a sporty ride that is both nimble and confident.

The tC’s all-new design projects a bolder, more aggressive stance. Inspired by the Calty-designed Scion FUSE concept, the tC is a visually high-impact sports coupe with simple and unique elements. The designers took inspiration from the athletic look of a racing helmet.  As a result, one of the boldest design features of the new tC is the sleek cabin shape with wrap-around window graphics that add to its sporty profile.

The sporty design of the new tC carries over to the interior with a look and feel that is sophisticated, sporty and functional.  The front cabin design provides a driver-centered cockpit with spaciousness and freedom for the front passenger. The sporty new tC does not sacrifice driver and passenger comfort.  As part of the redesign, engineers made significant interior upgrades in the area of driver and passenger comfort and convenience.

In keeping with the needs of youthful buyers, the tC features powerful standard and optional audio systems – some of which are shared with the Lexus LX570. Standard is a Pioneer AM/FM/CD unit with USB iPod® connectivity, with an optional Alpine unit.

Well worth the cost is the optional Scion Navigation System, featuring an audio/video/navigation unit with a seven-inch LCD touch screen. The system also has iPod® connectivity, Bluetooth® Hands-free mobile phone communication and Bluetooth® Streaming Audio.

The all-new Scion tC is positioned to attract a youthful buyer that demands a high level of standard equipment and quality at an affordable price.  The tC starts with a suggested retail price of $18,275 with manual transmission, and $19,275 with the automatic transmission. Options and destination charges are extra. Coupled with Toyota’s legendary life-span and reliability, it’s a great value.

It’s that affordable price range that helps all Scion models enjoy sales success. All models come with Scion’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty, and complimentary maintenance services at the first 5,000 mile and 10,000 mile intervals, to be performed by an authorized Scion or Toyota dealership.

Recognized Competition:

Scion tC $19,000, Chevrolet Cruze $17,000, Dodge Caliber $17,000, Ford Focus $17,000, Honda Civic $16,000, Honda CR-Z $20,000, Hyundai Genesis Coupe $22,000, Hyundai Veloster $17,000, Kia Forte Koup $17,000, Mazda 3 $15,000, Mini Cooper $19,000, Mitsubishi Eclipse $19,000, Nissan Versa $14,000, Subaru Impreza $20,000, Toyota Corolla $18,000, Volkswagen Beetle $18,000.

Gas Stats:

$3.47/ Gal avg. December 26, 2011

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

23 City and 31 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $18,275.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2011 – An Automotive Love Affair

2008 Scion xD 5-door Wagon (662)

General Info:

Parts – n/a 

Assembly – Japan

Class:  – Subcompact Cars

Cars: – Scion tC, xB and xD.

“An Automotive Love Affair”
By Joseph Mavilia       2008 Scion xD 5-door Wagon     

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2008 ‘Preproduction’ Scion xD 5-door subcompact Wagon that replaces the xA. It should be available in showrooms early this fall and is worth looking at. It is a big improvement over the prior xA and others that were flat ‘ugly’. If I were a mother I wouldn’t claim it as my child – know what I mean – drop it at the dog shelter and forget to reclaim it. But finally, with the ‘08 release of the xD, it begins to look like a normal child.

Friend Merkel, my automotive engineer friend, notes that a new wave of interest in “Green” sensitive cars are becoming popular even in super rich communities where top of the line Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and the like were standard fare for those folks.

One has to wonder if it isn’t the new approach to flaunting wealth since they can have any car they want to drive but are becoming more conscious of waste in general that contributes to Global Warming. Me – I don’t believe in that global warming pitch from the likes of Al Gore. I think they have other agenda’s and aren’t really honest. I believe that because there are just as many scientists that insist our contribution to atmospheric problems is so miniscule as to be laughable. Stephen E. Blewett, Phd from Cal Tech, and Stanford undergrad work wrote “The Ozone Myth” that made sense to me.

Anyway I hope those Prius buyers in Palos Verdes and other upscale communities don’t believe my views and continue to buy “Green” in record numbers. Hey, what could it hurt and it would likely make us less dependent on Middle East oil. That will allow those OPEC countries to sell to China with its voracious appetite for oil at this singular time in history.

Handling & Performance:

The new 2008 finally sports a bit more horsepower at 128 versus 103 from the previous 4-cylinder. But you do sacrifice a few miles per gallon in a time when 10% decrease compounded with a rising cost of fuel becomes more significant to many. However you’ll need to consider part of the drop results from new government EPA mileage calculations.

Make no mistake however this rides nice but is not for the guy or gal who loves to drive and place a lot of value on performance. This is a basic commuter and it does that just fine. You just won’t expect to get all excited to get out and ‘drive’.

Styling:

The xD looks new and improved but it also sits on a new platform this year – the Camry. Thus it is heavier, has a larger engine and adds more safety features.

Fit and Finish:

Well, this is a $15,000 car so you wouldn’t expect Lexus or Toyota brand high end price and quality. But you would expect better than average assembly that is consistent with the brand generally – and you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Cost:

Affordable is a terrible word because it tells you it isn’t expensive or to others that it is cheap without the ‘tramp stamp’. But it is targeted at the youthful driver in style and affordability.

Conveniences and comfort:

Quite good frankly for the price but the real good stuff like traction control and Vehicle Stability Control are optional.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you want more fuel economy and about the same space and power consider another Toyota product. The Yaris S is worthy of comparison even if lower priced.

Recognized Competition:

Scion xD $15,350,  VW Rabbit $15-17,000, Ford Focus $14-17,000, Chevrolet Aveo5 $10-13,000, Honda Fit $14-16,000, Dodge Caliber $14-20,000, Toyota Yaris $11-14,000, Hyundai Accent $10-14,000, Nissan Versa $13-15,000, Suzuki SX4 $15-16,000, Kia Rio5 $13,750.

 Good News:

Improved design that is a real face lift, good fuel economy, 25 more horsepower than prior year and it’s a Toyota product which will influence a lot of people.

Bad News:

Sun visors don’t extend, low horsepower will strain on the hills, …for Scion is the fact there is a lot of great competition and therefore it will make your purchase decision more difficult.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 128 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, front wheel drive, air conditioning, cruise control, front air bags, front side airbags with front and rear side curtain airbags, front bucket seats, 60/40 split folding reclining rear seat, intermittent wiper, 4-wheel ABS Electronic Brake Distribution brake system with brake assist, halogen headlights, audio system with CD, iPod compatibility, six speakers, power door locks, outside mirrors with turn signal, power windows with one touch driver side, rear window defogger, rear wiper, remote keyless entry, tilt steering wheel with audio controls, tire pressure monitor system. Optional: VSC – Vehicle Stability Control and Traction control.

Gas Stats:

$2.85/ Gal avg. August ‘07

 www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

26 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $15,350.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

Copyright © 2007 – An Automotive Love Affair