Last post on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:47 AM
You are in the Scion xA and xD
What is this discussion about?
Scion xA, Scion xB, Hatchback, Wagon
#312 of 734 Chevy Aveo or Scion xA?
Aug 08, 2004 (9:43 pm)
Hi everyone. I'm planning to buy a car in the next few weeks, have something in mind but need your opinion to clarify some doubts. I've been researching 2 cars: Chevy Aveo LS and Scion xA, both auto. I live in a college town in Ohio and a grad student who'd like to buy a car entirely on my own for the first time. I was a bit defensive when I went to test drive an xA 2005 this afternoon accompanied by a couple of friends because I was expecting to find a typical, agressive salesman. First thing first: I was in for a surprised. The salesman was the sales manager of Scion himself, a young man barely 30 yrs old, who (surprisingly) looks and sounds pretty harmless and sincere, a welcome change from car salesmen I encountered in the past.
Anyway, I was given a test car that doesn't have the Pioneer sound system installed, so it was a pretty quiet drive. Indeed, it is quiet inside that xA; my friends and I could hardly hear sounds from the engine as well as other cars (on the street & highway) that passed by. If it's not because of a gentle, barely-there vibration on the steering wheel, I couldn't tell if the engine was running. So my first impression: xA has a good soundproofed interior. Other than that, it was a nice, smooth ride overall. Though the seat is a bit too firm for my liking, I think I can live with it. I like the location of the meters in the middle console. It looks odd, but once I was behind the wheel I could understand why it sits there. Trunk is almost non-existent but then again, if I ever buy one, I plan to treat the xA like a two-seater sports car when the back seats are lowered down. Body is pretty solid though I wished Scion manufactures xA with rimless front doors to make it more fancy.
However, I am disappointed by 4 things:
1. Keyless remote entry isn't a standard equipment in xA. I mean, come on, leaving a car in a parking lot without a security system of this kind just doesn't cut it for me anymore. The $500 price tag to get it installed is heavy for a college student when in fact it is standard in Aveo.
2. The ride was indeed harsh though somehow forgiven and acceptable considering its class. I'm not very fussy about this; I'd driven cars with even harsher riding condition so I can tolerate a little bumpy ride in a car like xA.
3. AC is weak. Now, this one I can't tolerate. I expect a car this cool to have a better AC. Besides, unlike Aveo, it has no air filter so the air blown was a bit too dry and artificial.
4. Expensive. Compare to Chevy Aveo, xA is more expensive with some equipment omitted from getting into the hall-of-fame standard feature.
As much as I love xA, I'm also seriously considering a Chevy Aveo LS. My brother suggested me to get an Aveo because Aveo is more economical in many ways. I'd appreciate helpful response from you all in deciding which one should I choose. Thanks.
#313 of 734 Avero versus XA
Aug 08, 2004 (11:05 pm)
They are both small and have the small car ride (busy)...but I would think for a College student a small car to fit in limited parking space would be the ideal machine for campus. The XA comes standard with allot of stuff, like ABS and nice stereo system and a TOYOTA may be alittle more expensive NOW, but in the long run, it won't be in the shop like other vehicles. I don't know much about the Avero...but read Car and Driver or Consumer Reports and get an idea about longivity of the machine before you buy...If your worried about security then get the security system but if someone wants your car I'm not sure if anything will stop them...however I would think that either an Avero or XA are not top of the most wanted list like Camry or Accord. Good luck in your search.
#314 of 734 Re: Avero versus XA [m4prius]
Aug 09, 2004 (7:08 am)
Thanks for your response. Yes, I agree that Toyota has a good standing in automotive industry because my family always bought Toyota cars. Though I have no idea about the list, I tend to agree that either Aveo (not Avero) or xA may not be on the top of the most wanted list like Camry or Accord. But it's ok with me as long as there is a car within my budget range which is reliable enough to accompany me as I go through this grad school (for the next 2 years). I'm not after high resale value cars like Honda and other Toyota models now because as soon as I can secure a job I can always step up my options. I don't plan to drive any one of these small cars to campus because the campus is within a walking distance from my apartment. I need a car, small enough, for groceries shopping and, occasionally, a long distance ride to visit my friends in other states. I'm very much a practical person in this regards and at this point I just want to be realistic about my financial situation as a grad student. That's why I'm considering these 2 small cars. The only issue now is to choose one out of this two. Chevy Aveo is also fully loaded and addresses the lack in xA on security system, AC, and price. But xA's got the support from Toyota (brand name wins in this country), looks very nice, and very hip (interior & exterior). I don't really care what other ppl thinks about my car as long as I'm comfortable and safe in it.
Anybody else has suggestions?
#315 of 734 Re: Avero versus XA [zaza]
Aug 09, 2004 (9:22 am)
what the heck, i'll throw another suggestion in the ring (since resale doesn't concern you). The Kia Rio Cinco. Even with all the options, the current $1K incentive keeps the street price to $13,250. Not bad. I've never driven one, so can't comment on it other than its looks (which I kind of like).
#316 of 734 xA vs. Aveo
Aug 09, 2004 (9:57 am)
The Aveo has excellent crash test scores. Someone did their homework.
Reviews have started to come in from magazine writers and they are generally not that positive. Good for space, weak engine, some other small car nits.
The Toyota has been around a lot longer; it has been on sale about 5 years as the Yaris in Europe and Canada. Thus it is well proven.
The aircon isn't very good, even after going to the shop three times. But otherwise the car is built like a little Lexus.
Expect to have a residual value of 40% after three years with the Aveo, 60% with the xA. You can do the math on which car is cheaper over the long run (maybe there are some great Aveo deals).
To me the main appeal of the Aveo is the wide availability in the midwest. Otherwise the Scion is a better deal overall.
I've owned a lot of "economy" cars. Resale value, dealer network (Toyota dealers are great), and build quality are important, and worth some tradeoffs (harsh ride, poor aircon).
#317 of 734 Pepping up the xA
Aug 09, 2004 (10:08 am)
My xA with stick shift is approaching 10,000 miles. As it has "run in" it has started to develop more punch, more zip; not a lot compared to a PZEV Focus or Neon (or Cavalier with Ecotec) but respectable nonetheless.
About 700 miles ago I upgraded to mid-grade gasoline; this seemed to make a big difference. I noticed that when the engine "lugged" (I didn't downshift, low rpm, heavy throttle) I was picking up a slight ping. Many of the modern ECM units are "adaptive" - they constantly adjust spark advance on the fly, based on the gas quality. Some of them are so adaptive that they actually run better on higher octane gas, although for "political correctness" they are sold as 87 Regular cars.
I think the 1.5 in the Scion is one of these; given the VVT-i, high compression ratio, this car wasn't performing as expected. Adding better gas seems to "re-tune" the engine - more of the RPM band is available without a sense of strain, and you can feel the car both push forward, when you get on the throttle, and engine-brake when you get off the throttle.
About 200 miles ago I added a Dynomax muffler - 14" by 6" round. This was model 17741. It adds a nice exhaust note to the car - sounds like my old Fiat 128 used to sound now - and seems to have opened up the engine too.
Since I want maximum quiet, I have orded a 17710 Dynomax 18" by 7" round, which is the size I had on my old Echo. It let the engine breathe, but was plenty big enough to keep the little four banger very quiet. I also had a K&N filter in the Echo, and will add one here. Then I will report back.
I am beginning to think that, while the xA is indeed heavier than the Echo, I should be able to get pretty acceptable stick-shift performance with these minor mods - better fuel, freer flowing (but still ultra quiet) exhaust, and freer flowing air filter. The only negative I can see is the quality of air filtration - the "pillow" air filter on the xA won't let anything through, I have always had my suspicions about the K&N's - no tight weave there. I wouldn't use a K&N in a dusty agricultural area, but normal urban dust shouldn't be a problem - most will be trapped out, and the rest will get into the oil and then into the oil filter. After all VW Bugs had the worlds lousiest air filter, and dust wasn't a problem for them.
#318 of 734 Re: xA vs. Aveo [micweb]
Aug 10, 2004 (3:01 pm)
I take back what I said about crash results on the Aveo. My comment was based on the initial 5 star front crash rating. I rechecked the NHTSA site and the side impact is 3 star, not great but ok, except that on the driver's side they footnote it with "high risk of pelvic injury." Go with the xA.
#319 of 734 Re: Pepping up the xA [micweb]
Aug 13, 2004 (12:53 pm)
I read your article about the scion XA and the upgrades you have done to it. i am shopping for a car (leaning towards XB) that is efficient and small and i would like to know if it is an easy thing to make the smaller ones quiet. I own a Buick century (V6) now and I have gotten used to the quiet and comfortable ride. While the comfort is not going to be there in a Scion XB, i would really like to reduce the engine noise of the 4-cylinder cars. Thanks.
#320 of 734 The xB is Lifestyle Choice; the xA is a "non-economy car"
Aug 13, 2004 (2:58 pm)
As you probably know, the very unique look and feel of the xB make it a "lifestyle" car much like the PT Cruiser. That isn't to say it isn't functional, just that you have to measure it by a different standard. For example, a more logical choice (unless you need a lot of backspace room and little trunk room) is a Focus ZX3, ZX4, or a Corolla or Civic. Each of these has much stronger airconditioning, more pickup, and similar good ride. Noise levels are comparable on all of the cars. Although the xA revs high, it is well sound proofed and quiet. The high revs in the Scion are not a noise problem so much as an anxiety problem - is my little engine going to blow up soon (it won't)? Did I forget to upshift (no, you didn't)?
The xA and xB fall into a class of cars that are rare here - "mini" cars that are smaller than American economy and sport compact cars. There is a whole, vibrant category of these cars in Europe - the Polo, Yaris (Euro xA), MINI, etc. The next size up in Europe is the Golf/Corolla category, viewed as very family oriented vehicles, not economy cars. Of course over here we view anything smaller than a mid-size car (Taurus, Accord etc.) as an "economy car." The "sport compact" movement has given some respect to smaller than mid-size cars, but not a lot.
There are exceptions for some enthusiasts. For example, most people who buy Golf hatchbacks buy them because they like them; an alternative to dull sedans. MINI's are definitely bought for their curb appeal; ditto Scions. Although the Focus is a fine Euro based car, imho, it is bought by so many schlubs for cheap transportation, and not only by enthusiasts for its great performance and ergonomics, that it lacks this kind of "curb appeal." In other words, only your friends know what a great car you have, everyone else hopes you can afford a better car next time!
I think if you are coming from a Buick Century, you aren't likely to be happy with a Scion, unless you were driving a hand-me-down car. It's just plain too big a transition. If you are going Euro, a more rational transition would be to a Passat (not even the smaller Jetta!). If you are going Japanese, an Accord Coupe EX or a Toyota Solara.
Now, if you hate the Century because it feels like an aircraft carrier, and you are dying to put a cold air intake on the V6 and a performance exhaust but can't find one, then maybe you are a closet Scion owner.
I think you need to be pretty honest with where you are coming from and what you want. Noise isn't an issue with my xA (but if I could JUST tune out the slight drone between 60-80...), but you have to love small cars....
Aug 13, 2004 (6:30 pm)
Very perceptive, micweb.
A Focus rental car got me thinking that a little car was fun and practical "errand running" alternative to oout other cars.
Of course the Focus had a clapped out feeling and the "check engine" light on at 8000 miles.
As soon as I saw an xB in person, that was it.
It's cheap, fun, economical, practical and after a year, still makes me smile.