Pin It

Toyota's Hipster 

by Clint Burgess

There are cars that are "noticeable" -- and then there are cars that turn heads. Toyota's Scion line has created a whole new kind of head-turning phenomenon. Scions may be marketed to a younger generation of car buyers, but they're gaining fans across the board for their imaginative styling and Toyota quality. Scion promises to be a force in the market in the 21st century.

What could be described as Scion's answer to another small, very popular car is the xA, embodying the idea that good things can come in small packages. The car is shockingly small, but it still seats five comfortably and there's still room behind the back seat for a skateboard. The price tag is also small, starting at an ultra-affordable $12,995. The xA offers all the perfect appointments for today's young hipster on the go and is practical enough for the sensible driver in all of us. Standard features include power everything, a six-speaker CD stereo sound system that is satellite radio-ready, front and rear wipers for our soggy climate and a dash configuration that comes straight out of a science fiction movie. But this car isn't all looks. Driver and passenger airbags in the front, anti-lock brakes and three-point safety belts are just a few of the safety features on the xA.

While this car doesn't offer gargantuan proportions, there is plenty of legroom and head space for the average person. Every-thing in the vehicle is laid out functionally, and small things -- like the absence of an annoying sound when your door is open and the keys are in -- go a long way with drivers like me.

Chris Vanleuven, finance manager at Downtown Toyota/Scion, knows that these vehicles may look a little different, but they are making their mark. "You can't be sure how the buying public is going to react to a car like this," says Vanleuven. "When we all saw them, we weren't sure about the designs, but so far the customers love them."

In fact, these cars are so popular that I didn't see hardly any on the lot because they sell so fast. It's not hard to figure out why with the xA. "People have been buying them for the gas mileage as well," Vanleuven says. "At 40-plus miles to the gallon for a car made by Toyota -- that's pretty good."

These features might sound good on the surface and the price might be right, but there are intangible factors that come into consideration on vehicle purchases. I can't stress enough how much this car just made me want to drive -- to just get out and go. Usually 108 horsepower isn't an engine size I would bat an eye at, but this car has get-up and it glides effortlessly across the roadway. Even at highway speeds, there's almost none of the typical road noise. These comforts make it easy to hop in and enjoy the driving experience. I have also never driven a car that people could not stop looking at, literally. It didn't matter where I was: At the store, in the drive-thru, on the freeway or at a red light, everyone noticed this car. That's not necessarily the chief purpose in buying a vehicle -- but let's not kid ourselves. "How cool do I look in this?" is a question that has passed through the mind of many a car buyer.

Fortunately the designers and engineers asked these same pressing questions -- and then combined looks and performance into the Scion xA.

Publication date: 11/18/04

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Rich Man, Poor Men
  • Rich Man, Poor Men

    Can the wealthiest U.S. president ever help the poorest U.S. citizens?
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • La Resistance
  • La Resistance

    Michael Moore, Congressional Democrats and local progressives: How they are resisting Donald Trump's agenda
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Must-See TV?
  • Must-See TV?

    Alternatives to the inauguration (and how to make watching more fun if you have to)
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
People Rise Up! A Community Invitation to Action

People Rise Up! A Community Invitation to Action @ Community Building

Sat., Jan. 21, 2-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Clint Burgess

  • The Word Made Fresh

    & & by Luke Baumgarten and Clint Burgess & & & r & It's gotta be tough to do publicity for Christian rock. The evangelical idea that the secular world is the devil's domain - that it's the fiery gauntlet you have to navigate to get your eternal reward - turns
    • Sep 21, 2005
  • Summer Adventure - NW Fishing

    Fishing is a way to absorb the natural surroundings of the region we call home, to commune with the spirits of generations gone before who dropped their lines the same way we do today. Besides, it's
    • Jul 13, 2005
  • Honda Gets Tough

    As a rule, certain car companies are known for specific models and typically excel at what they do within a specific type of vehicle. For example, Dodge is known for its trucks, Toyota for its sedans, Mazda for its sports cars and so fort
    • Jul 6, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment





green zone

Readers also liked…

  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015
  • The <i>Real</i> Rachel Dolezal
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation