Compact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,700 – $7,700*

2005 Scion xA

2005 Scion xA

2005 Scion xA

2005 Scion xA

  • Fuel economy
  • Acceleration
  • Cargo room
  • Rear-seat room

It may be badged a Scion, but the xA is pure Toyota. That implies solid workmanship and long-lived reliability, plus strong resale values, though it’s too early to tell how Scions fare on that score. Otherwise, the xA offers little that can’t be found in rival compacts, many of which are usefully larger, faster, more refined and no less frugal with gas. What’s more, few used xAs are on the market yet. We think Toyota’s own Corolla is a better choice for value and all-around satisfaction. Shoppers should also consider a late-model Ford Focus, Honda Civic or Mazda 3, all of which have pluses of their own.


Toyota’s youth-oriented Scion brand launched for model-year 2004 with the xA 4-door hatchback and boxy xB wagon. These five-passenger compacts were underskin cousins, sharing a basic platform, a 108-hp 1.5-liter 4-cyl engine, 5-speed manual transmission and optional 4-speed automatic. The main differences were external. The xA had conventional small-car styling and was visibly shorter and lower than the xB on a 5-inch trimmer wheelbase.

Scion was created to liven up Toyota’s rather staid image and to increase dealer profits. The target was younger, style-conscious buyers who would, presumably, become Toyota customers for life. Marketers decided this group wanted affordable but well-equipped compact cars that could be easily personalized with a wide range of accessories available from Toyota dealers and independent sources. As a result, the xA included features unexpected in cars priced around $13,000: antilock brakes, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, CD player, and 60/40 split folding rear seat. Options were fairly limited. The main one was a package bundling curtain side airbags with front torso side airbags. Satellite radio and in-dash CD changer were available, as were remote keyless entry, alloy wheels to replace steel rims, fog lights, and rear spoiler.

Perhaps because it looked like just another small car, the xA was outsold by the more-distinctive xB by some 2 to 1. Still, there aren’t that many used Scions of any kind on the market just yet. It’s worth noting that Toyota’s slightly larger Echo sedan was a kissin’ cousin of the inaugural Scions, using identical powertrains and the same basic platform. Echo, however, was one of Toyota’s rare sales duds, and was dropped after model-year 2005.

Yearly Updates

2005 Scion xA
Virtually unchanged from 2004.
2006 Scion xA
The base audio system gained a plug-in for digital music players, while a new optional system featured dashboard control and program display for Apple iPod players. There were also modest revisions to grille, taillamps, and lower-body panels. Due to a change in rating method, horsepower was restated to 103, torque to 101 lb-ft, though the engine was unchanged.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.5/91
Engine HP 108
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 105
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

The xA is quick enough for city traffic, marginal for easy merging onto fast-moving freeways. An automatic-transmission test car clocked a lengthy 10.6 seconds 0-60 mph and showed meager midrange power for passing and hill climbing. The manual transmission shaves about a second from that time, but has rubbery shift action. Fuel economy is great, as it should be for a lightweight 4-cyl. compact. We averaged 33.3 mpg with manual transmission in mostly city driving, 28.0-30.5 mpg with automatic in city/highway use.

Tidy size and quick, responsive steering make the xA a nimble urban runabout. A ride-biased suspension deals well with bumps, ruts and most broken pavement, though small-car choppiness occurs on freeways. Handling is safe and predictable, but compromised by moderate cornering lean from the soft suspension, plus limited grip from the skinny 15-inch tires. The bantam xA also wanders in gusty crosswinds and when passed by big trucks. Braking is good in routine driving, but emergency stops aren’t super-short. Refinement is good, all told. The little engine becomes raucous above 4000 rpm, but isn’t too noisy below that, so 60-70 mph cruising is reasonably relaxed. An apparently stout structure with ample sound-deadening keeps highway wind noise at bay and minimizes coarse-pavement tire thrum.

A relatively high body allows occupants to sit comfortably upright, but this five-passenger car is more comfortable for four adults, and the seats are strictly economy-class for size and shape. All-around head room is just OK for six-footers, rear leg space limited. Drivers enjoy generally clear visibility and a tilt steering wheel. But like the sister xB, the xA carries gauges and warning lights in a central dashtop pod, which isn’t angled toward the driver and renders instruments too small and distant for some eyes. Otherwise, Toyota’s usual praiseworthy ergonomics prevail, with simple climate controls and high-set, easy-to-adjust stereo units. Cargo space is limited. There’s room behind the rear seat only for about six grocery bags, and seat folding requires removing the headrests, though the sections lay fairly flat. Cabin storage comprises a modest glovebox, small front-door map pockets, and two dashboard cubbies.


Model Tested: 2005 Scion xA

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 3
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 6

Total: 45


4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
93.3 154.1 66.7 60.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
32.8 11.9 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 38.8 41.3 37.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Scion xA 4-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Rear Passenger Injury - 4


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Audio system
Description: The CD player may stop or pause intermittently and a revised unit with a new microprocessor was released as a correction. (2004)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.