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The Scion xA debuted alongside the xB in 2003. Although the xA is similar to the Toyota Yaris, it has stronger suspension, fatter tires, a higher ride height, and bigger brakes. Standard Scion xA features also include power windows, ABS brakes, tilt steering, and an audio system with iPod connectivity and MP3 playback.

The xA is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 108 hp. It does not have stability control like the xB, but its fairly nimble handling does well on both city streets and back roads. The xA sold well, but not as well as its xB counterpart. While it targeted a younger demographic, the average buyers were around 30 years old.

Looking for a car that can handle long commutes? The Scion xA may be the right fit. Here we compare it to the Honda Fit and Toyota Prius, both known for its trademark quality, top-notch standard features, and fuel economy.

Horsepower and price

The Honda Fit’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine gives it 117 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque — more powerful than the Scion xA’s 108 hp engine. However, the xA beats the 98 hp produced by the Toyota Prius’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.

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As of June 2013 3 million Prii have been sold!

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With an average price of about $12,000, the Prius is more expensive than both the Honda Fit and Scion xA (the Fit’s average price is about $10,000). The Prius also comes with excellent fuel economy and a comfortable ride. While the Honda Fit has ample space and a large, versatile cargo hold, its limited features are a downside.

Why we still chose the Scion xA

1. Price

The xA is very affordable. Retail prices vary between $3,800 for the 2004 model and $4,250 for the 2005. At around $4,600, the 2006 xA is the most expensive.

2. Gas mileage

The Scion xA has an EPA rating of 27 MPG city, 35 MPG highway, and 29 MPG combined (the same rating for both automatic four-speed and manual five-speed transmissions). Better than its xB counterpart (22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway), the xA’s gas mileage is quite close to the Honda Fit’s EPA rating of 28 MPG city and 35 MPG highway.

3. Maintenance and repairs

The Scion xA’s estimated maintenance and repair costs range from $70 to $2300. However, the average maintenance and repair costs are often around $200 depending on your service provider.

Oil changes will likely be the most frequent service the car needs. However, the system is not algorithm-driven, so it doesn’t account for different driving conditions, weather conditions, or load weight. So, you’ll need to pay attention to your driving conditions.

Scion recommends drivers schedule maintenance checks according to the miles covered. You should schedule basic services, like oil and tire checks, every 5,000 miles. Intermediate services (checking the brake fluid and cooling systems) should be done every 15,000 miles. Plan for advanced services every 30,000 miles.

There you have it. With the Scion xA, you get Toyota’s standard reliability, plus fuel economy that will help you to cover long distances both effectively and economically.