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Some vehicle models, no matter how innovative, fade into obscurity over time. The boxy, fun Scion is a perfect example of a new ride that came on stage, larger than life, but then fizzled with consumers. Due to less consumer demand, and for a few model years, mechanical problems, the Toyota Scion chapter closed after 2016. 

For those looking for a used car this year, don’t let the discontinued status of Scion deter you from test-driving one. In fact, there are two models for the personality-loaded ride that still earn high marks among the critics. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn both typically sell today for less than $5,000.

Is Scion a defunct Toyota brand?

The initial sales figures for Scion were through the roof. But in 2010, as we reported before, Scion only sold around 45,000 units. There was a recession going on at the time.

In a last-ditch effort to survive, Scion came out with the iQ variation, targeting big-city commuter drivers. But that approach also failed, and Scion stepped out of Toyota’s portfolio.

Just because there aren’t new Scion models today doesn’t mean they still don’t occasionally grace the lists of “good buys.” Forbes recently dove in evaluate several vehicles that Americans can buy today for less than $5,000. And of the 20 candidates, all prioritized by reliability scores and low cost of ownership data, there are two Scion models you might consider.

Major props are in order for the 2006 Scion xB

In 2021, you really can’t buy much of any car with $5,000. But the 2006 Scion xB deserves major props and lands on the Forbes “best buy” list. The team picked this model year because of its distinct, mini-truck-looking design that’s still unique today.

The compiled previous owner reviews all suggest great reliability ratings. There’s plenty of interior space, the fuel efficiency is good, and it’s still a fun drive. 

It may be hard to find a lower-mileage used model after 17 years. And a test drive is recommended to see how you feel about the noisy highway driving. Some suggest the automatic transmission seems sluggish too. But apart from these setbacks, you’ll likely be pleased with everything the Scion xB has to offer.

Don’t overlook the Scion xD

Forbes also suggests looking at the 2008-2012 Toyota Scion xD, the more upright-looking version of the earlier xA model. The reliability ratings might be a little lower, but the interior is nice, the features feel high-level for an older model, and the dashboard layout is appealing.

Despite its age, it still looks quasi-modern. And the 128-hp, four-cylinder engine delivers as expected, although it won’t be overly impressive. Its fuel economy is marginal and cargo area small, but for $5,000, it’s a good buy.

Edmunds weighed in on the 2012 Scion xD with pros and cons, as well. Customizing this model year Scion was easy, with several trims and versions to consider.

Of course, finding specific configurations today might be a challenging prospect. Overall, the stereo system was rated well, and the reclining back seat was an innovative touch. If you’re tall, you probably won’t be comfortable, though. And if you have lots of things to haul, you might be frustrated with the cargo area.

These Scion models can be smart used car buys

If you need a vehicle for less than $5,000, you should keep these 2006-2012 xB and xD models on your radar. Be mindful of each vehicle’s history report that you consider and verify that any recalls and problems have been addressed before handing over the cash.

In the end, a used Scion makes a great first car for young drivers and an economical buy for anyone buying used. Even scrolling through the Reddit conversations among consumers, who say these rides are still reliable, affordable, and anything but boring.

Don’t let the discontinued status of Scion deter you. They still are great vehicles and worth the $5,000 or less you can expect to spend.


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