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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated Oct. 21, 2023

Used Scion Models Pros And Cons

With both new and used cars hitting historic highs, many car shoppers have been looking at "older" vehicles that have aged well as a way of being much more budget-friendly. And various Scion models may very well fit the bill.

2011 Scion tC Coupe

Yes, Scion models are generally considered as quite reliable because they are essentially Toyotas. As a subsidiary of Toyota, its models were built using Toyota's engineering and manufacturing standards. This meant that Scion models inherited many of the qualities that made Toyota vehicles known for their reliability.

Established in 2003 and active until 2016, the brand experienced both success and popularity. However, Toyota decided to discontinue the brand when they decided to rebrand and incorporate some of the Scion models into its main lineup to better target the changing preferences of younger consumers.

And used ones, especially those found with lower than average mileage, are generally regarded as excellent buys due to their reliability, affordability, and overall value.

That said...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Vehicle

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In!

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# and they ask a lot of yes/no questions. They really focus in on the detail of the specific vehicle.

Some Favorite Scion Models

What's fairly unique about used Scion models is that they were all originally produced in only one trim. Then, the initial buyers had the opportunity to customize them with a myriad of aftermarket accessories.

So, used models can be found with all sorts of different options such as body kits, upgraded audio systems, larger wheels, quick-shift kits, custom exhausts and more ... over 40 in all, and many more provided by independent companies.

The Scion tC, introduced for the 2005 model year, was a five-seat compact coupe with a hatchback trunk. This is the most powerful and athletic of the Scions and comes with a strong 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 161 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque (increased for 2011).

What's more, some used tC models can be found with the optional Toyota Racing Development (TRD) supercharger that boosts engine production to 200 horsepower.

2009 Scion tC

The tC is simply a lot of fun to drive. It's also a high quality vehicle with surprising features for a car in this price range. The handling is tight, the acceleration is athletic and it has a more spacious cabin than one would expect. The tC's cabin also has the upscale look and feel of a more expensive vehicle due to its higher-quality materials and metallic-look accents.

tC shoppers should also note that it got a total redesign for the 2011 model year (its second generation). Although still built on the same platform as its predecessor, it was improved in a number of ways, including more power, better gas mileage, improved handling, an upgraded interior and additional features.

Overall Pros: Lots of standard features, ample power, comfortable drive, surprisingly roomy rear seat and storage area.

Overall Cons: Tight headroom for taller occupants, competent but not particularly engaging drive, somewhat bland style in early models.

The Scion xA , was produced for the 2004 through 2006 model years before being replaced by the Scion xD. While a bit of a more family oriented vehicle, they handle extremely well for an economy car, are very comfortable and easy to load with cargo.

2006 Scion xA

The xA, like all the Scions, was produced with a long list of standard features, given the price. These include antilock brakes (ABS), air-conditioning, full power accessories, a rear wiper, a rear window defogger and a premium audio system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary input jack.

Powering the xA was a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produced 103 horsepower. It was mated with either the standard 5-speed manual transmission or the optional 4-speed automatic.

The fuel economy for the xA is excellent with either transmission, rated at 31-32 mpg city and 37-38 mpg on the highway.

Overall Pros: Good handling for an economy car, long standard features list, excellent gas mileage, comfortable seating.

Overall Cons: Some lack of passing power with automatic transmission, no cruise control.

The Scion xB, in addition to its unique look, offers plenty or passenger and/or cargo space for those in the need of roominess. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded flat, the Scion xB boasts a whopping 70 cubic feet of cargo space. In addition, the second-generation xB (2008 and newer) features even larger dimensions as well as more power than earlier models.

2008 Scion xB

We've also been very impressed with its overall visibility, easy drive, smooth automatic transmission and surprisingly good handling. The level of standard features is also above average for an economy car, including antilock brakes (ABS), air-conditioning, full power accessories, traction control, stability control and an MP3-compatible CD player.

xB shoppers should also be aware that it was redesigned for the 2008 model year (its second generation) with added power and larger dimensions. There weren't many changes since: in 2010 it got upgraded audio systems and 2011 saw the addition of a telescoping steering wheel for added driver room.

Overall Pros: Lots of standard features, ample passenger and storage space, advanced stereo systems, unique design.

Overall Cons: It's looks aren't for everyone, modest passing power pre-2008, center gauges can be difficult to see, no telescoping steering wheel until 2011.

The Scion xD was introduced for the 2008 model year as a replacement for the xA. It's a four-door subcompact hatchback powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with variable valve timing that's good for 128-horsepower and 125-pound-feet of torque. The xD offers a better driving experience than its predecessor and also feels a bit more substantial due to its heavier curb weight.

2009 Scion xD

Again, standard features are a big plus, including air-conditioning, full power accessories, antilock brakes with brake assist, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, remote keyless entry, cruise control, stability control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a 6-speaker Pioneer sound system with iPod/USB connectivity and a subwoofer.

Like other Scions, these can also be found with dealer-installed options such as navigation, bigger wheels and tires, larger brakes, quick-shift kits, lowering springs, an overhead console and a carbon-fiber engine cover.

Overall Pros: Long list of standard features, lots of customization options, versatile sliding/reclining backseat, advanced audio systems.

Overall Cons: So-so cargo space, can be tight for taller occupants.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting The Lowest Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Find your next car, truck or SUV on

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at wholesale open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" car if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Car. This works just phenomenally well.

Other Car Buying Tips:

Do This To Get The Best Price For Your Trade-In

The Truth About Wholesale And Trade-in Values

The Best Used Cars For Gas Mileage

Car Buyers Are Being Forced Into Older Vehicles

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Other Older Models Of Possible Interest:
Older Used Volkswagen
Older Used Volvo
Older Used Honda
Older Used Mitsubishi
Older Used Saab
Older Used Toyota
Older Used Hyundai
Older Used Kia
Older Used Mazda
Older Used Nissan
Older Used Saturn