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December 15, 2012

Scion sells good sense across the ages

I’m getting ready to buy a new car. But before I go shopping, I’m compiling a list of models to price and compare. That short list contains two cars from the same brand, the Scion iQ and the Scion xD.

Both models mesh neatly with my wants and needs, for all sorts of reasons.

This will be a second family vehicle, used mostly for local run-arounds. Scion cars are well priced and economical to own, with high fuel-economy ratings. Those are all appealing attributes, because my wife and I don’t want to strain the household budget for an occasional-use car.

But we also don’t want a flimsy tin box that might stutter if it sits in the driveway for a week between starts. Scion sells smaller-sized vehicles, but they have a robust constitution and a dense, solid quality that rings with competence. What’s more, Scions are made by Toyota, which has one of the best reputations in the world for making long-lasting, sturdy and reliable vehicles.

The Scion iQ and xD also are both very practical, although in different ways. The iQ, at $16,140, is very small, but the scamp still seats four people thanks to a unique, innovative arrangement of offset seats. And its stubby, bantam size repays any inconvenience with fabulous fuel economy. The iQ is rated at 36 miles per gallon city, 37 mpg highway.

At a step or two larger than the iQ, the xD is a little bulldog with a very big stomach. The model gives you a high-volume interior relative to the xD’s snubbed, compact body size. Yet while the car offers a lot of hauling utility, and it still manages an impressive fuel-use rating of 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway. The xD lists at $16,500 for a model with a five-speed manual transmission.

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