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Scion xB. (TOYOTA)
Scion xB. (TOYOTA)

What Car?

The Scion, Y not? Add to ...

Jeremy and Michael:

I just saw a big ad in a bus shelter that says the Scion is going on sale here. I think it's about time. I have friends in Buffalo that drive Scions and I'm interested.

One of them has a black Scion van - big wheels, dark windows - it's slammed like an Escalade. Another brother has a low-riding, tricked-out Scion street racer that blows away Civics. What are they gonna sell here and do you guys think they are any good?

More related to this story

DeWayne

2011 Scion xD
.

Cato: After eight years - eight years! - of selling its so-called "youth brand" down south, Toyota is finally expanding to Canada. We're getting three Scion models and they'll be sold only in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Mark your calendar: Sept. 28.

The lineup: the boxy, five-passenger vehicle xD ($17,200), the bigger and boxier five-passenger xB ($18,270) and that racy little two-door hatchback, the tC ($20,850).

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2011 Scion tC.
It's been a long wait, but Toyota's 'youth brand' is arriving north of the border for the 2011 model year.

Vaughan: DeWayne, the one in Buffalo that looks like a mini Cadillac Escalade is the xB and the "street racer" is the tC. That one has 180 horsepower and it should eat stock Honda Civics for lunch.

Cato: Vaughan, you're missing DeWayne's point. The story here is the idea of Scion, and whether it's a good idea to launch a new brand right now.

With Scion sales in the U.S. slumping, maybe Toyota should focus on its core brand, rather than spending resources on a "youth brand."

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2011 Scion tC.
Vote Now: Love this car? Hate it? Have your say.

Vaughan: Cato, you know how these things work. Toyota Canada got the order to introduce Scion. And it might work out for the best. Scion will sell the 8,000 or 10,000 cars in the plan, but not to kids. Scions will end up in suburban driveways, driven by older folks.

Cato: That's because the three Scions - by the way, a fourth, the iQ is coming next year - look good and are all loaded for the price: air conditioning, cruise control, power locks windows, huge sound system.

Still, what Toyota/Scion really wants buyers to do is load up on dealer accessories. Then, DeWayne, the Scions here in Canada will look like your friends' cars in Buffalo. And the Scion and its dealers will rake in $3,000 or $4,000 in extra accessory sales.

Vaughan: Cato, you've nailed it. It will take serious coin to dress up these cars. Even so, I think an elderly, retired schoolteacher would feel comfortable tooling around in these and you, DeWayne, wouldn't want to be confused with that.

Scion xD.

Cato: Vaughan, Vaughan, Vaughan. Didn't you read the press releases? Toyota - ahem, Scion - has worked out this big spiel about how the Y Generation is attached to the Internet 24 hours a day and wants instant gratification with the click of a mouse. They want their cars their way, right now. That's the hook - customization.

So why on earth do you think Scions will sell to old-age pensioners who don't know a mouse from a memory stick?

Vaughan: Let me be clear, Cato. The retirement crowd won't like the tC coupe. It's too low to get into, and besides, there's no room in back for the walker or the oxygen bottles. But the square ones - the xB and xD - are going to be a hit at Happy Acres Assisted Living. These are top-quality shoeboxes that are easily affordable on public sector pensions.

Cato: If you're right, well, we've seen this movie before. Honda built the Element for X Games-types - skateboarders, BMW bikers and surfers. Instead, Elements were snapped up by stay-at-home moms and grandparents.

But there's a chance Scion will different. Perhaps the marketers and product planners have nailed it. Let's give them credit for trying to flog Scions at rock concerts and yoga parties.

Besides, these cars seem to have all the features the twentysomethings want. As long as they continue to live in their parents' basements, they should be able to afford them.

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Vaughan: DeWayne, I'm sure there's some way you can sign up online to test drive the lot. Do it.

I am very impressed with the quality I see in these cars, although I don't like the seats. And the all-included price is very reasonable.

But talk to your friends in Buffalo about how to customize this stuff 'cuz they need it.

Of the lot I'd say the xD is the one. Great price, loaded with goodies. However, it is about the size of something a $90,000 Escalade would tow as a lifeboat. And you can't do anything about that with window tinting and fancy wheels.

Cato: No, the Scion to own is the bigger, better xB. For another grand or so you've got something completely useful. The question is, DeWayne, are you young enough to buy a Scion?

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CTV.

Scion xB

HOW THEY COMPARE





2011 Scion xD

2011 Scion xB

2011 Scion tC

Wheelbase (mm)

2,461

2,600

2,700

Length (mm)

3,924

4,249

4,420

Width (mm)

1,725

1,760

1,796

Height (mm)

1,524

1,610

1,414

Engine

1.8-litres, four-cylinder

2.4-litres, four-cylinder

2.5-litres, four-cylinder

Output (hp)

(torque)

128 hp

125 lb-ft.

158 hp

162 lb-ft.

180 hp

173 lb-ft.

Drive system

Front-wheel

Front-wheel

Front-wheel

Transmission

Five-speed manual

Five-speed manual

Six-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)

1,190

1,370

1,388

Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

7.4 city

5.9 highway

9.5 city

7.2 highway

10.2 city

7.6 highway

Base price (MSRP)

$17,200

$18,270

$20,850

SOURCE: CAR MANUFACTURERS

 

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