Used Scion xB and tC Will Be Great Buys

Just Because Scion is Ending Production Doesn't Make Them Bad Cars

2008 Scion xB is rated a Good Bet by Consumer Reports. Photo (c) Scion

Recently, it was announced that Scion is discontinuing the xB and tC models. Don't let that discourage you from purchasing either going forward as used cars.

It seems like more and more I am writing about what I call orphan cars - cars that have been discontinued by their manufacturers. Mostly it has to do with poor sales and declining interest in the vehicles.

That's not quite what Scion is claiming about the Scion xB and the Scion tC.

Its general manager claims that Scion has said all along that its models will be one and done. In effect, there won't be an entirely redesigned new car bearing the xB title nor the tC title.

What's weird about the one-and-done claim is I thought the Scion xB was in its second generation. That's a belief backed up by About.com's new car guide Aaron Gold. He referred to the 2008 Scion xB as the second generation, too. He also called it a proper family car.

The strange thing is Aaron also refers to the 2011 Scion tC as being all-new, which would imply a second generation for the little coupe that was first introduced in 2004. Like me, Aaron just kind of liked the car and wasn't bubbling over in his enthusiasm for it.

Or at least that's how I thought I felt about the car - and then I went back and read my review of it (which I can't find online). I described it as a "heck of a good coupe" that was probably going to be ignored because, frankly, Scion had at that point in 2011 become a largely ignored brand.

(That's all changed with the onset of the Scion FR-S, which should finally give the brand some mojo again.)

Of the two, the Scion xB is the much better car and it's a shame to see it go. Consumer Reports fairly loves the Scion xB. It said in its overview (subscription required) "The cube-like xB has very good space efficiency and a roomy interior.

The low floor and high roof make access almost as easy as walking into the next room. Handling is fairly nimble. Good visibility and compact dimensions make the xB a great city car." It calls the Scion xB a Good Bet for a used car.

Like Aaron, Consumer Reports is underwhelmed by the Scion tC (except at the fuel pump). In its overview, the magazine says, "Expect very good fuel economy. 2011's redesign brought a power boost to 180-hp, and a choice of a 6-speed manual or automatic, but the noisy cabin and jittery ride remained." Unlike its sibling, the Scion tC is not considered a good bet as a used car by Consumer Reports.

Use that last little tidbit to your advantage if you are shopping for a coupe. Point out to any prospective sellers that Consumer Reports does not recommend the Scion tC as a good bet and that makes you concerned as a buyer.

Consider that a ploy on your part to get a better price for the vehicle, especially from a private seller. One point to clarify: Consumer Reports has no reliability data for the 2009 to 2011 Scion tC models. That's most likely because not enough data has been supplied by its subscribers to rate the vehicle.

You have little to worry about with older Scion tC models.

Its average reliability by Consumer Reports perplexes me because with the 2005 to 2008 models, only the 2008 model has one white circle (indicating average reliability) for major transmission problems and the 2007 model has average reliability for the fuel system. Otherwise, everything else is above average or excellent reliability.

Let's face it. Scions are made by Toyota. They're going to be fairly reliable. You, as an informed buyer, will know that but sellers may have trouble countering you when you point out Consumer Reports does not label the Scion tC a good bet. That doesn't mean Consumer Reports doesn't recommend the car but it might seem that way.

Frankly, you might have trouble negotiating much on a Scion xB. It's a good bet from Consumer Reports. Less-informed sellers might fall for the belief that its discontinuance lowers its value somewhat.

It's always worth trying.

However don't be upset about paying the asking price for either a Scion tC or Scion xB. Overall, they are both good used cars. As always, make sure you have a complete independent inspection done of any used car before making the final purchase.