We had both here recently, obviously (by the story). The xb is shocking looking at first, but kinda grows on you. The interior, save the center gauges, is pretty normal. It had an intake and strut bar - interesting for a press car. The xa was an automatic, and was loaded with interior lighting accessories. The xb is roomy enough, but the xa is a little narrow. It felt just as roomy as the ZX3, but with a small trunk. Parked next to the mini it was easy to see how similar the rears are - with the scion being taller of course (the xa). The xa lighting: the radio changes display colors, of course (automatically if you like), but this car also had multi-color cupholder lights, as well as under-dash red neon. Along with the standard glowing cubby compartment under the radio, the interior was very disco, but did not feel ghetto.
They are very nice cars - loads of features, pretty upscale feel. Standard abs, all power access, nice seats, etc. No options, save the side airbags on the xa, cd changer, and dealer add-ons. Very solid feel - doesn't seem "budget" at all.
The stereo was really good for a factory system. REALLY good.
All that for 12500 and 13700. Amazing value indeed.
I think the xA looks okay. The supposed Saturn-like dealer setup is a very good thing, IMO, especially for first time buyers. The problem I see left for the xA is the same as the Echo - the torsion beam rear. If it wasn't for that, they would have good (xA) or excellent (Echo) potential as unassuming performance cars.
It reminds me totally of..."honey, I shrunk the Matrix/Vibe"
Not a bad looking car. I like that rear sloping roof line on the hatch.
The other thing looks like..."honey I shrunk that Honda Element thing or whatever it is called"