Toyota founded its Scion brand in 2004 largely to appeal to younger buyers who might think of Toyotas as cars for parents. Its first models in the U.S. were based on typical Asian subcompacts. Though underpowered by American standards, they provided a quirky, efficient alternative to conventional subcompacts. The boxy xB, in particular, was a surprise success.
Replacement models were more conventional, including a larger xB and an xD that also was larger than the xA. Both are more powerful and, as a result, significantly less efficient. As of its introduction, Scion's most traditional model, the tC, was an underappreciated compact coupe with a high-quality interior and more legroom than what many small sedans offer. The second generation takes a step back in interior quality but improves in gas mileage.
Scion's newest model, the iQ, is a 3.5-seat minicar based on an Asian-market Toyota car of the same name. Its tiny size makes it the first true competitor to the Smart ForTwo.
Headquartered in Torrance, Calif., Scion is wholly owned by Toyota.
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