Overview : The Marketing for the Scion vehicles is targeting the young, first time car buyer market. A recent need identified during my Grandparents's car shopping has revealed another possible market.
Background : My grandfather just turned 90. He still drives, mows his own lawn and is fairly mobile ( for 90 ). My grandmother is in her late 80's and uses a walker to get around.
Grandpa was driving a 1987 Ford Aerostar with 200,000+ miles on it. It had some issues and the decision was made to buy a new vehicle instead of repairing the van.
The search began with a focus on another van. Important features were as follows: Price, Easy Access, interior room, gas economy, visibility.
The minivans proved challenging because of several reasons. Most were too high for grandma to easily climb in to. Also, the pricing was not in line with the budget. The visibility was also a concern due to the many blind spots present with most minivan designs.
Next look was at economy sedans. All of these were ruled out because the seating was much too low for my grandmother to stand up out of. This, as I am finding out with my research, is a fairly common concern without a common solution.
The good thing about the economy sedan search was that they ended up at a Scion dealer. From the start, the Scion xB was a comfortable fit. Every other dealer had no solution to the access problem for grandma. By the time the salesman had pulled the brouchure for grandpa on the xB, grandma was already seated in the passenger seat; without assistance.
The test drive sealed the deal as the driver has a nearly un-obstructed view all around. The instruments, especially the speedometer, have huge numbers on them that are easy to read. The speedometer is also located in the general driving sight-line. This makes it easy to keep track of your speed AND keep your eyes on the road.
The price was right and the deal was sealed soon after.
Grandpa currently has about 2900 miles on with mostly city driving. They still love it.
Other features they really like:
High MPG : Around 30+ per gallon in the city.
Great head clearance : You could wear a "Lincoln Hat" inside according to Grandpa.
Easy rear stowage : Lots of room for Grandma's walker
Generous Passenger Space : Lots of knee room for two additional passengers in the rear seat.
They get noticed : Grandpa gets lots of looks driving around in the xB. He even got pulled over by the police who asked if it was really his vehicle. They don't mind the attention one bit.
I also got to drive it. I really liked the feel of it as it handled very much like a small, high quality sedan instead of the SUV feel I was expecting. The power at low engine RPM was pretty good considering it's size. No problems pulling out into traffic or passing. The sound system controls are really well set up and it sounds great.
There are also a lot of power features and other features ( rear wiper, ABS, tilt steering wheel ) that came standard. For the $15,000 price tag, it was a pretty good deal.
Also, you should know that Scion is a no-haggle dealer. Some people ( like grandpa ) like that approach, some don't.
I would encourage anyone looking at a new car to shop around and try them ALL. Try anything that fits into your general budget and requirements. Cross off the ones that don't work for you and negotiate you best deal with the ones that do work. Take you time and don't let any "sale" or "rebate" or "financing" be your only decision maker.
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