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2010 Scion xB Review

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SEE ALSO: Scion Buyers Guide - 2011-2004



Model: Scion xB
Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC I4
Horsepower/Torque: 158 hp @ 6,000 rpm/162 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 102.4 in.
Length/Width/Height: 167.3 x 69.3 x 64.7 in.
Cargo volume: 21.7/69.9 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
Fuel economy: 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25.7 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 14.0 gal.
Curb weight: 3,086 lbs.
Sticker: $22,213 (includes $670 delivery, processing and handling fee; and $4,573 in options) Five reasons to buy this car: 1. Iconic 2. Utility 3. Economy 4. Spacious

The Bottom Line: The second-generation Scion xB shares the iconic image of its predecessor, but it also has improvements. It’s better looking than the first generation and is more practical to boot.

Scion’s xB was different when it was first introduced. Its shape was decidedly different, even though it has been copied by many manufacturers since. Like the rest of the Scion line, it was small and underpowered, but each of the models had unique properties to make them appeal to, hopefully, a younger buyer.

Oddly, the xB found its buyers to be in the over-40 demographic. So the new generation has more features that should appeal to this demographic.

First, the basis didn’t need changing. We encountered a first-generation xB owner at the Grand Canyon. His xB was overloaded with all his belongings (he was probably moving out) and he couldn’t stop effusing about how much cargo he could carry.

The xB retains that amazing cargo-carrying feature. With the rear seat backs up it will carry 21.7 cubic feet; 69.9 cubic feet with the rear seat backs down. That’s a lot of room.

To tote this terrific load there’s a 2.4-liter V6 under the hood, driving the front wheels. Connected to a 4-speed automatic transmission there’s plenty of oomph. The shifter comes out of the base of the center stack; The engine is noisy, though, and you do have to floor it on Interstate entry ramps. Maybe that’s why the kids keep the audio volume so high.

Even so, the xB is a decent Interstate tourer for long distances. The manual seats are comfortable and the economy is decent, although it could be better. Besides a host of audio choices, there’s an excellent HVAC system that really did the job in some oppressively hot weather.

The front seats offer some side support, even though the xB is not a race car. There’s plenty of headroom in both the front and rear seats. The rear seats offer good leg room, and with a flat floor can handle three passengers there.

Ride quality on less-than-perfect roads could be better, though. The xB is choppy on rough roads and every tar strip on the highway is transmitted back to the driver. Handling is okay on winding roads, with some lean.

Let’s get to the entertainment. The choices are AM/FM/SAT/iPod/USB/CD/AUX. We pretty much stuck with the USB iPod connection for most of our ride and were pleased with the audio quality.

I know there are practical reasons, but the center-mounted instrument panel is not my favorite location. The large, clear digital speedometer that is canted toward the driver almost atones for the poor location. The tachometer, fuel gauge and clock are almost useless.

However, with no instrument panel in front of the driver, there’s a nice ledge for my TomTom GPS. It’s a perfect location.

Besides the excellent rear cargo area, there is a host of extra storage areas in the xB. There’s a storage cubby to the left of the TomTom ledge, bottoms in the door pulls, large door pockets with room for water bottles, two cup holders in the center console and a cubby ledge above the glove box that’s handy for sunglasses, cell phones, etc.

While the xB is not the prettiest car on the road, or the most aerodynamic, its virtues far outweigh the ugly factor.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate