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2008 Scion xB Review

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2008 Scion xB

Model: Scion xB
Engine: 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 158 hp @ 6000 rpm/162 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Wheelbase: 102.4 in.
Length x Width x Height: 167.3 x 69.3 x 64.7 in.
Tires: P205/55R16
Cargo volume: 21.7 cu. ft. (69.9 cu. Ft. with rear seat backs folded)
Economy: 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/27.8 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 14.0 gal.
Price: $18,995 (includes $580 delivery, processing and handling fee, $2,775 in options)

The Bottom LineThe redesigned xB is slightly rounder, but it still retains all the attributes of the original – excellent carrying capacity, quirky good looks, inventive storage areas inside the car, and a lot of pep for a small vehicle.

Of the four vehicles that Scion/Toyota has produced over the past couple of years, the xB is the true iconic Scion. It’s the square one that, according to my wife, is ugly. But it’s the vehicle that’s most recognizable as a Scion and it, along with the PT Cruiser, has grown into a small delivery vehicle for local manufacturers.

For 2008, Scion has redesigned the xB. It’s rounder and larger, with a slightly longer section behind the C-pillar. But it still retains all its Scion-ness, in that it provides a great base for customization and/or modification for uses other than strict transportation. As you know, we only evaluate for transportation since the manufacturers shy away from permitting us to repaint their vehicles to project a more contemporary image that the one projected by the grey-haired driver.

I like the redesign, although I’m one who didn’t think the original was that bad. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with it at the beginning, but the xB is a car that grows on you. It’s cute, in a non-cute sort of way. But once you’ve driven it for a while and learned its many features, you learn to like it even more.

The xB is a decent Interstate cruiser, even though we didn’t spend that much time cruising around. There’s a decent amount of power from the 2.4-liter inline four cylinder engine which, connected with a 5-speed manual transmission that is almost dash-mounted, allows the driver to extract the most from it. I had no trouble merging onto highways or zipping away from stop lights.

On back roads, the handling is very good. Although the aspect ratio isn’t the greatest with the tall cab, there isn’t too much body lean on hard cornering. The cloth front seats offer good side support, which is enough for the type of car this is.

No matter where we drove it, the xB delivered excellent fuel economy at 27.8 mpg overall. This figure was obtained with minimal Interstate driving. If we had spent more time on the highways, I would have expected a mileage number in the range of the EPA highway estimate, but with mostly suburban driving, this was great.

I have always been impressed with the way Scion designers make excellent use of the space available. For example, there are spaces for water bottles in the doors. This isn’t new, but the space is there. Also, there is a pull pocket cubby to the left of the wheel for the driver and there’s one above the glove box for the passenger. There’s even space to hold a cell phone in front of the center-mounted instrument panel. There are the requisite two cupholders in the center console. There’s even storage under the rear seats.

As for audio – which is an important factor for the demographic the xB is aimed at – there’s a neat radio that offers (if you can figure it out) AM/FM/XM/CD and auxiliary sources. The AUX input is in the center console. I had great difficulty figuring out how to adjust the Pioneer radio to find the stations I like and finally gave up. However, in a later Scion drive, I was able to figure it out, so it’s not beyond the intelligence of an old man.

The rear seats offered excellent leg, head and shoulder room. There’s also excellent storage (21.7 cubic feet) behind the rear seat. With the rear seat backs folded, this increases to a humungous 69.9 cubic feet, which would make the xB ideal for a couple who wanted to travel.

The xB’s redesign also adds a spoiler over the rear window that’s effective in keeping dirt off the rear window.

As the iconic Scion, the xB redesign has a lot to offer and does it in its own style. Maybe the word for the xB is style – it isn’t high-end style, but it does what it does with its own style, and that’s important.

2007 The Auto Page Syndicate