The Scion xB is sometimes simply called “The Box.” Its unique, squared-off, wide-panel design is unmistakably urban and youthful—though its edges have been rounded since the new 2008 iteration. This stylish little vehicle is a blend of a small car and a compact crossover utility. Beyond its cool, citified looks, the xB’s appeal comes from a high level of affordability, practicality, and believe it or not, performance.
If you’re thinking about buying a Scion xB, you might also consider a Toyota Matrix or a Kia Soul. Compare these vehicles.
Power for the xB comes from Toyota’s 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine yielding 158 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. That kind of output for a vehicle this size is more than just adequate. It’s downright noticeable. In both highway and city driving, the Scion xB has the ability to punch ahead of traffic when the need arises. Its higher torque number also gives the xB a good shot of power from a standstill position. It unquestionably exhibits more performance prowess than most sub-compacts, compacts, and compact crossovers currently on the market. It’s unlikely that xB owners will ever complain about shortage-of-power issues.
Energy is channeled through either a standard five-speed manual transmission, or an optional four-speed automatic transmission. Both gearboxes result in government fuel economy ratings of 22 city/28 highway.
On the road, the new xB is as stable and solid as before, due to a compliant suspension. But keep in mind that it is a fairly tall vehicle with a higher center of gravity. The Scion xB offers a comfortable ride and good handling, especially for tight, low-speed maneuvering on small city streets and in parking lots. And the vehicle’s oversized windows provide exceptional driver visibility. The xB is quiet and smooth, making it ideal for all types of driving—local errand running, long commutes, or all-out road trips.
The xB’s cabin is deceivingly spacious. There is room enough to seat five comfortably, and total cargo volume that rivals larger vehicles like the Honda CR-V. And there are mindful, yet unexpected interior extras such as a first aid kit, and an optional premium audio system that adds one more feature to the standard head unit. Customers can download images, four-second video clips and eight-second movies from Pioneer’s website. In addition, Pioneer software allows customers to burn their own images and movies onto a CD and upload them onto the available head unit.
Anti-lock brakes and Tire Pressure Monitoring are notable standard features.
The Scion xB is a jack of all trades. It excels in virtually all areas of motoring. With the versatility of an SUV, the efficiency of a compact car, the drivability of a crossover, and the performance of a V6-powered midsize, it’s a curiosity how “the Box” stickers for under $19,000.
“The ’08 xB feels more substantial and more stable, and it’s ultimately more satisfying to drive than the previous model…The new 2008 Scion xB is quite a nice and practical car. We’d certainly buy it before we would a PT Cruiser or a Chevrolet HHR.”
“Instead of something new, Toyota has done to the Scion xB what it has done for the past 25 years at model changeover to the Corolla and Camry: made it larger, heavier, more expensive, and more mainstream. As such, Scion seems to be following the same iterative cycle that got Toyota into trouble with kids in the first place. When exactly did America’s youth start asking for a junior minivan? The bulging new Scion dwarfs its predecessor, not to mention our current favorite compact hatch, the Honda Fit. Ultimately, the new xB is an acceptable car, it’s just not very cool.”
Car and Driver
“The xB has been supersized. It gains a foot in overall length, 4.0 inches of that between the wheels. Overall width is up 2.8 inches, yet height increases only 0.1. A wide and low stance, sculpted wheel arches, and a long front overhang give an appearance of visual mass and menace-a look supported by the addition of 600 pounds of real weight. The cute little box is little no more; equipped with the four-speed automatic, the new xB weighs a portly 3086 pounds.”
“The new xB is a larger, more refined package at the same bargain price. And that certainly appeals to us. But will it appeal to the young, hip 20-something buyers that Scion won over the first time?”