2008 Scion xB
The 2008 Scion xB
gets a facelift from the funky original model, which seemed to take more styling cues from a shoebox than anything else. While some loved the last generation’s edgy styling (pun intended), the new model has been rounded out to appeal to a wider audience. The xB has grown in virtually every dimension, from engine size and output to overall mass, the result being a car that delivers a superior driving experience. While fuel economy has taken a minor hit, overall the new xB is a more comfortable, more competent and more versatile compact crossover.
What's to Like
As with all Scions, the xB has an impressive standard features list. The engine has gained 55 hp, helping the slightly larger 2008 xB haul more cargo with less effort.
What's Not to Like
The strange dash and gauge cluster placement takes some getting used to. Fuel economy has decreased in the new model; remember, with power comes lesser economy.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
The new xB is a lot chunkier than its predecessor, now weighing in at around 3,050 lbs, roughly 600 lbs heavier than the car it replaces. As a result, it feels much more stable at highway speeds. The relatively high driving position makes the car feel somewhat unwieldy, but once you begin to explore its handling you will realize that it is actually quite nimble, even at low speeds. The brakes have little trouble bringing the bulkier xB down to slower speeds, with standard ABS assisted front ventilated discs and solid rear discs.
Engine and Drivetrain
The 2008 xB gets a substantial engine upgrade, replacing a 1.5-liter, 103 hp inline four with a torquey 2.4-liter unit, which makes 158 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The power gain really shows at lower revs, the xB no longer needing to be spinning near the redline before it begins to accelerate. A 5-speed manual transmission comes standard, while a 4-speed automatic can be added as a $950 option.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Scion likes to encourage drivers treat their cars as an extension of their personalities and, as such, the options and accessories list for the xB is extensive to say the least. Worthy of mention is the Scion Navigation System, which works intuitively and replaces the stock stereo unit in the dash, giving the xB’s interior a very modern, sleek touch. A host of extras from Toyota’s TRD performance division such as massive 19-inch alloy wheels, lowering springs, sway bars and even a limited slip differential can be specified to improve your xB’s performance and give it your personal style.
Key Technology Evaluation
The stock 160-watt Pioneer audio system with steering wheel mounted controls and an iPod connector comes standard, so you won’t have to worry about leaving your digital music library at home when it’s time to hit the road. The instrument panel, while unorthodoxly placed, has a hip red-on-black color scheme. Power mirrors and cruise control add to the impressive standard features list. Don’t forget the options, mostly pretty techy for the segment.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
Being as the engine has grown by almost an entire liter in displacement from the previous xB, the 2008 model’s fuel economy has declined, but not brutally so. Both the manual and automatic manage to yield 22 mpg during city driving; while on the highway that figure improves 28 mpg. The engine is rated ULEV-II.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
The xB’s rather unconventional proportions give it a roomy interior for a four-door compact. The high command position makes it easy for adults to fit in the front and back, the seats are sufficiently comfortable and plenty of cargo space is on hand for hauling, especially with the back seats either partially or fully folded.
It’s easy to say that the xB isn’t for everyone, but for many the exterior styling has improved over the previous iteration’s low, boxy look. A few more curves, revised front headlights and more sloped hood make the new xB looks more like a shrunken SUV than a boxy, compact city car.
Market Segment and Pricing
The five-speed xB comes in at a base price of $16,270, while an auto will set you back $17,220. While it may not offer the fuel economy of a Honda Fit
or Saturn Astra
, the slight price premium of the Scion reflects its solid host standard features.
What We Think
If the exterior styling and unique instrument panel don’t bother you - in fact, you may love it - it’s hard to go wrong with the xB. The increased mass makes for a good drive, while the 2.4-liter engine’s powerband gives it ample power at all speeds. For the price, customization abilities and versatility, it’s a difficult car to beat, especially at well under $20,000.