2.4L I4 DOHC VVT-i
158 hp @ 6,000
162 lb-ft @ 4,000
If there is one thing I have given the world it’s my belief that “Being intelligently different is what leads to innovation”. In the case of the Scion xB I was really hoping it would be the case. The first generation was kind of a poor drive, but the second gen looks more promising. It is a less radical design but still a very boxy and different shape. It is marketed as a very high tech and youth friendly vehicle and get a load of this; my tester is a limited edition “Release Series 10.0” with a serial number.
For starters, this limited edition will cost you $2,585 more than the base model, while adding the 4-speed automatic gearbox adds another $1,020 to the price for an “as tested” MSRP of $22,565. In return, you get a peppy 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, 16” steel wheels with full covers, A/C, a touch enabled head unit capable of mp3 and Bluetooth, USB ports, LED day lights, ABS, Stability Control and six airbags. The “Release Series 10.0” edition comes with wireless charging in the centre console, backup camera and cool illuminated elements inside and out, including the serial number of the car projected on the passenger floor mat.
In terms of technology, Scion seems not up-to-date with what the competition is offering now days, because as if they think this car is packed with technology then perhaps they need to go for a ride in something as simple as a Nissan Rogue. I do see the potential for pimping out the xB, but out of the box there is nothing really impressive about it, in terms of technology at least. Yes, it has wireless phone charging, but if my Samsung Galaxy S5 doesn’t support it, I don’t really see anyone using it. But it is cool, it just doesn’t work.
The boxy design is the canvas to which that spectacular white paint has been sprayed on; the green sparkle under certain lighting is really fancy and impressive. The interior is as unconventional as the exterior, with the instrument cluster placed in the middle and a multi-level dashboard. Quality-wise it is entry level, hard plastics have been used throughout the cabin but at least the fit and finish between them is good. Ergonomically it is fine once you get used to it as most controls are within reach and clearly labeled.
The driving position is very upright, much like a van, visibility is excellent, roominess is outstanding and with the A-pillars being so far away, the room at shoulder level is stupidly ample. The seats are comfortable and as supportive as they need to be, the pedals are positioned well and with the necessary adjustments being available a comfortable posture is minutes away.
The rear seats are very roomy too, the floor is flat with no centre tunnel, and with the roof going straight across you can load items standing upright which is impossible in any other car in the class. The seats are very comfortable and spacious for two adults, a third one could fit but the limited width of the car means a bit of a squish. The trunk is shaped in a way it can be fully utilized, the hatch opening is as wide as it gets, and folding the rear seats really does create a van. Minimum capacity is 329 L that is fine for everyday use.
Under the pointy hood, the veteran 2.4L 4-Cylinder engine is found, outputting 158 HP and 162 lb-ft. Mated to a pre-historic 4-speed auto you ‘d think the result would be dreadful, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Pulling power is more than enough for the character of the vehicle, propelling it to 100km/h in just 9”. The transmission is actually fine, the ratios are spread out nicely and shifting is very smooth. Even on the highway, it is relaxed and not too noisy. Fuel economy is perhaps the only thing paying the price as we averaged 11.6lt/100km, which is above average. Or below. Or just worse.
Behind the wheel and on the move, the xB is pretty nice, meaning that it rolls effortlessly and it is refined and very comfortable over bumps. The steering is not very involving, the brakes are a bit spongy, but somehow driving the xB is fun, mainly because it is so different. Handling is safe, despite the aged rear suspension, the rear end remains loyal to the path set by the nose; understeer is the only thing you need to worry about, but really the stability control will do it for you.
It is the most practical small car you can buy, it looks very different and it comes with a reasonable price tag. It can be the base for some pretty crazy projects, it can deliver packages or turn into your hotel room for a night. One thing is for sure, if you really like it, there is nothing else out there really similar to it.
Tons of space
Not really high tech
Wind noise on the highway