2008 Scion xB Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Scion xB Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Scion xB Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 158 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Scion xB

  • More power, more space, more features and, to some eyes, more ugly. But if you can get around that (or if you're in the "love it" demographic), the 2008 Scion xB is a versatile and comfortable runabout with an undeniably funky character.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Long standard features list, strong four-cylinder engine, large passenger and cargo space, audiophile-friendly stereos, styling some people love.

  • Cons

    Styling some people find ugly, center-mounted gauges are hard to see, no telescoping steering wheel.

  • What's New for 2008

    The Scion xB has been redesigned for 2008. Though the second generation of this compact wagon maintains the boxy shape that made the original a cult favorite, the xB's exterior is softer and more rounded this year. More importantly, the xB is now larger, roomier and features a much more robust engine. The interior has been improved as well, highlighted by an impressive array of high-tech audio choices.

Full 2008 Scion xB Review

What's New for 2008

The Scion xB has been redesigned for 2008. Though the second generation of this compact wagon maintains the boxy shape that made the original a cult favorite, the xB's exterior is softer and more rounded this year. More importantly, the xB is now larger, roomier and features a much more robust engine. The interior has been improved as well, highlighted by an impressive array of high-tech audio choices.


"The all-new 2008 Scion xB features a little less funk and a lot more spunk." That certainly sounds like the type of cheesy Grade-A marketing line that an automaker might throw out to describe a vehicle that is more grown-up in size, power and attitude, but we assure you that it it's our cheesy line, not Scion's. After all, this is a brand that's so cool, it even has its own hip-hop music label.

Behind the Scion xB's dare-to-be-square hipness is, of course, the comfortable backing of parent company Toyota. Hatched at a time when Toyota realized it was in danger of losing younger buyers, the spin-off Scion brand first launched with what were essentially rebadged Japanese-market Toyotas. The original xA and xB were well-equipped and affordable small hatchback wagons that could be crammed with dealer-installed customizing features for the Pimp My Ride generation. Looking like a 3/4-scale Chevy Astro, it was the xB and its "love it or hate it" box styling that attracted enough of the former category to become the embodiment of Scion and a success.

The 2008 Scion xB is exactly 1 foot longer than the last box, 3 inches wider and actually 2 inches shorter in height. This creates a more substantial, less toylike appearance, and a more useful overall vehicle. Under the hood, a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine (it's also used in the Scion tC and Toyota Camry) gives the xB 158 horsepower -- 56 hp more than the previous xB. All of this makes the xB a little more grown up, but there's still enough funk present to make George Clinton proud.

To conventional eyes, the xB is not an attractive car -- perhaps less so than the outgoing box but there are quirky little design details everywhere to ingratiate the xB upon those who dig that sort of thing. Inside, there are more funky details, but the larger vehicle dimensions equate to greater space for passengers and cargo. Materials have also improved along with ergonomics, although that does come with an asterisk. The center-mounted gauges are, in fact, better than the last xB's, but they're still too small, too far away from the driver's line of sight and focus more on form than function.

Beyond oddball styling, Scion's other M.O. is its lengthy list of dealer-installed extras -- especially the audio options. While other carmakers have made MP3 player auxiliary jacks standard equipment, Scion has gone one step further with a regular aux jack and a dedicated iPod port that provides power and stereo head unit control. We haven't had a chance to test the regular head unit, but the upgraded stereo provides a user-friendly interface and large screen to toggle through playlists, performers and songs. With the available navigation system, audio control becomes even simpler (and safer) by utilizing the touchscreen to create crystal-clear functions that mirror those on the iPod itself.

The term "love it or hate it" gets thrown about a lot, especially regarding radically different automotive styling like that on the 2008 Scion xB. There are always a few people who love the distinctive and the odd, and for them the xB is the obvious choice over more traditional small hatchbacks or wagons like the Chrysler PT Cruiser or Dodge Caliber. Only time will tell if the all-new xB is embraced like its funky forbear was, but this more substantial and more powerful box certainly has more spunk (and space) to complement all that funk.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Scion xB is a compact wagon offered in one trim only. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels with a choice of three covers, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel and a thumping six-speaker Pioneer stereo with single-CD/MP3 player with both an auxiliary MP3 jack and a dedicated iPod jack that allows one to control iPod playback through the head unit controls.

The dealer-installed customization options include a rear spoiler, 16-inch alloy wheels, faux carbon-fiber interior trim and interior mood lighting in a choice of four colors. An optional premium audio system has a more user-friendly control interface that allows for downloading images and video onto the head unit display. Other options include a touchscreen navigation system, TRD performance parts, satellite radio and a rear DVD entertainment system with LCD screens mounted on the back of the front headrests.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 Scion xB is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 that makes 158 hp and 162 pound-feet of torque. That last number is significant, as there is now plenty of low-end power -- something the previous xB didn't have too much of. The new xB comes with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic with automanual control. In performance testing, an automatic-equipped xB went from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. Due to the 2008 xB's heftier size and larger engine, fuel economy is not as good as it was on the previous version, even when taking into consideration the EPA's revised 2008 rating system: The new xB checks in at 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway.


The xB wagon comes with an impressive array of standard safety features including antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Unlike the xD, there are no active front head restraints.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Scion xB's exterior styling is strange, so why should the interior be any different? We're seldom keen on the idea of centrally mounted gauges, and the xB is not immune to our distaste. The speedometer is at least a digital readout, but the small and oddly angled tachometer is just silly. (Zero rpm is at 10 o'clock.) This ergonomic oddity is a shame, because the rest of the xB is user-friendly and comfortable. The transmission shifter (with the automatic and manual) is mounted high, as is Scion's new array of available stereo control units, which make complicated and distracting actions like navigating through an iPod easier and safer.

Despite its small size, the xB features a large cabin with excellent backseat space and the most tall-driver-friendly front seat in a small Toyota product. A telescoping steering wheel would be nice, though. With its larger luggage area (21 cubic feet) and wider body, the xB's utility easily makes it a fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive alternative to compact SUVs. For instance, with the 60/40-split rear seat folded, the xB's 69.9 cubic feet of space is only 3 cubes smaller than the Toyota RAV4.

Driving Impressions

The all-new 2008 Scion xB is a significant improvement over the car it replaces, feeling more substantial and stable than the old box -- particularly at highway speeds. Despite losing 2 inches in height over the past model, it still has a relatively high center of gravity, contributing to constant, but not overly worrisome, body roll. This isn't intended to be a performance vehicle, but the xB is nonetheless quite confident while cornering, with decent steering feel and response. Like most Toyota-family products, the suspension is tuned for a comfortable ride, but it's still sporty enough to please Scion's young hipster demographic.

Read our Scion xB Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Great little used car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Happy with it PROS: great little short distance commuter. nice simple interior. simple easy to clean exterior. smooth auto trans. nice strong 2.4 engine. very reliable once you replace or update its weak cooling system and weak brakes. strong a/c system. CONS: cheaply built car. cheap interior pieces. mpg is only so so. paint and exterior trim is weak. suspension is a little bumpy. not a long distance freeway car. can't take abuse got this for about 6800.00 cash. the cheaper you get it the better. then upgrade the weak cooling system and braking system. runs about 600.00. if you can afford it. move up to a 2010 and up used model. they were more reliable cars.

Potentially a good car...but not.

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Having grown up on pocket rockets like the GTi, Honda Prelude Si, Civic Si, Mazdas, etc., the Scion xB was a bit more practical extension of that. I only wish Scion would make it with some performance. We know they use the same engine in the tC, so it's a mystery why they castrate the xB so deliberately. Put an engine with actual power below 4k rpm, close ratio 5 or 6 speed manual and auto choices, GOOD sound system, less body roll, NO MORE center gauges then maybe we have a car worth buying again. I've had two of these, and auto and the manual. Both have squeaks and rattles in the same places, and from new and almost new. Plasticky interior, peaky power delivery, lazy throttle response? Wow

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Excellent, reliable, economical vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Purchased a 2008 Scion XB with 48000 miles in 3/2009 and have put 195000 miles on it in just under 5 years. I have not had any problems with this car and it is still driving like new. The key to this longevity is to keep up on the maintenance and to take care of the car. I drive over 50000 highway miles per year and get an average of 25 to 28 mpg. Good job XB.

Don't let the "toaster" deceive

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

As someone who is 6'4", I'm astounded by having 4 inches of clearance over my head when I sit in the car. At the same time, I loved having plenty of leg room in the rear even with the front seats all the way back.The trunk has held up to 4 sets of golf clubs as well. You can't go wrong with the city MPG constantly between 25-27 and the highway between 28-30. The Toyota turning radius and engine is a joy and the engine has enough pep that sub-160 HP feel like a lot more. The acceleration capability is hard to comprehend with the thought of it being a box. I never had a vital part come close to failing after 60K miles. The car also handled in a way that tire wear was incredibly slow.

Fun, reliable vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I am an original owner of an '08 XB which now has 58k miles; I have been satisfied with Toyota quality as I have driven them since 1980. I don't expect luxury, just practicality and affordability. With the XB I have gotten both. I can't expect this vehicle, or any other, to be forever free of mechanical problems since every car will eventually be in need of repairs. Thus far, I've only had to repair shaky brakes due to warped rooters [?] and Scion did require a recall for a faulty power window button, which was covered by the warranty. I am satisfied with this XB and I would purchase one again and recommend one. It is stylish and fun to drive. I can always depend on Toyota.

Solid as a rock...

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

My mother bought the Scion XB brand new in Nov. 2007. It was a random choice I admit. She wanted me to test drive it before she bought it. I thought it would be sluggish, BOY WAS I WRONG! This car has pep in it's step. Drives better than a V6, I think. 99% of new cars nowadays feels like a temporary car. The quality of the XB feels like 10+ years of ownership. The drive and flow feel tight and sturdy. People giving it crap for its drive needs to STHU. This car is under $20K, what do you expect? Interior room is shockingly roomy. I don't like all the crap my mom put on it. I would have liked it as the base model.

Talk About The 2008 xB

2008 Scion xB Discussions See all Started By

2008 Scion xB Long-Term Road Test - Performance Follow along as we discuss the performance of the 2008 Scion xB Base in our long-term road test on Edmunds.com....

Good Underhood - 2008 Scion xB Long-Term Road Test We lived with the 2008 Scion xB for a year. Read all about our daily driving experiences in our long-term road test....


Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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