2008 Scion xB Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Scion xB Wagon

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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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



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 10 people found this review helpful

Less impressed than i'd hoped

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

Bought used in 2011 with just under 50K. I researched this car for about a year before buying, so I knew what I was getting. Been less than impressed during the past year of ownership. I wanted so badly to like this car, but the little things are added up to an unpleasant driving experience. If I could go back and do this all over again, I'd likely have gotten a different car, or an automatic.



6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Excellent car

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

I cant believe these neg comments about this Scion XB. They must work for the UAW in Detroit? The 2.4 ltr 4 cyl is the best 4 cyl on the market. I had that same engine in my 2004 Toyota Solara and my daughter is now driveing it with over 200k mi and not one problem. My 08 XB has been 100% no problem. I have the 5speed trans, and average 27 city and 32 highway. I put Michelin MXV4 tires on and the ride is perfect. Love the car and dont believe these neg comments. I Don't!!




Worse car ever!!

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

Do not buy scions because the are really low quality. I had multiple issues with my car and Toyota has the worse service ever. Clutch went bad, AC went bad, Hand brake went bad, Water pump went bad . I purchased this car new and it has less than 60,000 miles on it. Now they found a defect on the roof of the car and they have to replace my roll bar by removing the roof and by re assemble the car. This car is junk! I will never buy a Toyota again!



22 of 22 people found this review helpful

Some good, some bad

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

I bought my 2008 XB used, with 26k miles at around 25 months old. It's a 5-speed model, and was at a dealership for a very nice price, perhaps because most people don't drive cars with manuals these days. Most of these Scions are holding their value very well, so it was hard to pass this one up. I'm a 50 year old guy, who's now more interested in a roomy, economical, and reliable car, than one which I hope will impress people. I've owned it for over one year now, and have some good impressions, and some not so good. Driving experience: The car handles and brakes surprisingly well. The suspension is very simple and should prove rugged and reliable. The steering ratio is quick, the turning radius short, and the suspension quite firm without being harsh. The driving position however seems at odds with the handling prowess of the car. From the drivers seat, it just doesn't feel particularly sporty. There are minimal seat adjustments, decent but not well bolstered seats, and a rather high mounted shift lever, with the end result just feeling a bit awkward if you try to drive in too agressive of a manner. While the seats are indeed better than most I found in this price/class of vehicle, it would be nice for a lumbar control or lower seat angle adjustment. The drivers seat will raise and lower, but it's pivoted at the front, thus when raised you tip forward. On the highway it's surprisingly quiet and composed for an econocar. One odd problem I've found is when wearing my size 11 work boots, my left toe rubs on the clutch pedal lever unless I pull my leg back un-naturally, while my right foot can just barely fit between the brake pedal and the center housing to reach the gas pedal. There simply isn't much room under there for an average work boot. My normal shoes don't experience this problem. There's a sizable right rear blind spot, which makes it a crap shoot backing out of an angled parking space, as well as large side view mirrors which obstruct your view to the side. If you tend to drive in nice weather with the window down and your arm hanging out, you may want to begin looking for a decent physical therapist since the window opening is quite high and you'll eventually tear your rotator cuff. Winter driving: The standard tires are round, and that's about it. The traction control works very well, asuming it's working (more later) and it's needed, due to the lame tread pattern of the Bridgestone tires, and very low ground clearance of the car. Many people lower these cars, which should make them a real adventure when encountering a pothole. Speaking of tires, the spacesaver spare is mounted on a wheel, the color of which should be called puke yellow. I reckon that's so you won't be tempted to leave it on for long. There's no discrete vent always aimed at the drivers side window to keep the side view mirror visible on frosty days, so you'll need to aim your dash vent in that direction. The passenger side has a separate vent. Perhaps it's the small wheel wells, but ice tends to form in the front wheel wells and rub on the tires, more than in most cars. Engine: Impressive low rpm punch, acceleration, snort, whatever you want to call it. This thing just plain scoots if you want it to. I do my own repairs, and the normal maintenance items are easy to find under the hood, with the parts that will eventually fail (alternator, water pump, A/C compressor) easy to see and reach. There is some chatter on a Scion forum about leaking water pumps, and mine isn't visibly leaking yet, although there is a pink stripe directly above the pump on the underside of the hood. Gas mileage-wise, I get 23-26 in city winter driving, in the cold state of Iowa, which I feel is fine since my daily commute is only a few miles each way. In warm weather the number rises to 25-28 in town, and up to 35 on a mixture of 55 and 65 mph roads. These figures are when the car is carefully driven however. Transmission: A smooth but long throw hydraulic clutch, widely spaced gear ratios, and a high mounted shifter without a reverse lock result in a car that doesn't ask to be driven aggressively. It took me a few weeks of driving to make nice smooth shifts. People do praise the automatic transmission, but I never drove one. 65 mph occurs at 2700 rpm, which is fairly normal for a car like this, although I do feel the car has the power to be geared higher. Interior: I like the blank dash in front of my face when looking straight down the road. Having the instruments slightly to the right gives you an un-cluttered view of where you're going, which is a good thing. A few of the oddities are slightly annoying however. The only clock is part of the trip computer, which has 8 functions. You can only view one at a time, so if you're watching the gas mileage, you don't see the clock. If you could choose which function to view from the steering wheel there would be no problem, but you can't. The standard radio is actually closer to the passenger than the driver, which is a bit odd, and the climate control's temperature knob is behind the shifter knob when in odd numbered gears. Speaking of the standard Pioneer stereo system, it's impressive. I'm an audio nut from long ago, and can honestly say that unless you're a kid wishing to annoy entire neighborhoods with hip-hop, you won't be upset with the sound quality, assuming you learn how to use the various features of the stereo. Most factory stereos in a car of this price are fairly basic, but this one is a nice surprise. Well done Scion. The interior feels cavernous, with easy access (meeting the approval of my 89 year old Mom), backseat legroom like a limo, and enough hard surfaces to create echos. The center console is a few inches too low to be of any use as an armrest, but its storage area is deep enough to hold CDs. The drivers seat has a fold down arm rest, that gets in the way of the seat belt when up, so that's a minor annoyance. There's a storage area under the rear seats, which is a fine idea, except that whatever you put under there tends to slide around a lot on the hard plastic. I recently loaded a standard sized kitchen range into the rear and closed the hatch, so there is indeed lots of useful space. Exterior: Yeah, it's odd looking, so what? It would be nice to have a key lock for the rear hatch, just in case. The only keyhole on the outside of the car is for the driver's door. The roof is the longest, flattest expanse seen since the early 70's full sized station wagons, which is a good thing since I use an aftermarket roof rack for a canoe or kayak, and the further apart the bars are, the better. The paint seems to be very thin and dainty. It's just too easy to scratch, so you'll be needing a container of touch-up paint, which judging from the price at the Scion dealer, contains precious metals and diamonds. Problems: Being the first year for this model, there are indeed some bugs. Some quite serious and pricy, if they occur after the warranty expires. In my case, my anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control are now kaput due to a known problem with a rear wheel speed sensor, and being two months out of warranty, I'm looking at a 700 - 900 dollar repair. And that's only for one of the sensors. Double that number when the other one fails. It seems as though they aren't waterproof. Scion knows about the problem, there's a TSB on it, but chooses not to issue a recall or an extended warranty on this issue. Since it concerns most of the safety functions of the car, I find that disturbing. There are also issues with the water pump, electric power steering, windshield cracking, and an assortment of creaks and groans to name a few. Overall, I'm basically pleased with the car, but disturbed by the reliabilty concerns. It reminds me of the Ford Fiestas from the late 70's, on a larger scale, but without the simplicity and reliability.




Jekyll and hyde

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

Power is excellent. MPG better than EPA numbers. Numerous safety, convenience and "handling" features. Solid construction. 100% reliable. Now the Mr. Hyde side: I got the 5-speed. Unfortunately (since day one), the gear-shifter clunks when I change gears, the accelerator pedal has no feel- nor does the clutch- so I can't engage gears smoothly. And the brakes grab. Most of the remainder of the Mr. Hyde side of the xB's personality has to do with all the gauges being too far to the right. It takes too long to find and read them (I won't take my eyes off the road for more than one second at a time). Summary: Solid and reliable car at a great price, but don't get the 5-speed stick.



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.

Introduction

"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.

Safety

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

Talk About The 2008 xB

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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