We bought this car because my 80yr old parents could easily get in and out of this car easily. There is enough headroom that my father could even wear his Stetson hat! Not many cars have that much head room, and there was plenty of room in the front seat or the back seat for his long legs! We have had this car for over 8 years, and the only thing it has needed was a new battery, which is pretty good for over 100,000 miles on it.
Buy an XB if you want amazing interior leg room in a small wagon, a smooth ride with the automatic model, and an interior that can go completely flat from dashboard to rear hatch to create comfortable sleeping space. Can do just one side like that, as well, if one person wants to drive and one person wants to sleep. This car is so, so roomy inside, and yet it's so small, really, that you often can't see it in parking lots. It can be a real workhorse, too, because the interior seat configuration that can flatten out on one side or both and you can throw lumber inside, surfboards, bikes, animal kennels - whatever. Very versatile.
Only negatives I can think of are: 1) it rides low to the ground, so if you so much as drive up too far in a parking space and hit the cement stopper, you may cosmetically damage your front bumper (have done). Also, there is somewhat of a blind spot over driver's left shoulder (which I suppose is normal in a lot of cars),
I love this car. That being said, it is a practical everyday vehicle which has good headroom for taller folks. It would be a great commuter car. The gas mileage is good but not outstanding. You can't beat the price or the value it holds down the road. Well, built, reliable transportation.
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
Over 4k, engine wakes up a little bit. Decent seats, and good room inside in case I do actually need to carry anything. Looks cool.
Close-ratio manual and auto trans. 30-40 horses more, at least. The car weighs 3k + pounds, for pete's sake. 158 HP isn't working well. Did you folks at Scion actually drive this thing? Less body roll. Give us our money's worth in build quality, less rattles and squeaks please. For goodness sake, improve the audio systems. The Alpine audio I had in mine was terrible. Scion, I know you can get better power out of this without having terrible gas mileage. I've seen it done in other cars, similar in nature.
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.
Interior space. Shape of vehicle - I like its quirky look. Large front seat area and dash. Fold-down seats/hatchback means lots of room. Decent stereo. Decent amount of pep while driving.
PROBLEMS: Cheap interior plastics. No telescoping steering wheel. Seat adjustments are poor. LCD display can only show one metric at a time (clock OR mpg OR temp, etc). Clutch is the worst I've driven in my 20 years of driving 5-speed. No variable intermittent windshield wipers. Needs more interior lights. No option for sunroof on new xBs as of this writing. HORRIBLE armrest.