December 08, 2008
With the winter solstice nearly upon us, the short days create more darkness in which to approach the Scion xB, helping its nifty illuminated door sills stand out (a $249 option if you want to pay to help advertise the brand). Our xB has a number of luminous options, but the standard digital speedo turns out to be the one of the few welcome and functional items.
The multi-market friendly, center-mounted gauges mounted high on the church-pew dash puts the
digital speedo in a perfect spot for keeping an eye on your velocity. The digital fad that
erupted in the eighties thankfully disappeared for a while as real gauges made a comeback. It
didn't help that those early fluorescent setups, especially at night, tended to be more
blinding than informative. They might find some purchase again if they're half as legible and
well placed as the xB's.
November 24, 2008
Of all the cars in our lot, the Scion xB is one of the best in terms of easy ingress/egress. The door opening is huge -- big enough for a Yeti with a glandular problem, I'd say. The step-up is low, nearly at curb height, but therein lies the problem...
When opening the door for my passenger (yes, gentlemen, you should still be opening the car door for a lady), the low-slung door unceremoniously scrapes along almost any sidewalk. Even with the weight of my waif-like sprite of a passenger, the door still acted more like a kickstand, forcing me to give the door handle a bit of a lift to pivot it shut. I'm guessing this is a bad idea, since the plastic door handle could only support so much weight, but what's a guy to do?
Parking further away from the curb would earn me a ticket in the People's Republic of California. Adding a few hundred pounds of ballast under the driver's seat is, well, just plain stupid. Taking a grinder to the corner of the door would cure it, but I think that would get me banned from future car access. Had Scion created a radius on the corner this probably wouldn't be such a problem. I suppose after a few thousand openings like this, it will develop a dog ear anyways, albeit a much less atrractive solution.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 30,615 miles
November 11, 2008
Like having three knob/three button HVAC controls and...
July 10, 2008
Seriously, can you think of weirder dashboard than the one found in our second-generation Scion xB? This isn't what the inside of a car is supposed to look like. The huge monolithic slab of plastic that stretches from door to door. The center console that juts out like a urinal. The gauges that look like the Audi emblem that are placed toward the center for no particular reason. The touchscreen and its tiny icons. The jumbo airvents placed asymetrically all over the place. The faraway upright windshield. The steering wheel that almost looks out of place. Come to think of it, with that green mood lighting, I sorta feel like I'm piloting a Borg cube rather than a car.
This is truly weird. Is there anything weirder?
James Riswick, Automotive Editor@ 20,459 miles
June 23, 2008
One of the things I've come to really appreciate about our 2008 Scion xB is its low step-in height. I just step in over the short door sill and the xB floor is just right there. Consequently, there's no having to jump down from a high seat or having to scramble out of a low seat. Just so easy that I'd even go so far as to say it should be included on this top 10 list of vehicles for shorter drivers...
And it would probably also be useful for those with weak ankles, bad backs or acrophobia. I know I'm especially grateful for it when I'm wearing skirts and/or skyscraper-tall heels. Yikes.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 19,906 miles
June 06, 2008
It's been a good many months and at least 8,000 miles since we last gave an update on our Scion xB's long-term fuel economy. I have to report that we haven't improved our numbers. In fact, we've done a little worse than our last reported figures. Lifetime average is now at 23.5 mpg (down from 23.9), just half a point below the EPA combined estimate of 24...
Not great, not bad, just what's expected.
I also wanted to take a moment to praise the xB's air conditioning/heating vents on the dash. They've won my HVAC heart for the following reasons:
They can be closed completely.
They can rotate 360 degrees, making directional airflow fantastically adjustable.
Operation is smooth and the plastic feels high-quality.
It's a seemingly small thing, but getting the cold or hot air blowing in just the right direction can be the difference between a comfortable, road-focused driver and a road-weary grouch. Plus it's fun to spin the vents 'round and 'round at stoplights to pass the time. Like a record, baby...
Bryn MacKinnon @ 19,120 miles
February 05, 2008
December 26, 2007
I'm just going to cut to the chase and say that I wish the interior bits of our xB were as unique as the rest of the car. The exterior styling is fresh and different. The center mounted gauge pod, though at first awkward, is unusual and fits the personality of the car. My issues are with the automatic transmission console and HVAC controls (lifted straight from the Toyota parts bin) as well as the button that changes the illumination on the floor and in the cupholders... That button looks like it came straight from an auto parts store.
I dig the quirky looks and the practicality, I just think Scion needs to work on the details to make the xB's interior experience more exclusive.
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 11,194 miles
November 16, 2007
One of the things I love about the Scion xB is the way my iPod interfaces with the car and allows me to control my music on the steering wheel.
One of the things I dislike about the Scion xB is that all the dials and meters are in the center of the car instead of in front of the driver.
I find it odd to glance to my right to check my speed.
But the worst part is at night the cabin is so dark in front of me... I don't like sitting in the pitch black. The photo above tries to illustrate the darkness but my camera made some adjustments to the lightness.
It's nice that no one in the outside world can see me singing as I drive. But the darkness kinda creeps me out.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
November 07, 2007
For one reason or another I had yet to drive the xB up until last night. As one of the few editors who actually like the xB's new look, it was about time I got behind the wheel. First impression? Feels huge inside, even for my 6-foot-2 frame... I don't mind the low seating position either as it makes the xB feel less like an SUV and more like a small car. It gets up pretty good for a four-cylinder as you get a big surge of power from a stop. It runs out of steam pretty quickly, but given the relatively large size of the xB it's hard to complain.
The rubbery steering is the only real flaw that I found. It's typical economy car stuff so I wasn't surprised. I could do without the center-mount gauges too, but I think they'll bother me less after some additional seat time. Overall, a good first impression for a relatively inexpensive car.