2008 Scion xB Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Scion xB: Where's My MPGs?

July 07, 2008

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I know it's barely been a month since the last fuel economy update for our long-term 2008 Scion xB -- but with California gas prices having increased by about 34 cents during June alone, MPGs were on my mind as I puttered around in the xB this weekend. While our lifetime average is holding steady at about 23.5 mpg, I recorded a meager 20.75 mpg when I filled up this morning. Remarkably, aside from one rogue 32 mpg tank way back in October, we've never gotten over 30 mpg in the xB. And it's not like we haven't tried -- Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds racked up 261 miles at an average speed of 70 mph en route to Arizona, and he only saw an even 28 mpg (which is exactly what the EPA predicts).

Granted, the xB can haul a lot of stuff -- those 69.9 cubic feet of cargo volume make our 23.5 mpg average easier to swallow. But it's still a little disappointing that this four-cylinder econowagon can't do better on gas. The primary culprit is Toyota's torquey 2.4-liter four; I bet a lot of xB owners would gladly sacrifice some of that underhood punch for a few extra MPGs. Alternatively, Toyota could produce its own version of Mini's turbocharged 1.6-liter four-banger for best-of-both-worlds performance, though that probably wouldn't come cheap.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 20,425 miles

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2008 Scion xB: The Best Laid Plans ...

March 31, 2008

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For our last day of our spring break trip to Arizona in the 2008 Scion xB, I thought we'd cruise back in search the elusive 30 mpg mark. That would be an accomplishment, as the EPA rating for the 2008 xB with an automatic transmission is 22 city / 28 highway. We'd equalled the highway rating while cruising to Arizona at 75 mph along the interstate. Could we beat it by staying closer to 65 mph on the way back to SoCal?

Things were going very well for the first hundred miles or so, as the instant readout hovered between 36 and 40 mpg while cruising the two-lane Highway 60 from Wickenburg at 60 mph. And then we crossed into California and ran into a brick wall.

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2008 Scion xB: Sedona bound

March 28, 2008

Photo by Tracy Edmunds

No, we weren't on a mission to see a Korean-made minivan. We left Phoenix in our 2008 Scion xB and headed north on Interstate 17 to Sedona, Arizona, otherwise known as red rock country. This freeway climbs up several grades, so we weren't expecting to set any fuel economy records.

But it did turn out to be a good test of the enlarged xB's 2.4-liter engine. In a word, it was great (in the dimminutive family-hauler sense of the word.) Even with 4 people and luggage stuffed into every nook, the Scion was able to blast up 6% grades at 75 mph, the speed limit for much of the way. Pulling out to pass semis was never an issue, and the Sport mode on the xB's automatic worked like a champ.

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2008 Scion xB: Fuel Economy and Service

December 07, 2007

2008 Scion xB -- Brent Romans

I tallied up our 2008 Scion xB's fuel economy today. After 10,000 miles, we averaged 23.9 mpg. Our best tanks have typically been about 29 mpg while the worst drop down to about 19 mpg. The EPA estimate for this vehicle is 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway... The EPA combined average is 24 mpg.

Due to a smallish fuel tank and a Chicken Little gauge, the xB's range has been a little disappointing. We've exceeded 300 miles just once. And opting for the manual transmission in the xB makes no difference in fuel economy -- the EPA says it's also 22/28 mpg.

Meanwhile, we took our xB in for its 10,000-mile service today. It included an oil change and tire rotation. We've yet to pick it up, but there should be no surprises the first two services for the Scion (this one and our earlier 5K service) are complimentary.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2008 Scion xB: Low Fuel Rant

September 06, 2007

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As stated in our last episode, I'm enjoying the overall experience of driving our 2008 Scion xB much more than I'd predicted. But this morning the Scion has me P.O.'d. Maybe I'm just in a mood because I'm on the road early enough to be inspired by radio rantmaster Adam Carolla during my commute.

At some point during my 50 mile drive to the office the low fuel light winked on. I'm not sure when, exactly, because the dang center-mounted fuel gauge is waaaay out-of-sight, out-of-mind. When I do notice it, the trip odometer is displaying a mere 249 miles.

So the light is on and I've got 40 miles to go. I can still see daylight between the hash mark and the needle, and the fuel gauges in Toyotas I've owned were notoriously conservative. A car like this has to be able to get at least 300 miles out of a full tank, right? I decide to press on.

Closing in on downtown LA, things look more glum. The needle is firmly on "E", but all I know about the area is Skid Row. Our xB has a navigation system, but I don't figure out how to punch up gas station POIs straight away. (The manual later tells me they're conjured via a toggle under the Map View button.) General Motors bests the Scion here by linking their nav systems to the low-fuel warning to automatically issue an on-screen prompt along the lines of "Low fuel. Do you want gas stations displayed?"

With only 10 traffic-free freeway miles to go, I delicately continue - re-reminding myself about all of the crying-wolf fuel gauges I've owned. But now daylight is appearing on the WRONG side of the "E" hash mark.

I make it, with ease as it turns out. The 14 gallon tank takes but 12.5 gallons to fill. The 1.5 gallons that remain (corresponding to the needle position in the above photo) easily represents yet another 35 or 40 freeway miles. OK, I would never run a car that low, but the Scion has been chiding me to refuel for at least the last 40 miles. Let me get this straight: with 75 miles to go, about 20% of the xB's theoretical 392-mile range, I've got a fuel crisis?

And theoretical it turns out to be. Our Scion has been popular, racking up 6,000 miles in 2 months. Through 25 tanks the average fuel economy has been only 23.8 mpg and the average fill occurred at just 230 miles. Only one person has squeezed more than 300 miles out of a tank, and it wasn't me. This incident ended at 289.3 miles and 23.1 mpg.

Hindsight says I should have followed dad's sage advice to always fill-up at a quarter-tank. I might have done so if the fuel gauge wasn't banished to the periphery or if I knew how marginal the range really is. I suppose the familiarity of ownership would make this issue go away. But an overly-conservative gauge such as this only serves to over-emphasize the mediocre range and fuel economy we're getting from our Scion xB.

How about this: why not make "E" mean empty, and why not put the gauge somewhere where its easily seen without the prodding of a warning lamp?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,143 miles

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