2008 Scion xB Long-Term Road Test


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2008 Scion xB: Makes Sense in the City

January 07, 2008

2008 Scion xB - E. Riches

I drove our long-term 2008 Scion xB over the weekend, and it dutifully provided transportation to the farmers market, the movies and the laundromat. I find the xB comfortable to sit in for an hour or two, and the combination of a large interior and a low lift-over height makes it exceptionally easy to load vegetables and laundry.

I also take some joy in the novelty of driving a vehicle that looks and feels a bit like a delivery truck... That feeling lasts about 5 or 10 minutes, and then I begin to wish I was in something sportier. Or at least something with a manual transmission: The xB's 2.4-liter engine is smooth and reasonably torquey, but slow downshifts from the four-speed automatic chip away at the sensation of performance.

The electric steering isn't bad, though. Feedback is minimal, but there's more weighting to it than in the 2009 Toyota Corolla. And thanks to the light effort at low speeds and a tidy 34.8 turning circle, the xB is exceptionally easy to park.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,557 miles

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2008 Scion xB: Back In The Box

December 03, 2007

2008 Scion xB -- Brent Romans

I've been driving our 2008 Scion xB for almost two weeks now. And I'm still not quite sure what I think of it. Rationally, there's a lot to like. It looks distinctive, is roomy, can be fitted with a lot of customizing accessories and has decent pep from the 2.4-liter engine... And lots of people love their first-generation xBs.

Yet when I look at or drive our xB, I'm left feeling largely indifferent. If somebody secretly switched out our xB overnight for a Brand X Chevrolet HHR, Chrysler PT Cruiser or Mazda 3, I certainly wouldn't be broken up about it.

Perhaps the xB lost some of its mojo at the generation switch. When it got bigger, roomier and more powerful, it became more like everything else.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 10,152 miles

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2008 Scion xB: A Good First Impression

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.

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2008 Scion xB: Shifty McShifter

September 26, 2007


Overall, the xB is fine. It's a HUGE improvement over the previous version. One thing I can't stand it how the transmission kicks down even if I just brush the accelerator. Gets annoying real quick. The shift it yourself is useless too - it just holds at that gear - no real control...

I like the quiet ride - a road trip in the xB is quite doable.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

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2008 Scion xB: Good Underhood

September 05, 2007

The Scion xB's new 2.4-liter engine makes a world of difference.

I never expected to like the 2008 Scion xB as much as I do. Never mind that the new 2.4-liter engine is similar to that of the Toyota Camry. A 50-percent increase in horsepower and 2.4 liters of fury are good for the xB because:

Never again does one have to scribble "pass that truck" on one's Day Planner. Just roll onto the throttle and scoot ahead.

The automatic transmission isn't forced to constantly kick-down a gear for merging and other such tasks.

There is much less commotion coming from underhood... Driving the 2008 xB is a more serene experience.

But there is a dark side to all of this: Fuel economy drops. But the recent change in EPA measurement methods make the situation look worse than it really is.

Converting the old xB's ratings to 2008-equivalent figures, city mileage for the 2008 Scion xB with an automatic drops from 26 to 22 mpg. Highway economy falls from 31 to 28 mpg.

Simultaneous cake ownership and consumption are specifically prohibited.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,043 miles

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  • troytali troytali Posts:

    I like these articles and comments on the Scion xB. They're accurate, overall, so far. I like the car, but am growing to hate it as time goes on. I had a new 2011, auto trans. The 4 speed was a joke, and I'm a stick shifter anyway. The stock audio was really bad. With a short ram intake, cat-back exhaust and lighter crank pulley, performance was improved, but the 4-speed castrated the engine. So, I got an almost new 2011 to replace it...stick shift. Performance is improved with the extra gear, but good grief, STILL with the super-wide ratios? 2300 rpm at 55mph for an engine with NO guts below 4k rpm is absurd. Each gear shift, and normal cruising has the car running way outside its efficient part of the HP and TQ curve. I've added the same short-ram intake and cat-back exhaust, and performance is bad. There's been no CEL to warn me of over-lean conditions, so I don't know what's up. The engine is inconsistent at best, sometimes bogging badly below 4k, then hitting hard there, climbing with clear peaks and valleys in the power delivery. It's a "lumpy" engine for sure. It did the same with the stock intake, but just less pronounced, I think. I've cleaned the MAF, the throttle body, checked the plugs, and I can't find anything wrong here...except whitish on the plugs, indicating that yes, the EPA standards are TOO LEAN. The Alpine audio was even worse in this xB. It's been replaced, along with the dixie-cup speakers, all 4 of them. Much better now. Center gauges...Scion...LISTEN TO US...WE DON'T LIKE THEM. And yes, not nearly enough lighting in the right places...and no glove box light? Cheap. After this, my 2nd Scion, I can see clearly there's better cars out there for this price range. Scion could easily put the same ECU and power figures from the tC on the xB. Same engine. They should use the same transmissions, too. Heck, I think if Scion cared, or weren't lazy, they could really make this car sing with 30-40 more horses, close ratio 5 or 6 speed manual and auto trans options, cable throttle, get rid of the center gauges, improve their audio and reduce body roll. Now we're talking about a car I'd easily want to buy again.

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