January 07, 2008
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
December 03, 2007
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
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.
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
September 05, 2007
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