2012 Scion xB Wagon Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Scion xB Wagon

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Scion xB Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 158 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Scion xB

  • The 2012 Scion xB is a compact people mover and cargo hauler that packs lots of high-tech audio features. Fuel economy is lackluster, however, and the unconventional styling isn't for everyone.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Responsive four-cylinder engine; spacious interior; numerous optional add-ons; audiophile-friendly; funky styling.

  • Cons

    So-so fuel economy; distracting center-mounted gauges; funky styling.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Scion xB gets standard HD radio and new sound systems. There's also the latest Release Series trim level, the 9.0. Highlights of this limited-edition xB include unique Hot Lava paint and faux suede upholstery.

Full 2012 Scion xB Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Scion xB gets standard HD radio and new sound systems. There's also the latest Release Series trim level, the 9.0. Highlights of this limited-edition xB include unique Hot Lava paint and faux suede upholstery.


Back when the first Scion xB debuted in 2004, it had the hip and cool factor down pat. In contrast, the second, present-generation xB has lost much of that initial mojo to time, familiarity and a greater emphasis on functionality. However, there's still enough to the 2012 Scion xB to make it appealing.

Although the xB's space-efficient boxy form doesn't enjoy the same uniqueness it once did (thanks to copycats like the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube), it still has a few advantages. The xB boasts more maximum cargo space than most rivals and even some midsize SUVs. Passenger space is just as impressive, with enough head- and legroom for a quartet of tall adults. In fact, the rear accommodations are so spacious that some big city cab companies have traded their Crown Vics for xBs.

The 2012 Scion xB keeps up the tradition of offering what "the kids" (or anyone who appreciates the latest audio gizmos) want nowadays. As such, the xB comes standard with a six-speaker Pioneer sound system with an iPod interface, Bluetooth, an RCA output for additional speakers and a customizable head unit display. An upgraded system from Alpine adds a touchscreen interface and a knob that mimics an iPod's controls, while a "media expander" improves digital music quality. This year also brings the xB Release Series 9.0, whose unique features include Hot Lava paint, illuminated "Scion" badges and faux suede upholstery.

The main drawback to the 2012 Scion xB is its fuel economy relative to other small cars such as the aforementioned Kia Soul and Nissan Cube. That said, the xB's 158-horsepower four-cylinder is surprisingly punchy and achieves fuel economy that's about the same as or better than crossovers like the Chevy Equinox. Furthermore, the xB is cheaper and offers similar interior space, so it's still a smart alternative to those popular family vehicles.

Of course saying "Scion xB" and "family vehicle" in the same sentence is like mentioning Barry Manilow and Ke$ha in the same breath. But rest assured, for those who are so hip they're square, the xB still has undeniable appeal.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Scion xB is a four-door, five-passenger wagon that comes in base and Release Series 9.0 trim levels. The latter is a limited edition, as only 1,500 will be made.

Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, rear window tint, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, driver seat height adjustment, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a trip computer and a six-speaker Pioneer sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an iPod/USB audio interface, an auxiliary audio jack, a customizable display and an RCA output for additional speakers.

The Release Series 9.0 adds several unique features, including Hot Lava paint, a honeycomb lower grille, illuminated front and rear exterior "Scion" badges and faux suede upholstery.

Options are plentiful and mostly added at the dealer. Among them are 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, a variety of performance upgrade parts, foglights, a rear spoiler, remote ignition, ambient multicolor lighting, a selection of shift knobs, an auto-dimming mirror, headrest-mounted DVD entertainment system monitors, satellite radio and a premium Pioneer audio system with a compact touchscreen faceplate, additional RCA outputs and Pandora Internet radio connectivity when used in conjunction with an iPhone. A back-up camera, navigation system and a large touchscreen interface are also available.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive 2012 Scion xB is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 that produces 158 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is the xB's lone factory option.

In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped xB hustled from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. EPA estimates are below average for this segment at 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.


The 2012 Scion xB comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In braking tests, the xB came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet -- a solid performance. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the xB its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

We've never been pleased with centrally mounted primary gauges, and those on the xB haven't changed our mind. At least the speedometer is an easily read digital display, but it's way over to the right rather than in front of the driver, and monitoring the diminutive tachometer requires far too much of the driver's attention.

While the climate controls couldn't be any simpler, both of the xB's available radio faceplates are clearly intended for a younger generation used to iPhones and other high-tech gizmos. In other words, they aren't exactly user-friendly, but audiophiles should appreciate their extensive range of adjustability.

Added last year, a telescoping function to the steering wheel provides a much better driving position for taller drivers who otherwise will find plenty of leg- and headroom. Boasting 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 70 cubic feet with those seats folded down, the xB is a legitimate fair-weather alternative to a compact SUV.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Scion xB feels fairly stable at highway speeds, although its slab-sided styling makes it vulnerable to crosswinds. Due to a relatively high center of gravity, the xB rolls significantly during cornering, but it feels responsive and confident at lower speeds. Over especially rough surfaces, the suspension transmits impact harshness into the cabin, and road and wind noise are constant companions at high freeway speeds. All in all, though, Scion's youthful target demographic should be pleased with the xB's driving demeanor, as should older folks simply looking for a space-efficient runabout.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2012 xb: a great car

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Vehicle: 2012 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

After stalking this model for a couple of years, I finally pulled the trigger and bought a used 2012 to replace by dying Saturn Vue. I couldn't be happier. The style is odd and will not appeal to many people, but funny enough, driving a box in today's world actually makes one stand out. Oh the irony. This is a fun car to drive, peppy and agile. The tight suspension and low profile tires makes it feel like a Porsche, minus the horses of course. I'm a big guy (6'/250lbs ) and I have tons of room. The seats are supportive and everything is within reach of the pilot's seat. It has more interior room than my extended cab Silverado. I'm averaging 28MPG. I love this car.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

2012 scion xb review

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

This car is great! It has the 2.4L 4 cylinder, and a 4 speed transmission. After 5 months of owning this car I can say 2 things about it, 1.) It is near indestructible, and 2.) You can fit almost anything in it. I highly recommend this car. It is great for work, play, and family! I got it when it had 14,xxx miles, and it now has 24,xxx miles.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Great vehicle!

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

We had to purchase a 2012 because I unfortunately totaled out my wife's 2008. We loved our 2008, but this 2012 is alot better. It seems to be a little quiter than our 2008, but has more features. It's nice to have the room of an SUV, but the driveabiltiy of a car - we fit 2 car seats pretty easily! It rides pretty good, but you can feel the bumps (sport tuned suspension).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Made the jump from xa

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Vehicle: 2012 Scion xB Release Series 9.0 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

With my little Scion XA paid off, I figured it was time to go new car shopping. My daughter is tugging me on one side to look at a RAV4, my fiance is tugging me on the other side to look at a Honda CRV, both are tugging me to check out the Nissan Rogue. So, I go to test-drive a Rouge. Nice, but for me, it just seemed a tad too wide--and since I am blind in my right eye, it could be --well, kinda not that good. OK? So I firmly put my foot down and went to look at the Scion XB. I test drove. I immediately felt comfortable. The car is deceptively large--it appears to be not that roomy from the outside, but once you get in, tons of room. Smooth Ride. Great Car!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

A thing of beauty...

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I used a Galant I had for five years as a trade-in toward my Scion XB. I have to say, the XB blows the Galant out of the H2O. The Scion is a lot of fun to drive. It blends the practicality of an SUV with the safety of a sedan. It seems small on the outside but is roomy on the inside. It also comes with free maintenance for 25K miles. And by the way, I got the best deal around from Fitzmall.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Best of both worlds.

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Scion xB 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Best of both worlds: A spacious, sporty vehicle but with decent economy and great maneuverability. Love the center mounted gauges! In fact, since they are not hidden behind a steering wheel hub like most car's gauges, the Scion xB's center mounted gauges are very easy to read at a quick glance. The occupant compartment is spacious and airy, with plenty of headroom and wiggle room. Passengers often comment how much space the vehicle has and how comfortable and quiet it is.

Talk About The 2012 xB

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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