What's New for 2013
The 2013 Scion xB receives updated front and rear exterior styling, which includes new integrated LED running lights.
The 2013 Scion xB isn't the prettiest thing on the road, but what it lacks in form it makes up for in function. The xB's basic boxy design, which this compact wagon has largely lived on since its introduction nearly a decade ago, still serves the same purpose: providing lots of usable interior space in a funky-looking package.
Compared to the typical small hatchback, the xB is clearly a size up. For both front and rear passengers, the xB provides plenty of legroom and headroom (some cities have even chosen to use the xB as taxi cabs). You can also lower the rear seats and create nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than what you'll find in competing small wagons or hatchbacks and even more than most small crossover SUVs.
Another notable xB trait is the customization possibility. Even though there aren't any factory options available, Scion, in typical fashion, offers a host of dealer-added accessories, including different wheels and performance parts. One upgrade we're particularly fond of is the optional BeSpoke Premium Audio by Pioneer that includes a touchscreen interface and smartphone app integration for services like Pandora radio.
Compared to other small wagons or hatchbacks, the Scion xB's main disadvantage is fuel economy; at an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined, it's a few ticks below other cars in this class such as the 2013 Kia Soul and 2013 Nissan Cube. Still, you're getting more interior space with the xB than with those models. Considering how roomy the xB is, you might even see it as a less expensive alternative to small crossovers like the 2013 Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. Either way, shoppers looking at small SUVs or compact wagons and hatchbacks would be well served to consider the 2013 Scion xB.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Scion xB is a four-door, five-passenger wagon that is currently only offered in a base model trim level.
Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, driver seat height adjustment, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 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 and an RCA output for additional speakers.
There are no official factory options, but dealer accessories are plentiful. Among them are different wheels (16-, 17- and 19-inch), a variety of performance upgrade parts, foglights, a rear spoiler, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, satellite radio and a premium BeSpoke audio system that includes a 6-inch touchscreen, additional RCA outputs and smartphone app integration (Pandora, navigation and social media). A rear-seat entertainment system is also available.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive 2013 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, a fairly quick time for this class of car. EPA estimates are below average, however, at 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.
The 2013 Scion xB comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the xB came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet -- an average distance. 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
Previous versions of the Scion xB have been easily customizable, and this year's model doesn't waiver from that trend. The highlight is the optional BeSpoke sound system. Besides adding smartphone app integration, its interface is well suited for younger, tech-oriented buyers.
One downside is that the xB still has its quirky center-mounted gauges, which require too much of the driver's attention to scan easily. Forward visibility is very good, but the view out the back is poor.
Of course, the xB's true draw is interior space. Both front and rear passengers will find plenty of legroom and headroom, and road trips are a viable proposition, as the front seats are pretty comfortable.
As far as cargo is concerned, the xB boasts 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and an impressive 70 cubic feet with those seats folded. We've noted that the lift height is high when loading up the cargo bay, but this Scion can easily carry a weekend's worth of luggage for four.
The 2013 Scion xB's driving demeanor should please most people. It's easy to drive, and the 2.4-liter engine offers relatively quick acceleration for this class of car. Most consumers will be happy with the performance from the four-speed automatic transmission, but compared to the five- and six-speed automatics available in compact crossover SUVs, it's a drag on fuel economy.
The ride is generally agreeable, but crossovers like the CR-V and RAV4 offer more comfort. In addition, the cabin is not serene, as you'll hear considerable noise from both the tires and the wind. The xB's slab-sided styling also makes it vulnerable to crosswinds.