2013 Scion xB Wagon (2.4L 4-cyl. 4-speed Automatic)
Ratings SummaryThis rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
The Scion xB combines practicality and attitude in an inexpensive package. The interior is surprisingly spacious, especially the backseat. It accelerates smartly, but driveability and fuel economy suffer due to the 4-speed automatic transmission. A nimble and predictable handler, the xB would be even better with wider tires.
PerformanceThere's a decent amount of power to be had, 158 hp in fact, but the xB's driveability is diminished by an aging 4-speed automatic. The feel of the electric-assist power steering is surprisingly good. Braking and handling are limited by modest tire grip, though.
The xB's 2.4-liter 4-cylinder was once the Camry's base engine, and it feels plenty strong in this smaller, lighter package. Our measured 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds means the xB should have no trouble holding its own in traffic.
Pedal feel is moderately firm and quite reassuring in regular driving. Our panic stop from 60 mph measured 126 feet, which is a couple feet longer than average for low rolling resistance all-season tires.
The electric power steering system is easy to use around town and in parking lots. The buildup of effort in corners feels genuine, giving the driver a good sense of how the tires are bearing up under the strain.
Overall balance is good and the xB is surprisingly nimble and maneuverable on smooth, winding roads. Performance is limited by low-grip tires and a tendency toward early understeer. A tire upgrade would really liven up the handling.
Throttle response is smooth and predictable. The 4-speed auto transmission shifts smartly, but the gears are widely spaced. We can't help wondering how much more polished the xB would feel with five or six closer-spaced gears to work with.
ComfortThe seats are comfortable all around, and they're more than up to the challenge of a long road trip. But the xB feels more sporty than comfy in terms of the way it jostles over uneven surfaces and the general level of cabin noise.
Nicely shaped front seats have padding that is both supportive and squishy enough to be comfortable over long distances. The rear seats are no less comfortable, but the narrow cabin makes the center rear position less than optimal.
Smooth and compliant without being overly squishy. Reasonably good at filtering out road textures most of the time. But the cabin does tend to rock and jostle over road imperfections. The ride isn't hard, but sometimes it feels busy.
As a box, the xB is about as adept at quelling wind noise as you'd expect: not very. Tire and road noise are present in noticeable amounts. There's engine vibration at idle, too. None of it is excessive, but it's not silent in here.
InteriorThe boxy shape makes the xB a flexible partner. It's easy to get in and out of, and there's a remarkable amount of passenger space. Controls are mostly simple and logical. Gauges are in a weird central location, but they grow on you over time.
The stalks and switches work well, and the three-knob climate controls are refreshingly simple. Aftermarket-style radio has small buttons, but is easy to use regardless. Those weird off-center gauges take getting used to.
All four doors are large, and the square openings mean no ducking is required. Step-in height is low, too. Seat height resides on the low end of the Goldilocks zone: a smidgen below optimal but still easy to enter without stooping.
Front seat head and legroom are generous, and the driver's seat is height-adjustable. But the rear seat is the big revelation: lots of headroom and legroom with enough floor space left over for a medium-sized dog.
Easy to see out due to generous glass area and long front doors. The faraway windshield pillars are like goalposts, but apart from being odd they don't obscure any more than a traditional design. A rear backup camera would be nice though.
The square shape provides enough space behind the rear seat for four carry-on suitcases with space between for other goods. Folded rear seat opens up abundant room. Small door pockets and console, but there are several storage nooks.
ValueThe Scion xB is hard to beat on price and value when you consider its cargo-carrying capability and passenger room. Some people even think it has a cool factor. MPG could be a little better, but the low sticker makes up for it if you do the math. Scion dealers have no-haggle pricing.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Interior panels come across as plasticky because the texture doesn't attempt to mimic soft-touch materials. Seat fabric is slightly coarse, but also comfortable and durable. Consistent panel gaps inside and out. Appropriate for the price.
Comes with a decent-sounding stereo with iPod and Bluetooth audio functionality. Tilt-telescoping wheel has steering-mounted audio controls. Cruise control and a/c standard, of course. Has height-adjustable driver's seat, keyless entry.
Hard to buy this much attitude, backseat room and cargo flexibility for a lower price. Our 2013 xB automatic test car was barely over $18,500 with destination charge included. Options are mostly cosmetic and can be added at any time.
The 4-speed automatic holds the xB back here with an EPA rating of 24 mpg Combined (22 City/28 Highway) that's mediocre. But the claims are conservative. We achieved 31.7 mpg on our test loop and averaged 25.3 mpg in mixed driving.
Scion warranty covers the xB's powertrain for 5 years/60,000 miles. The rest of the car falls under the 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty. Neither one is particularly impressive, but they're not substandard.
Free oil changes and tire rotations are offered for the first two years or 25,000 miles. Roadside assistance is covered for the same period, too. Both are nice perks at this end of the price spectrum.
Fun To DriveThe Scion xB's mission isn't necessarily fun-to-drive. It is a box, after all. But it does have a kind of attitude, and it drives better than a box has any right to. It manages to emphasize the "fun" in function.
Not particularly speedy, the xB instead impresses with practical usefulness that's blended with a style that's somehow cool in its own way. It looks (and loads) like a box, but it certainly doesn't drive like a penalty box.
The Scion xB has attitude that comes from its chopped-top styling and boxy shape. Easily customizable to suit the driver's own personality with approved TRD parts that don't harm the factory warranty.
This is the estimated average annual insurance premium being charged in your state. The premium has been determined based on annual premium data for defined coverages (liability, comprehensive and collision) from a major insurer.
While this information is specific to vehicle make, model, model year and body type, your personal information is not taken into consideration and could greatly alter the actual premium quoted by an insurer. Factors that will affect your rate include your age, marital status, credit history, driving record, and the garaging address of your vehicle.
Edmunds Insurance Estimator
The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Scion xB Wagon in VA is:
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.