2008 Scion xB: Perfect for L.A.
February 25, 2008
The Scion xB is, like the Kia Rondo, one of the long-termers that, although it doesn't give me heart flutters when I drive it, is nonetheless a nice car to take. The xB is peppy, and both easy to park and easy to drive in city traffic, thanks to its subcompact dimensions. Yet like the others of its ilk (e.g. Honda Element, Pontiac Vibe, Chevy HHR), it offers a large, comfortable cabin. A few other features endear it to me as well...
Like other folks with parking garage cards, an iPod and a cell phone, I appreciate storage cubbies. And the xB's got a couple that are perfectly shaped and located for those items, as shown in the pics. The compartment on the top left of the dash is ideal for my wallet -- being in my line of site I don't forget to grab it as I exit the car, unlike if I stow it in the door pocket or console box. Thumbs-up also for the flip-down driver's armrest and the back seats that take but a few seconds to flip down (provided the front seats are up far enough that you don't need to remove the headrests). The latter feature is unlike some others that require you to also flip the bottom cushion forward before flipping the backrests down.
What don't I like? The two-step procedure for shutting off the stereo: there's no "off" button on the face plate -- you have to press the "mode" button and then "audio off" on the touch screen. And the styling, which is similar but somewhat bloated compared to the first xB, doesn't strike me as being as being cool as the original.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 13,469 miles.