2008 Scion xB: Putting Money Where Our Mouth Is
August 13, 2012
Some of you may remember the 2008 Scion xB we had in the Edmunds long term fleet between 4 and 5 years ago. My wife sure did.
Until now she'd been driving a 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan we'd bought "used" with 672 miles on the clock. She never loved it, but it did the job when the kids were small and the need for three rows of seating was great. For me it was often a better choice than a pickup truck, in that I often used it to haul things like 10-foot lumber and bundles of conduit from Home Depot with the hatch closed and with four seats in full operation.
But a couple of weeks ago its life ended after a coming-together with a nearby palm tree. All I can say about that is AAA auto insurance (ACSC here in SoCal) is outstanding. We received a very fair settlement check under friendly circumstances in a short amount of time.
And so Tracy and I went car shopping, which of course included a trip down memory lane with the long term tests.
With three enjoyable Oregon trips under our belt the Ford Flex was high on the short list. We liked its functionality, the convenience of Sync (pre-My Ford Touch) and the non-traditional styling. But the driving position never quite worked for Tracy.
Lately, our financial priorities include saving for college and not wanting much of a car payment (we were quite happy with zero before this), so we set ourselves a $20k price limit. That was all she wrote for the Flex.
Besides, Tracy wanted something smaller, more maneuverable, sized right for her. We also wanted a decent-sized back seat with adult amounts of rear legroom because the kids are almost as tall as their mom now. And my oldest daughter has gotten into guide-dog puppy raising, which means the rear seat floor area needed to have enough space for a curled-up labrador retriever. For this a low rear step-in height wouldn't hurt.
We strongly considered a Honda Fit with its boatloads of room in back and that flip-up magic seat in the middle. It's cavernous back there with the rear seat bottom folded up, but even when the seat is occupied there's room for a dog underneath.
But the Fit's unfortunate lack of a front seat height adjuster ultimately sealed its fate. My wife figured she needed about an inch more seat height to feel comfortable with the forward view. It took but 30 seconds at a dealer showroom to nix this idea.
A few others briefly caught our eye: the Chevrolet Cruze, the Suzuki Kizashi, the Volkswagen Jetta and the current Mazda 3 Skyactiv. But none of those quite had the backseat interior space we wanted, and none looked "different" enough. Friends over at Mazda suggested the Mazda 5, and it does seem to check off many of the boxes -- except for the fact that my wife was dead-set against another minivan.
At the end of the day the 2008 Scion xB jumped out. We've frankly never understood the resentment bB fanboys tend to harbor against this second-generation version. Sure, the fuel economy isn't as good, but we've always thought the redesigned model's 2.4-liter Camry engine and chunkier chopped-top styling were clear improvements over the old wheezy 1.5-liter 1st-gen phone booth.
The four of us had taken the Edmunds long-term test example on a multi-day road trip to Phoenix and we came home digging its utility and the logic of its interior, center-mounted gauges notwithstanding. Along the way I distinctly remember my wife saying, "I'd drive one of these."
And so a certain gravity was created once Tracy started thinking about it again and she was drawn into orbit. A confirmation drive at a local dealer made up her mind.
Sure, the 4-speed automatic seems painfully old-school today, the fuel economy isn't wonderful and the current 2012 xB "color" palette is laughably boring and inconspicuous. But with our minivan now the shape of a tree at an undisclosed junkyard we had no time to wait for the next generation, which will probably arrive about a year from now as a 2014 model with the latest 2.5-liter Camry engine, a 6-speed automatic and significantly better MPG.
Scion dealers are bound by something called Pure Pricing. There's no haggling. The number on the factory window sticker is the price you pay. As such, Edmunds TMV and factory MSRP are one in the same.
Our "Black Sand Pearl" 2012 Scion xB Base automatic carried a base price of $17,980, including destination charges. Two low-cost options, floor and cargo mats ($184) and a protective rear bumper step applique ($69) brought the final sticker up to $18,233, and that's precisely what we paid. California state sales tax and vehicle license fees are an unavoidable reality, of course, so the out-the-door price came out to $19,902.26.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 32 miles