2008 Scion xB Review

Pros & Cons

  • Long standard features list, strong four-cylinder engine, large passenger and cargo space, audiophile-friendly stereos, styling some people love.
  • Styling some people find ugly, center-mounted gauges are hard to see, no telescoping steering wheel.
List Price Range
$3,200 - $7,994

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Edmunds' Expert Review

More power, more space, more features and, to some eyes, more ugly. But if you can get around that (or if you're in the "love it" demographic), the 2008 Scion xB is a versatile and comfortable runabout with an undeniably funky character.

Vehicle overview

"The all-new 2008 Scion xB features a little less funk and a lot more spunk." That certainly sounds like the type of cheesy Grade-A marketing line that an automaker might throw out to describe a vehicle that is more grown-up in size, power and attitude, but we assure you that it it's our cheesy line, not Scion's. After all, this is a brand that's so cool, it even has its own hip-hop music label.

Behind the Scion xB's dare-to-be-square hipness is, of course, the comfortable backing of parent company Toyota. Hatched at a time when Toyota realized it was in danger of losing younger buyers, the spin-off Scion brand first launched with what were essentially rebadged Japanese-market Toyotas. The original xA and xB were well-equipped and affordable small hatchback wagons that could be crammed with dealer-installed customizing features for the Pimp My Ride generation. Looking like a 3/4-scale Chevy Astro, it was the xB and its "love it or hate it" box styling that attracted enough of the former category to become the embodiment of Scion and a success.

The 2008 Scion xB is exactly 1 foot longer than the last box, 3 inches wider and actually 2 inches shorter in height. This creates a more substantial, less toylike appearance, and a more useful overall vehicle. Under the hood, a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine (it's also used in the Scion tC and Toyota Camry) gives the xB 158 horsepower -- 56 hp more than the previous xB. All of this makes the xB a little more grown up, but there's still enough funk present to make George Clinton proud.

To conventional eyes, the xB is not an attractive car -- perhaps less so than the outgoing box ¯ but there are quirky little design details everywhere to ingratiate the xB upon those who dig that sort of thing. Inside, there are more funky details, but the larger vehicle dimensions equate to greater space for passengers and cargo. Materials have also improved along with ergonomics, although that does come with an asterisk. The center-mounted gauges are, in fact, better than the last xB's, but they're still too small, too far away from the driver's line of sight and focus more on form than function.

Beyond oddball styling, Scion's other M.O. is its lengthy list of dealer-installed extras -- especially the audio options. While other carmakers have made MP3 player auxiliary jacks standard equipment, Scion has gone one step further with a regular aux jack and a dedicated iPod port that provides power and stereo head unit control. We haven't had a chance to test the regular head unit, but the upgraded stereo provides a user-friendly interface and large screen to toggle through playlists, performers and songs. With the available navigation system, audio control becomes even simpler (and safer) by utilizing the touchscreen to create crystal-clear functions that mirror those on the iPod itself.

The term "love it or hate it" gets thrown about a lot, especially regarding radically different automotive styling like that on the 2008 Scion xB. There are always a few people who love the distinctive and the odd, and for them the xB is the obvious choice over more traditional small hatchbacks or wagons like the Chrysler PT Cruiser or Dodge Caliber. Only time will tell if the all-new xB is embraced like its funky forbear was, but this more substantial and more powerful box certainly has more spunk (and space) to complement all that funk.

2008 Scion xB models

The 2008 Scion xB is a compact wagon offered in one trim only. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels with a choice of three covers, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel and a thumping six-speaker Pioneer stereo with single-CD/MP3 player with both an auxiliary MP3 jack and a dedicated iPod jack that allows one to control iPod playback through the head unit controls.

The dealer-installed customization options include a rear spoiler, 16-inch alloy wheels, faux carbon-fiber interior trim and interior mood lighting in a choice of four colors. An optional premium audio system has a more user-friendly control interface that allows for downloading images and video onto the head unit display. Other options include a touchscreen navigation system, TRD performance parts, satellite radio and a rear DVD entertainment system with LCD screens mounted on the back of the front headrests.

2008 Highlights

The Scion xB has been redesigned for 2008. Though the second generation of this compact wagon maintains the boxy shape that made the original a cult favorite, the xB's exterior is softer and more rounded this year. More importantly, the xB is now larger, roomier and features a much more robust engine. The interior has been improved as well, highlighted by an impressive array of high-tech audio choices.

Performance & mpg

The 2008 Scion xB is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 that makes 158 hp and 162 pound-feet of torque. That last number is significant, as there is now plenty of low-end power -- something the previous xB didn't have too much of. The new xB comes with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic with automanual control. In performance testing, an automatic-equipped xB went from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds. Due to the 2008 xB's heftier size and larger engine, fuel economy is not as good as it was on the previous version, even when taking into consideration the EPA's revised 2008 rating system: The new xB checks in at 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway.

Safety

The xB wagon comes with an impressive array of standard safety features including antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Unlike the xD, there are no active front head restraints.

Driving

The all-new 2008 Scion xB is a significant improvement over the car it replaces, feeling more substantial and stable than the old box -- particularly at highway speeds. Despite losing 2 inches in height over the past model, it still has a relatively high center of gravity, contributing to constant, but not overly worrisome, body roll. This isn't intended to be a performance vehicle, but the xB is nonetheless quite confident while cornering, with decent steering feel and response. Like most Toyota-family products, the suspension is tuned for a comfortable ride, but it's still sporty enough to please Scion's young hipster demographic.

Read our 2008 Scion xB Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Interior

The Scion xB's exterior styling is strange, so why should the interior be any different? We're seldom keen on the idea of centrally mounted gauges, and the xB is not immune to our distaste. The speedometer is at least a digital readout, but the small and oddly angled tachometer is just silly. (Zero rpm is at 10 o'clock.) This ergonomic oddity is a shame, because the rest of the xB is user-friendly and comfortable. The transmission shifter (with the automatic and manual) is mounted high, as is Scion's new array of available stereo control units, which make complicated and distracting actions like navigating through an iPod easier and safer.

Despite its small size, the xB features a large cabin with excellent backseat space and the most tall-driver-friendly front seat in a small Toyota product. A telescoping steering wheel would be nice, though. With its larger luggage area (21 cubic feet) and wider body, the xB's utility easily makes it a fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive alternative to compact SUVs. For instance, with the 60/40-split rear seat folded, the xB's 69.9 cubic feet of space is only 3 cubes smaller than the Toyota RAV4.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 Scion xB.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Excellent, Reliable, Economical Vehicle
nicest2,01/12/2014
4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
Purchased a 2008 Scion XB with 48000 miles in 3/2009 and have put 195000 miles on it in just under 5 years. I have not had any problems with this car and it is still driving like new. The key to this longevity is to keep up on the maintenance and to take care of the car. I drive over 50000 highway miles per year and get an average of 25 to 28 mpg. Good job XB.
From an ex GM-FORD-PONTIAC-CADILLAC Owner...
momofx,07/06/2012
4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
Coming from someone who owned big luxury SUVs, I must say the XB is worth the money. I have never had any issue with mine and since switching from a big 6L V8, I have taken more roadtrips in the past year than in the previous 5 years of just having a gas guzzling V8. The amount of room the XB has is amazing. I am 6ft4 and I can VERY comfortably drive it. My buddy who is about 6ft but alot bigger guy was totally shocked how comfortable he was in the passenger side! Also alot of people dont know that these have the award winning Camry engine in it. Being an auto technician, ANY vehicle needs its usual maintenance people so dont think its gonna run forever with just gas cos its Toyota!
just want to say how impressed iam
maranda cobb,09/26/2016
4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
my name is MARANDA COBB im 31 years old i have 3 kids and a husband i recently had a 2008 scion xb and i got in a bad car wreck on SEPTEMBER 19,2016 and it was a very bad wreck i was hit head on and the guy that hit me was doing 65 mph/ 70 mph i must say im very impressed with the safety of my 2008 scion xb im very thankful to be alive i walked away with the left side of my face broken only because my head hit the door frame but other than that im ok . im very impressed of how the inside of the car is still impacted together the quality of the car im very satisfied with the quality of the scion xb . my car was totaled and im very upset about it because that was my only car and i really loved it . If i could i would get another one just like it i just cant afford it and it brake my heart that it happened to me but im impressed with the car i just wanted to let everyone know im one happy customer .
XB Decree
Carolyn,05/27/2016
4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M)
Buy an XB if you want amazing interior leg room in a small wagon, a smooth ride with the automatic model, and an interior that can go completely flat from dashboard to rear hatch to create comfortable sleeping space. Can do just one side like that, as well, if one person wants to drive and one person wants to sleep. This car is so, so roomy inside, and yet it's so small, really, that you often can't see it in parking lots. It can be a real workhorse, too, because the interior seat configuration that can flatten out on one side or both and you can throw lumber inside, surfboards, bikes, animal kennels - whatever. Very versatile. Only negatives I can think of are: 1) it rides low to the ground, so if you so much as drive up too far in a parking space and hit the cement stopper, you may cosmetically damage your front bumper (have done). Also, there is somewhat of a blind spot over driver's left shoulder (which I suppose is normal in a lot of cars),

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Scion xB
More About This Model

The 2008 Scion xB reminds you of what was accomplished by the first 2004 xB, a car so shocking that the entire Scion brand still revolves around it.

Of course, it is true that the conventionally styled tC coupe now out-sells the xB. And you might remember that the company also sells a small hatch.

Since the xB hit the street as a 2004 model, Scion has gained attention for its innovative commitment to personalizing its cars with optional accessories, its no-haggle pricing, and its thriving cultlike segment of borderline-scary owners, yet this is still the company recognized because it builds that funny box car.

So when it came time to design the all-new 2008 Scion xB, there was little chance it would be anything but a box.

Thinking Inside the Bigger Box
Odd as it might seem, what you see in these pictures and will begin seeing in Scion dealerships in a week or two is an Americanized version of the box thing. This is to say, the new xB is longer, lower and wider, and it has a bigger, more powerful engine.

The car that became the original 2004 Scion xB was never designed to American tastes. It was purely a product of Japan, where space is at a premium and styles, at least to American eyes, run from cutesy to what-in-god's-name. But this box is built for America, and there is currently no version of the new xB in the Japanese market.

At 167.3 inches, the '08 xB is longer by exactly a foot than the outgoing model. The new version is 3 inches wider than the old one. It rides on a wheelbase that's 4 inches longer. Its 16-valve, DOHC, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is the same that powers the Scion tC and the base-model Toyota Camry, and its increased displacement helps produce a maximum output of 158 horsepower, some 55 hp more than the previous motor.

If you looked only at the specifications, you'd think that the 2008 xB and Chrysler PT Cruiser were essentially the same car — a comparison that will surely make the Scion faithful cringe. But if you strip away the guerrilla-marketing programs and the thumping, bass-heavy music that always seems to accompany Scion events, the xB and the PT serve exactly the same purpose.

Of course, judging by the photographs of the Scion nation that we've seen, all xB owners flash mock gang signs at the camera whenever a picture is taken of them. We don't recall PT Cruiser owners doing any such thing.

No Toy Box
With height and width measurements that were nearly identical, the old xB upended so many basic car-design conventions that it became something of a curiosity — a toy. It was adorable to some; silly to others. And so the most telling difference between the old xB and the new one is that the new box is actually some 2 inches shorter in overall height.

There isn't any real function lost in the diminished dimension. There's 100.8 cubic feet of passenger volume compared to the 90.1 cubic feet offered by the old car, and there's still more-than-generous headroom inside for all five passengers. The new xB's greater track and width combined with its relatively modest height of 62.6 inches also help give the car some real stance on the road. Less like a toolbox on coasters and more like, you know, a real car.

The new look is a pretty accurate predictor of the way the car performs. The '08 xB feels more substantial and more stable, and it's ultimately more satisfying to drive than the previous model. It still has a relatively high center of gravity, so body roll is your constant companion. But when a corner arrives, the new xB leans smoothly and progressively as the force of physics makes its presence known, allowing you to pour the car into turns more smoothly than the somewhat tippy original.

The new xB rides on standard 205/55R16 all-season tires, so it doesn't have a huge amount of grip and will not inspire you to push the cornering limit. What you'll find, should the limit appear, is resolute understeer. If you want more grip, your friendly Scion dealer will be happy to offer you a number of optional wheel-and-tire packages that range all the way up to 19-inchers, though we suspect the nose-heavy distribution of the xB's prodigious 3,020 pounds (some 625 pounds more than before) will keep its handling dynamics from changing much.

The Power To Be Pleasant
The real revelation in the new xB is the new engine. The former 1.5-liter pea-shooter saw to it that you made some sacrifices for your funky style. In comparison, the new xB's 2.4-liter four-cylinder is thoroughly Camry-ized.

First of all, it's smooth thanks to dual counter-rotating balance shafts. And it has a broad, usable power band with a robust 162 lb-ft of torque on tap, so the xB is finally not as slow as it looks. Should you like, the Scion dealer can arrange to have a supercharger bolted on as an option, which should bring the peak power to 200 hp for a price not yet determined.

The xB's overall driving character is pleasant. Thanks to plenty of acoustic insulation, it's admirably quiet with little road or wind noise. The fairly rudimentary combination of MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion-beam rear suspension delivers a comfortable ride that is never jarring. And the engine never strains while pulling around the xB, despite the new car's weight. The 2008 Scion xB is, in a word, more adult than its predecessor.

Checking All the Boxes
Styling and image might define Scion cars more than anything else, but value is a critical part of the equation, too. At $16,230 for an example with a five-speed manual transmission, the xB is certainly inexpensive. The optional four-speed automatic costs another $950.

And the price represents good value, too. The list of standard equipment is unexpectedly long and includes cruise control, power windows, audio controls on the steering wheel, a six-speaker sound system with both iPod-specific and standard auxiliary inputs, air-conditioning, and remote keyless entry. All xBs also come with four-wheel disc brakes (the old model had rear drums), ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, side airbags for the front seats, and curtain-type airbags for front and rear seats.

Of course, you'll also find a few obvious examples of cost-cutting on this car. Old-school plastic wheel covers on steel wheels are standard equipment and make the xB look a bit like a small commercial vehicle. The automatic transmission offers just four ratios for forward thrust instead of the five- and even six-speed automatic transmissions of some competitors. We would opt for the five-speed manual anyway, since it makes the xB feel more responsive.

Don't Forget the Bottom Line
In Scion-speak, an accessory is what other companies call options, and they are a very big deal in building Scion's reputation for personalized vehicles as well as a prime contributor to the profit picture of Scion dealers. The most important of these accessories are an upgraded stereo system, navigation system, foglights and floor mats. Most of the rest of the items — both from Scion and a select group of Scion-approved vendors — are primarily cosmetic filigree. Meanwhile, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) offers a host of performance upgrades, including wheels, suspension pieces, an exhaust system and even a limited-slip differential. Go crazy, and you could end up with a quite expensive inexpensive car.

Our only real complaint about the new xB isn't what's changed from the old car, but one of the things that remain unchanged, like the center-mounted gauge cluster, which served no real purpose when Toyota introduced it on the Echo and hasn't improved with age.

Otherwise, the new 2008 Scion xB is quite a nice and practical car. We'd certainly buy it before we would a PT Cruiser or a Chevrolet HHR. Because, let's face it, those cars are square.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

Used 2008 Scion xB Overview

The Used 2008 Scion xB is offered in the following submodels: xB Wagon. Available styles include 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Scion xB?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Scion xB trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Scion xB Base is priced between $3,200 and$7,994 with odometer readings between 68671 and184206 miles.

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Which used 2008 Scion xBS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Scion xB for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2008 xBS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,200 and mileage as low as 68671 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Scion xB.

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Find a used Scion xB for sale - 3 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $13,192.

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Scion xB?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Scion lease specials
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