So if we weren't ga-ga over the new xB's sheetmetal, for sure we loved its extra power, its gigantic-interior-in-a-smallish-exterior magic act, and such niceties as an integrated iPod adaptor (though more than a few drivers pointed out that changing the artist or song using the touch screen first required bringing the vehicle to a complete stop. Those damn lawyers again).

Best of all, after the initial investment, the xB required only the smallest of expenditures to keep us rolling right along. The first 5K service, an oil change and tire rotation, was complimentary. The 10K, more of the same, cost $24.99. Only the 15K cost us some large change, racking up $188.26 for oil, tire rotation, and a new cabin-air filter. In-between, the xB cost us...nothing. No issues, no fixes, no recalls.

Our observed fuel economy for the full test, 22.9 mpg, was only fair for the class. It's worth bearing in mind that, given its amphitheater interior, in usefulness the xB serves as a larger car. We also drove our tester hard, including one occasion where an intern clocked a good thousand miles attempting to keep up with a Corvette ZR1, a Porsche GT2, and a Nissan GT-R.

As an art piece, xB version 2.0 falls far short of the idiosyncratic original. As a small car, though, it won all of us over. It's even deserving of its own iconic status -- it's just that good. A "safer" xB, then: Unlike its Fugu-fish predecessor, you don't have to brace yourself to drive it.

From The Logbook
"The xB is no autobahn stormer. For our "War of the Worlds" comparo, I took the saddle of the four-wheeled cube and attempted to keep pace with three thoroughbreds on a drive from Los Angeles to Kingman, Arizona. I was not successful. The four-speed became a liability at speed, either buzzing redline in third or lugging in fourth. During our blast across Arizona, the xB drank three-fourths of a tank while the ZR1 consumed a half tank. A quick calculation, however, showed the xB returned 18.3 mpg. Impressive, considering the payload of testing and photo equipment stuffed into the back."
- Carlos Lago

"I find myself liking the xB more and more, and in every way it's superior to the previous gen (with the possible exception of exterior style). The 2.4-liter is sweet, the car is surprisingly quick, and it's pretty agile, too. Great brakes, and much less body roll than you'd expect. I've seen a couple modded-out with rims and the like, and -- I know I may get slammed for this -- I think they look cool."
- Mike Floyd

Our Car
Base price $16,270
Options Navigation system ($1950), automatic transmission, $950, 16-inch alloy wheels ($795), Scion Security ($469), XM Satellite Radio ($449), carpeted floormats ($155), wheel locks ($65)
MSRP, as tested $21,103
Total mileage 18,999
Avg fuel economy 22.9 mpg
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $213.25
Normal-wear cost $0
Three-year residual value* $12,662
Recalls None
* Automotive Lease Guide