But it's not all bear claws and custard-filled; massive improvements accompany the additional heft. Interior dimensions have increased considerably. In the passenger area, an increase of 10.7 cubic feet means hipster hips and shoulders have substantially more room to twist and pass whatever they're passing these days.

Replacing the first-gen's 1.5-liter mill is a tweaked version of the Scion tC's 2.4-liter, DOHC four-cylinder. Power and torque are up 55 horses and 61 pound-feet to 158 horses and 162 pound-feet, respectively. Despite the xB's size and weight gain, Toyota claims only a 10-percent reduction in fuel economy. Relocated off the floor and onto the dash, and equipped with a shorter lever, the action of the standard five-speed manual is more rifle than rubber chicken. It's no Honda 'box, but the ergonomics alone make it much better than before. High and quick clutch engagement paired with the engine's extra torque means aggressive or simply absentminded launches will chirp the tires-not such a comical proposition this time around. Grouped with accessories like the TRD cold-air intake and exhaust, sporty lowering springs, and larger wheels and tires, the xB looks and sounds pretty cool.

Scion's slick marketing gives way to reliable Toyota engineering once the xB gets going. The optional four-speed automatic with sequential shifting, a first for Toyota, is always in the right place at the right time. Also new to the xB is an Electric Power Steering system similar to the one found on the RAV4. Like the auto trans, EPS is praiseworthy only in how invisible it is.

As they did the first time around, Toyota engineers used tight panel fits and strategically placed sound-deadening material to quash wind noise and road vibration. What remains is a quiet and comfortable cabin, set upon a MacPherson strut front and rear-beam axle suspension system tuned more for ride quality than cornering prowess. Though the xB does an admirable job of splitting the difference, owners willing to sacrifice comfort for turning will easily find a wide range of accessory manufacturers happy to punch their ticket.

Step 3: Get them to open the box?

The original Scion xB was essentially a carryover of Toyota's successful Japanese domestic market (JDM) bb. The new Scion xB shares no such JDM counterpart (at least for right now) and, thus, no direct link to the JDM aftermarket tuning scene-an important driver of modifying trends for the Scion generation. Scion admits this may hurt its street credibility with some of its most highly sought opinion leaders. Though it's not a huge surprise, even the hippest JDM hipster must admit that at $16,230, the second-generation xB is a fantastic bargain.



2008 Scion xB
Base price $16,230
Vehicle layout Front engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback
Engine 2.4L/158-hp/162-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmissions 5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic
Curb weight 3050-3100 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 102.4 in
Length x width x height 167.3 x 69.3 x 64.7 in
0-60 mph 8.1-9.6 sec (mfr est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 22/28 mpg
On sale in U.S. Currently