2008 Scion xB Long-Term Arrival
Quirks like a charm
"Quirky raised to a new art form." That's how technical editor Kim Reynolds praised the new, second-generation xB during our 2008 Car of the Year competition -- in which the xB reached the finals (January 2008). But quirky is tricky. Would the Scion's playfulness wear thin as the miles rolled on? Can a car be quirky and reliable? Is the youthful Scion division still as edgy as it claims to be?
Many devout fans of the original xB -- a cheeky, chiseled chunk of modern art -- hate the new edition, which has grown into a softened and, they say, forgettable blob stretching a foot longer and weighing 600 pounds more. For sure, the new xB is less outre than its predecessor, but that's relative-like calling one of the Baldwin brothers "the normal one." The 2008 xB isn't as new and cool as the outgoing model, but it still exudes a goofy/industrial/from-the-land-of-Godzilla vibe.
It's also got a lot more space and refinement than before. The thing is darn near huge inside, with honest room for five adults plus their gear. And instead of the previous xB's bantam-weight 103-horsepower four, the new version gets the Camry's impressively smooth, 158-horse 2.4-liter unit with variable valve timing; it can nail the sprint to 60 in 8.5 seconds. We added the optional four-speed automatic (a five-speed manual is standard), and it serves up torque as expertly as a butler carving the roast. After almost 6000 miles on the odo, though, we're averaging 23.5 mpg. A fifth or, even better, a sixth gear would undoubtedly improve that figure considerably.
A lot comes standard in the xB's box, including electronic power steering, front and rear disc brakes, stability and traction control, six airbags, a tire-pressure-monitoring system, remote keyless entry, air-conditioning, and a six-speaker Pioneer audio system with aux jack. We added navigation, XM Satellite Radio, and 16-inch alloy wheels, pushing the sticker price to $21,103. (Like Mini, Scion also offers a bevy of dealer-installable items-body kits, special pedals, shift knobs, etc.-to personalize your xB and grossly inflate its price tag.)
Comfortable, fun, and-yes-quirky (we love the center-mounted gauge cluster), our xB has put on miles fast. Scion picks up the tab for the initial, 5000-mile service (oil and filter change, tire rotation), and thus far all else is fine. Quirky, but fine.
|Price as tested||$21,103|
|Vehicle layout||Front engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon|
|Engine||2.4L/158-hp/162-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|Curb weight (dist f/r)||3091 lb (63/37%)|
|Length x width x height||167.3 x 69.3 x 64.7 in|
|0-60 mph||8.5 sec|
|Quarter mile||16.4 sec @ 82.6 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||126 ft|
|Lateral acceleration||0.78g (avg)|
|MT figure eight||28.5 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)|
|EPA city/hwy econ||22/28 mpg|
|CO2 emmisions||0.80 lb/mile|
|Average fuel economy||23.5 mpg|
|Unresolved problem area||None|