The Truth About Cars » xB http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 13 Sep 2014 17:39:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » xB http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com QOTD: Special Feature, Special Weakness http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/qotd-special-feature-special-weakness/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/qotd-special-feature-special-weakness/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 04:04:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797274 On a busy freeway, a first-generation Scion xB putters along. Ahead, a confused medley of dump trucks, semis, and passenger cars performs the lane-change dance that we all know and loathe. For the driver and passenger of the toaster, things are about to get interesting- and infuriating. The dump trucks are fully laden, and there’s […]

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On a busy freeway, a first-generation Scion xB putters along. Ahead, a confused medley of dump trucks, semis, and passenger cars performs the lane-change dance that we all know and loathe. For the driver and passenger of the toaster, things are about to get interesting- and infuriating.

The dump trucks are fully laden, and there’s already plenty of junk on the road. The xB has a well-worn bug deflector, one which has spared the windshield from an unfortunate contact many times already. But this time, it won’t get the job done. Suddenly, a car darts across lanes in the traffic ahead. It picks up a rock, an asphalt clod, or some other piece of detritus. The missile arcs backward at the perfect angle. It misses the deflector by millimeters, hitting dead on right below the driver’s wiper. THWACK. Time to call the insurance company.

This isn’t the first time. The toaster is already on windshield number two, which itself has seen the business end of a resin gun. Half a dozen or so years prior, it took a stone right at the top, where the glass joins the roof. That time, the trauma wasn’t immediately apparent. However, a single cold, clear day later, the glass was split from top to bottom. The nice man from the glass shop told us that xBs were a great revenue stream for his company. Now he’ll be back to collect another check.

But oh, the glory of driving a fish tank. A virtually unobstructed view from any angle, the tiny blind spots totally confound the current zero-visibility trend in styling. When dad first bought it, I hated it. It was a dork’s car through and through. But when I got my license and my own ride, I began to appreciate its virtues. Those vast expanses of glass were fantastic for a young, nervous driver. They made it easy to watch the road, and to negotiate the tight spots. Dad appreciated it for much the same reason. At the time, no other car on the road offered the same level of visibility, unless it was a convertible. That’s even truer today. Perhaps that’s why he’s held on to it for longer than any other car he’s owned. Even if that fishbowl feeling comes at a price.

xB, Wrangler, FJ, van, and pickup drivers know all about the hazards inherent in steep windshields. Even so, they accept it as part of the costs of ownership. Many drivers tolerate possible headaches in maintenance and repair to get the special features they really want. A sunroof is a good example, as are convertible tops more generally. Heated and power seats don’t always last the life of a vehicle, but for many in northern climes they verge on necessity. Premium wheels can look great, even if they aren’t always resistant to potholes. Material quality and careful engineering can help special features last longer without requiring repairs. But some, like steeply raked windshields, can’t overcome the basic limitations of their design.

What weaknesses are you willing to tolerate in the design of your vehicle, to get exactly what you want? Or is durability your sole criteria? Have you ever been seduced by a trick feature that turned out to be an expensive source of woe later?

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New or Used: It’s Hip to Be Square? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/new-or-used-its-hip-to-be-square/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/new-or-used-its-hip-to-be-square/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2012 16:14:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=435411 TTAC commentator Philosphil writes: Hello everyone, I’m looking to replace my 03 Jetta wagon soon and have test-driven many vehicles. I have periodic back issues and so want a vehicle that has easy ingress and egress (so that ideally I neither have to climb up nor drop down when entering or exiting the vehicle). I’m […]

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TTAC commentator Philosphil writes:

Hello everyone,

I’m looking to replace my 03 Jetta wagon soon and have test-driven many vehicles. I have periodic back issues and so want a vehicle that has easy ingress and egress (so that ideally I neither have to climb up nor drop down when entering or exiting the vehicle). I’m about 6’, but have a relatively long upper body. I’m also looking for something in the $17,000-$20,000 range (Cdn, or about about $15,000-$18,000 US). Of the cars I’ve tested so far, the ones that seem best suited to my needs are the boxes (to my wife’s dismay–they tend to have the largest opening between the driver’s seat and the top of the door sill). I would also like to keep this car (and actually like it as well) for 8-10 years.

So my question is which of the following vehicles would have a better chance of being an enjoyable long-term keeper (with a projected low cost of ownership as well): 1) A gently used Honda Element, 2) 2012 Kia Soul (with new 2.0l engine and new transmission), 2) 2011 Nissan Cube, or 4) 2011 Scion XB? Thanks in advance for everyone’s input.

Sajeev answers:

What an interesting query! Definitely stick with the boxes.

And here’s where I wish I actually had press cars. While I’ve driven none of these, I personally like the Kia Soul the best in terms of styling, as the Nissan Cube is far too Avant Garde for a vehicle I’d actually own.  That said, the Cube Krom is a cool little ride, and its about as boxy as you can get.  You definitely need to spend a long time test driving each of these vehicles to see which one will be ideal for your back.

My biggest concern isn’t the feel of the transmission, fuel economy or what have you. I am worried about long distance comfort in the seats. Considering I found the Soul’s seats to be pretty comfy and their warranty/pricing is pretty decent (even in Canada) this might be ideal for you.

Steve answers:

This is purely a styling exercise for the most part. All of the vehicles you mentioned should do a very good job of keeping egress and ingress on the quick and painless. In fact, I personally preferred to have my own sciataca suffering Mom consider one of the vehicles you mentioned instead of simply choosing another Camry.

The Soul strikes me as having the right balance between contemporary tastes and an easy compact size. However all the ones you mentioned should be easy to own and keep as well.
My advice is to simply try them all for an extended period as Sajeev mentioned. You may want to even go so far as renting one for a day if you can get access to one that would be available. I don’t believe any of these models have substantial fleet sales. But you may get lucky.

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Are You Ready For: A Neo-xB… With A Twist? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/are-you-ready-for-a-neo-xb-with-a-twist/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/are-you-ready-for-a-neo-xb-with-a-twist/#comments Thu, 26 May 2011 00:52:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=396122 See that? Looks a bit like a first-generation Scion xB, doesn’t it? It’s actually a new Kia, codenamed “Tam,” built on its new A-segment Picanto Morning platform, but featuring first-gen xB-style tall-body MPV packaging. The Picanto’s wheelbase is actually slightly smaller than the xB’s, and there’s another key difference here as well: see that rear […]

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See that? Looks a bit like a first-generation Scion xB, doesn’t it? It’s actually a new Kia, codenamed “Tam,” built on its new A-segment Picanto Morning platform, but featuring first-gen xB-style tall-body MPV packaging. The Picanto’s wheelbase is actually slightly smaller than the xB’s, and there’s another key difference here as well: see that rear door? Look where the handle is placed. That’s right, it’s a slider! But that’s not all…

Here’s where things get kooky: on the driver’s side the rear door is a normal front-hinger. At least, that’s what it looks like here. And with Hyundai experimenting with asymmetrical door configurations on its B-segment Veloster, would it be so surprising for Kia to do the same with this wilfully funky little thing? As far as this blogger is concerned, the only thing about this new Kia city-hauler that would be truly surprising would be hearing that it’s coming to the US. A smaller, more-efficient ur-xB with sliding door(s)? Keep dreaming… although a Veloster/Soul/Tam lineup would pretty much show Scion how it’s done.

kiatam1 kiatam7 kiatam4 kiatam6 kiatam2 Way to xB kiatam5 kiatam8 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail kiatam

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2011 Scion xB: You Can’t Fix (Or Facelift) Ugly http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/2011-scion-xb-you-cant-fix-or-facelift-ugly/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/2011-scion-xb-you-cant-fix-or-facelift-ugly/#comments Sun, 28 Mar 2010 20:21:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=350597 The post 2011 Scion xB: You Can’t Fix (Or Facelift) Ugly appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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2011xb1 2011xb3 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 2011xb4 2011xb2

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Scion: The Brand With No Purpose http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/scion-the-brand-with-no-purpose/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/scion-the-brand-with-no-purpose/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2010 21:03:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=341976 “Scion is pretty much a North American brand, so that is why it is very natural to think more development, more design work, should be done in North America,” Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motor North America tells Automotive News [sub]. In other words, fans of Scion’s first generation of JDM confections who railed against […]

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Americans are obligated by our constitution to love weight gain and poor visibility

“Scion is pretty much a North American brand, so that is why it is very natural to think more development, more design work, should be done in North America,” Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota Motor North America tells Automotive News [sub]. In other words, fans of Scion’s first generation of JDM confections who railed against second-gen bloat are probably out of luck. Sure, model four in the Scion lineup will be the iQ minicar, which is small and weird enough to have been a member of the Scion invasion team, but after that? It’s all bloat and bigger blind spots from here on out. It’s what America wants.

Apparently the Scion tC, the only Scion product entirely designed and developed in the US, will be replaced this year. As if confirming the continued Americanization of Scion, the Camry-engined coupe is still outselling the only remaining Scion still reminiscent of the first generation, the xD. We’ve been told that the Fuse concept shown above is the basis for the new tC. Did we say something about bloat and blind spots earlier?

The decision to replace the tC this year has another implication: it means the FT-86 RWD coupe currently being developed by Toyota and Subaru almost certainly won’t be sold as a Scion (as it won’t arrive this year). And if a $25k RWD manual-transmission coupe doesn’t fit in you alleged youth brand, why the hell do you have a youth brand in the first place? Mr Inaba?

We will figure out what we need. We need to focus on more products based on the customer’s needs, what the customer wants… The important thing is to try and appeal to a younger segment. The role of Scion is to grow them into Toyota or Lexus so that has not changed…. We have to be tuned to the needs of younger customers. Connectivity is a very important issue [and] our products should take car of their interests and their needs.

That, or maybe pickups. Who knows what kids really want? Which is why I don’t think it’s too hyperbolic to say that this is highly reminiscent of the terminal brand cluelessness that defined GM for the last several decades. Toyota’s battle with “big company disease” obviously isn’t over, and it probably won’t be until it gives up on the Scion experiment.

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