By on May 14, 2007

08scion_xb_21.jpgHaving wrested the title “world’s largest car manufacturer” from General Motors, Toyota’s already committing some of the same mistakes that brought GM down. The all-new 2008 Scion xB is a blot on Toyota’s relatively unblemished copybook. It bristles with classic GM-think: dumb it down, fatten it up and cheapen it out.

The original xB was a brilliant design, an instant cult-classic, as iconic as the first VW Beetle. The box fresh box elicited the same emotional responses as the old bug: children, freshly-minted motorists and the young at heart all loved it. The xB was barely longer than a MINI and almost as much fun to drive, with the accommodations of a Tahoe and 30-plus mpg.

08scion_xb_22.jpgIf the last gen xB evoked images of a lacquered bento box lunch, the new xB evokes a big, sloppy hamburger wrapped in greasy paper. Toyota’s drive to assimilate into the American heartland is relentless; its Texas Tundra brand BBQ sauce-stained fingerprints are all over this little porker.

The xB has gained 650 pounds, a foot in length, and three inches in width. Obviously, there’s a price to pay at the gas pump for that corn-fed heft. EPA numbers are down almost 25 percent for the city cycle (’06 adjusted), from 28 to 22 mpg.

08scion_xb_20.jpgThat xB’s extra 12 inches are totally wasted; it all goes to making the hood longer. More room to mount a set of Texas steer horns? And since height is reduced, the XB actually loses usable passenger space.

The throne-like seating position has lost four inches of leg room. Headroom has also diminished. Ditto the back seat, where my 6’4” frame once sat in limo-comfort, with a good four inches of clearance to the front back-rest. Now my knees graze the horrendously cheap-feeling fabric of the front seats.

08scion_xb_38.jpgThe xB’s front seats might as well have been lifted straight out of a 1971 Chevy Vega. Where the old thrones were nicely bolstered and contoured, with a nubby textural two-tone fabric, the new ones are molded blobs covered in a dreary monolithic black fabric. The Chevy Aveo’s seats put these to shame.

Toyota must have scored a volume deal from GM for vintage interior molds; the door panels are now harder than a trigonometry quiz. The xB’s lamentable polymerization also includes the upper arm-rest surface where my elbow likes to rest. At least the Vega had a little cushion there.

08scion_xb_36.jpgThe xB’s interior package suffers mightily from the reshaped dimensions, the new seating position and the new model's higher belt-line. The xB’s superb view– favored by many of its elderly patrons– has been cruelly reduced. Now one sits deep and low, Hummer style, peering out gun-slit windows. And less of them: the rear three-quarter windows have disappeared.

The cute, perfectly positioned, oval-shaped analog instrument cluster that once perched atop the xB’s artistically shaped and textured dash has been replaced by four small oval, orange-lit displays. They're buried low and deep in the middle of the ponderous dash. The nervously-flashing digital speedometer is yet another 1980’s GM throw-back.

08scion_xb_58.jpgThe new XB has the Camry’s 2.4-liter 158hp engine. It’s a competent and smooth mill that makes the new xB a faster vehicle, but a less engaging one. The old XB’s little 1.5-liter engine had an eager willingness and mechanical presence that made every trip to the pizzeria fun, especially with the stick. 

In another GM-esque move, the Camry’s five-speed automatic didn’t make the bean-counter’s cut; the xB’s old four-speed slushbox soldiers on. Buyers opting for the manual tranny now row their boat with a shifter that protrudes from a large extension from the bottom of the dash– which enhances the perception of lost interior real estate. Equally annoying, the vague-acting clutch pedal sticks up higher than the brake pedal.

08scion_xb_28.jpgThe new XB is faster, but the fun (and challenge) is gone. The new-found heft and softer ride takes XB handling from MINI territory right to into Camry Land. And we all now how engaging and exciting THAT is.

The xB’s electrically-assisted steering lacks the crispness and linearity of the former hydraulic unit. There were times I swear I could feel the electric motor on the other end of the steering column muttering at me under its breath– in a way that reminded me of my fifteen year old son.

Is there anything good to say about the new, ostensibly improved Scion XB? Yes. It now comes with cruise control and more air bags. 

08scion_xb_54.jpgIn short, the xB has become nothing more than a low-content five-door Camry. It’s Toyota’s el-cheapo ($16,230) version of the Chevrolet Malibu Maxx.

In fact, the new xB doesn’t deserve the Scion moniker, which established the brand's U.S. reputation as a provider of affordable automobiles with style, efficiency, quality, innovation and fun. Maybe Toyota could get a deal on the Oldsmobile name from GM.

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143 Comments on “Scion xB Review...”

  • avatar

    Brilliant review.

    I’m not sure the old xB was a faultless as this review suggests–were many people fond of that 1.5?–but the new car certainly lacks much of what made the original special. Especially the high-mounted seats, huge windows, and airy cabin. All gone.

    And yet the elimination of the C-pillar window does make one new feature possible: the first C-pillar storage compartment I’ve ever seen, complete with a little net.

    Then again, when you can fit a storage compartment inside a pillar, that might be a sign that the pillar is way too thick.

    On the plus side, the price didn’t go up much considered all the extra metal and features you’re now getting. As the review notes, how very American. It’s all about MORE. E.F. Schumacher can stuff it.

    For price comparisons (and fuel economy and reliability info once these start getting into owners’ hands):

  • avatar

    I can only agree with everything in the review, with double emphasis on the loss of efficiency. The 2.4 is a good motor, but is a bit of a gas hog, especially in a vehicle of this weight. Maybe it will have better IIHS ratings, but the loss of the “fun/frugal” concept that surrounded the xB is lamentable. It makes me wonder what Honda will do when (if) they redesign the Fit… hopefully they’ll see the error of Toyota’s ways.

  • avatar

    It went from being a funky, boxy Echo to being a cheap, boxy Matrix. At least safety is improved.

    This redesign should help keep the lines at Mini dealers long.

  • avatar

    The Fit will probably just grow to be as big as a Civic. The Civic will grow to the size of today’s Accord. The Accord will probably get bigger and will get AWD to replace the CRV and Pilot because in the future truckly things will be totally unfashionable. Once the Fit grows, they’ll just have to introduce another all new tiny car to replace it.

    Just my guess.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Oddly, I found the Daihatsu Materia (which is supposed to be quite equivalent to the xB) a pretty good car when I drove it a few weeks ago.

    It had packaging and versatility that reminded me of nothing more than a Renault 16, a chuckable attitude to curves, a rough-but-ready 1.5L engine and a nicely verticle front screen. Perhaps only the U.S. version is fattened up, and dumbed down?

  • avatar

    There’s no comparing the potential sale of a Mini to this xB. The market segment is completely different. People looking at Mini’s will not consider this vehicle, or the line of Scions because of the image Scion has. Most likely a potential Mini buyer will look at a Beetle. Scion buyers will look at Hondas (Fit) or Hyundai (Tiburon). Or something used with bling bling already installed.

    I have driven an original xB for a few days and it was fun with the manual. I’ve also driven a Mini. I’d take the Mini personally because it was much more exuberant to drive. But Mini’s aren’t cheap.

  • avatar

    Ah well, but “customers said they wanted more power”. Why would xB drivers want more power is beyond me. probably the old American habit of having your cake and eating it too.
    Power was completely adequate, as long as you’re not driving 100mph and can use a little advance thinking and smarts to pass…
    And therefore, thanks to the buying public and the marketing department of Toyota, here’s a perfectly nice vehicle turned into a fat blandmobile, as close to an SUV as possible, without being one of course.

  • avatar

    Were people happy with the 1.5? Well, my last tank yielded 39.2 mpg with lightfooted driving. So yeah, I’m happy with that!

    This review perfectly sums up the problems with the new xB. I was in the market for a car a few months ago, and had the option of buying the 1st gen. or waiting for this one. After reading about the planned changes, it didn’t take me long to decide. I’m just glad I got mine while there were still some left.

    It also bears mentioning that the 1st gen. xB was a purely Japanese car, built overseas and shipped to America. Japan now has a 2nd gen. xB, but that’s not the car we get here. Our new xB is a purely domestic design built for the perceived American tastes. Thanks, Toyota.

  • avatar

    Boy, talk about taking a timeless design with a cult following and instant recognition (that seems to get better with age), then overhauling it in a generic, soulless manner. Toyota appears to have completely changed the character of this model.
    Comparing this to Honda, the Civic may be much bigger than even older Accords. However, in the last 20 years, it has grown only from a 1.5 to a 1.8 liter engine and improved its fuel mileage to 40 mpg. At least efficiency is a priority there. The Accord follows a similar pattern. If the Fit grows to be as big as a Civic, expect it to maintain, and probably improve, high fuel mileage ratings. Honda’s philosophy here is admirable. I have no idea what Toyota is doing with this one.

  • avatar

    Ugh, just Ugh.

    On the plus side, now that a new generation is out, used 1st gen xBs are going to get cheaper. So I can get a decent xB for less that I would have a month or two ago.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Thanks for the information. So, what I drove was a built-in-Japan, second-gen model.

  • avatar

    Great review! I had almost convinced myself to buy a 1st gen xB a few months ago. Then common sense kicked in and I bought a car for cash. But I couldn’t imagine buying this thing.

  • avatar

    Sad. Just sad.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    The top is a peak – not a plateau. Toyota must begin its decent downward, and it’s already in progress.

  • avatar

    Great review but also sad. The old xB was Toyota’s only recent success at producing an iconic vehicle that did not graduate from the it’s Valium inspired appliance school of design. Maybe they should have realized that they were on a good thing when other companies started to shamelessly copy their clever youthful design? Apparently not.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The self-destructive elements that come with becoming a market leader in the auto industry are starting to kick in for Toyota.

    1) The longer, lower, wider syndrome

    Toyota is now attempting to ‘SUV’ out their entire car line-up in the hopes that the increased weight and size will attract this demographic.

    2) Quality isn’t skin deep

    Toyota is misinterpreting their quality reputation with the belief that folks will actually pay a premium for Toyota quality without a premium interior. Toyota’s had this problem with a long list of models in the past (Tercel, Paseo, Corolla, Cressida, Celica, etc.). What the folks are failing to realize in Torrance is that Toyota has to offer an interior two clicks above the competition to become a market leader.

    3) Profit, profit proifit

    The 1st gen Scion Xb, along with the other Scion models, all offered a relatively narrow profit margin for the parent. The current iteration is designed to cure that since the Scion brand has a healthy level of market awareness and an excellent reputation.

    I believe this vehicle will follow the same trajectory of other models of this ilk. There will be a first year pop, followed by a very substantial decline for sales thereafter.

    It’s all very sad for Scion’s current Xb owners because their models could have been a strong and continual platform for various Toyota upgrades and modifications. Like other classics of the past, the 1st gen Xb offered a timeless design that probably only needed a minor facelift, an upgrade in the quality of the materails, and a longer list of available options and custom modifications to keep sales strong in the states. A panoramic dual sunroof would be one option I would have loved to have seen on this model.

    Oh well… at least the 1st gen Xb’s will have strong resale values for many years to come.

  • avatar

    I’d be nice if Toyota was kind enough to move the instrument cluster back where it belongs: in front of the driver.

    With that said, even I’m surprised by the 700 lb increase in curb weight.

    I guess we can chalk this up to a sophomore slump, everybody’s entitled to at least one of them, right?

  • avatar

    I owned an xB and I loved it. The most space in the smallest package – and a great city car. It was of course not fault-free. That little engine was at times akin to a sewing machine, especially on grades with 4 passengers. And it did need a more resilent suspension and a bit more insulation. But I think I paid somewhere near $14K – in my mind a complete bargain. And did I mention the 33K miles the first year? I spent serious time in that xB.

    And now xB part deux. *vomit* I’m sorry I complained.

  • avatar

    I’ll be interested to hear how they did with the xD. So far I like the sound of it. They gave it the Corolla’s engine, which is not only more powerful, but also more fuel efficient (why not put it in the Yaris too?). They also got rid of the center mounted gauges which is a big plus. Better looking interior compared to the xA as well.

  • avatar

    I guess the new U.S.-built xB has been designed for eXtra Big drivers…

  • avatar
    Joe O

    First off: thank you for a fantastic review. Not in the literary sense (of course, it’s litertastic), but in the sense that this hits right to the heart of problems with such vehicles.

    This Box gained ~25% more weight than it’s previous version. Holy snikies. Can anyone on this website grasp how a company known for frugality did this to one of it’s recent hits? A hit known for being one of edmunds “lowest true cost to own” vehicles.

    The fact that Toyota took the first gen. of this model from Japan, thereby using a cost saving measure, and replaced it with a cheapened hemisphere-specific model, thereby removing said cost-saving measure, is mind-boggling.

    And that 2.4 liter mill? 4-spd auto? What is this, 1990?

    That engine has been around for too long with too little evolution. It’s gas inefficient in the tC, and it’s now a gas hog here. The 4-spd auto? It’s been used in everything, from base model Tacoma’s, to confused Pontiac Vibes, and now here. It’s out-dated, out-moded, wrongly-geared, and just plain silly.

    As a side note: I agree with another commenter; this vehicle is not cross-shopped with the MINI. Aside from funky personalities, they share almost nothing in common in marketplace interests. I think this is most commonly cross-shopped with the Fit, Versa, Mazda 3 perhaps, and maybe some other 5-door versatile-funkerific mobiles (pronounced with a solid “i”).

    Somewhere, someone at SEMA is screaming that this thing won’t look as good with a portable DJ booth growing out of the back.


  • avatar

    focus group blight strikes again!!!! If it was up to me I would have kept it the same and just stuck the 1ZZ-FE 1.8 motor in it from the corolla with the 5 speed manual or auto.

  • avatar

    If the gen 2 xB (x2B?) bombs, Toyota can always go back to the JDM bB/Daihatsu Materia that Martin drove the next time around, with the xD’s 1.8. Scion vehicles aren’t supposed to have a long lifespan anyway.

    I believe, but haven’t heard confirmation, that the new xB shares the Avensis platform along with the tC which is also a 3000lb vehicle.

  • avatar
    Alex Rashev

    What is it with gun slit windows? Everyone’s doing it.

    One of my friends was looking at xC, test-drove it for a couple minutes and never touched it again. Visibility is awful.

    The first company to come up with a full bubble canopy that doesn’t end at shoulder level will get my money.

    As for the rest of the review… I had to check the date to make sure it’s not April 1. I knew Toyota was going bad, but I couldn’t believe that they’d start making turds like this RIGHT NOW. I only hope their end will be quicker than GM’s.

  • avatar

    I’ll admit I originally wasn’t too fond of the first gen xB, but the concept and design grew on me. Having never driven one myself, I took the owners’ words that they were fun to toss around and pretty economical.

    Regardless of how it sells, can we add this one to the next TWAT list?

  • avatar

    650 lbs! 650 lbs! 25% weight gain! 2395 lbs increased to 3020 lbs. Holy pork-out, batman!

  • avatar


    You mean tC? The XC is a Volvo SUV.

  • avatar

    as an onwer of a 1st gen xB…im not angry…im just dissapointed. it going to turn into a PT Cruiser…its scary how the numbers between the two match up…

  • avatar

    Mook mentioned the xD, with which I was not familiar.
    I looked it up in Wikipedia, and I see that it’s “essentially a five-door Toyota Yaris. The five-door Yaris is not available in the U.S., most likely because the xD is too similar to the five-door Yaris sold in other markets”

    TTAC and its commenters have mentioned models “cannibalizing” sales of similar models. I have never understood this–a sale is a sale. OK, so you lost a Yaris sale…but you gained a Scion sale: you’re even, and you still got the sale! Is this a result of fiefdoms where the manufacturer gains a sale but a particular brand manager posts a lower number?

  • avatar

    bummer. as an owner of the 1st gen xB I was scared that this might happen, but hoped for the best. Glad I got mine when I did!

    As far as the xB/MINI connection, when I was in the market and chose the xB, my criteria was small, fuel efficient, some level of roominess, interesting, and fun to drive. MINI obviously won the fun to drive portion of the contest, but it wasn’t as fuel efficient as I was looking for, so went with the xB. Don’t regret it for a minute, but would still would like to add a MINI to the fleet.

  • avatar

    This is one of my favorite TTAC reviews ever. You’ve called this Scion what it is — a bloated, gassy remake of a car whose sole charm was in its diminutive size and excellent packaging. And what makes this particularly valuable is that, for some reason, the rest of the auto media think this model is an *improvement*. Why, I have no idea. It’s the same thing that happened to the Camry over the last two iterations — bloating, swelling, slowing, overcompensation with bigger engines. We’ll all be driving Lincoln Town Cars before long.

  • avatar

    I still think the new one looks like a cross between Bubba from Forest Gump, and a whale. Big front lip, big front but tapers down to a small tail.

    It really is a shame, but what do you expect from japanese companies that have US design houses designing their cars for just the US market. The first xB was an import, this one is ‘homegrown’.

  • avatar

    I disagree that the old xB wasn’t cross shopped with the Mini. While they shared nothing in common on paper, they were both bought in droves by young silicon valley types who want to look cool, another I would include in this category is the Smart Fourtwo. These are the buyers the Scion brand was introduced in California for in the first place. Some Canadian dealers were importing the xB for sale here because of their cool factor, I serously doubt we’ll be seeing this latest one.

  • avatar

    Yeah I am another disapointed 1st geneation Xb owner. The key though will be how does the market react and how does Toyota react to the markets reaction. If this sells well then Toyota won’t even notice its mistake.

    I find it ironic that people consider the first generationm Xb underpowered. I had a an automatic rabbit. The original Xb weighs 20 percent more but has 50 percent more horsepower.

    I seem to remember Nissan said they were bring over the cube from Japan. Anyone know the status of that?

  • avatar

    The new XB is faster, but the fun (and challenge) is gone. The new-found heft and softer ride takes XB handling from MINI territory right to into Camry Land. And we all now how engaging and exciting THAT is.

    Wonderful writing, funny, but very sad.

  • avatar

    Ugh, just Ugh.
    On the plus side, now that a new generation is out, used 1st gen xBs are going to get cheaper. So I can get a decent xB for less that I would have a month or two ago.

    I could easily see the first gen becoming more expensive. The second gen is not an xB, after all, it’s something entirely different. And the first gen is ,or wouild have been, or will be a cult classic. As someone who was sorely tempted by a first gen xB, you couldn’t give me the second gen (or if you did, I’d just turn around and sell it).

    Say it ain’t so Joe!

  • avatar

    I really liked the 1st gen xB. I sat in one once and the terrific interior volume was very impressive. It almost made me want to buy it on packaging alone, but I sold my soul to Saab a while back. The 1st gen xB is a near-ideal urban car.

    Whomever is responsible for the bloated, lead-filled 2nd gen xB must have worked on the now massive RAV4, which also ballooned up for its revision.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Excellent review. Who the hell at Toyota thought, “Hmm, people want more power… aww, let’s just slap a Camry engine in it!” It boggles the mind. With some Honda-esque tuning they could have tweaked the engine for more power. I’m sure all those new airbags added some weight, but a 25% increase is unforgivable. And they beat it with the ugly stick, just like all the rest of Toyota’s stuff. Yep, you hit the nail on the head… Toyota has replaced GM, in more ways than one.

  • avatar

    there was TRD turbo charger option in Japan that boosted the 1.5l up to ~150hp which woulda been blast in the 1st gen xB/xA…sigh…

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    The extra power could have easily come from the new 128 hp. 1.8 engine that’s used in the new xD. Keeping the old weight more or less intact would have netted a better power-toweight ratio than the new xB.

  • avatar

    Yeah, I believe the xD just uses a revision of the Corolla’s 1ZZFE, which is a great engine. I don’t know why it isn’t used in all of their small cars. It gets better highway fuel economy than the 1.5 mill and more power to boot.

    By the way, comment submiting is not working in the current “improved” viewing template (at least on my older version of Firefox). I switched to classic view and it works now.

  • avatar
    John Williams

    Toyota must have figured that the vast majority of American customers would just as easily accepted a fatter, uglier and less technically adroit version of what was a pretty good little runabout, FWIW.

    The sales figures will say otherwise.

    Perhaps Toyota’s gotten a bit GM on us.

  • avatar

    The new xD is the spiritual successor to both the xA and previous xB. This is…well…something else. It’ll be interesting to see if it sells. I sat in one the other day-it was fairly nice and roomy, with some handy overhead storage bins-and cruise control, a feature that many people complained about the old xB (and xA) lacking. But the 22/28 mileage on the sticker will turn people off. Of course, it’s under the new formula for calcutating the mileage, which hurts it. Apparently, the xD (if calculated under the old system) will have better mileage than even the xA, even though it’s larger and has an engine that is 20% larger.

    Oh, and like mook, I also had a problem submitting a comment in the new template. I thought the problem was on my end.

  • avatar

    Toyota, I’m very disappointed in you.

    I’ve never even sat in a Scion (we don’t get ’em in Canada), but I’m sad at the direction Toyota is increasingly taking. I guess Toyota’s hell-bent mission to be GM is progressing quite well according to plan. I predict that within two years, the mass public will start to realize that the things that built Toyota’s reliability credentials no longer apply as decontenting and bloating turn them off the Toyota brand and into the arms of Kia, Hyundai and the fresh Chinese imports.

    Toyota’s facade is crumbling as people begin to realize that their well-honed image and perception is only that, nothing more.

  • avatar


    xD uses the new low-emissions 2ZR-FE.

  • avatar

    I seem to remember Nissan said they were bring over the cube from Japan. Anyone know the status of that?

    Oh no. If they do that there’s no way that I’ll be able to resist. I love that thing. The asymmetrical rear window really seals it for me.

  • avatar

    I never understood the complaints about cruise control in the 1st gen. I got cruise installed from the dealership for $300 when I bought my car. I wanted it under warranty, but otherwise I could’ve picked up the kit for

  • avatar

    Anyway, the kit was pretty much plug-and-play since all options were meant to be easily installed at the dealership.

  • avatar

    I don’t think one mistake means the end of Toyota. They have a habit of learning.

  • avatar

    We probably wouldn’t be having this discussion if they’d simply named it something else. Calling this boat an “xB” was their first mistake.

    I’m less bothered by the very existence of this car than some people seem to be. But it’s disappointing that Toyota, having discovered and developed a previously unknown US market for a true city car, has now abandoned it. There’s a reason why you see so many gen1 xB’s are in use as local shuttles, hourly rentals (eg, Philly CarShare), and delivery vehicles. Nothing else close to its price offers such accommodation and easy access for 4 adults, combined with the ability to parallel park three of them in two spaces and get 30 MPG in all-city driving.

    This new thing is not an xB. It’s also going to have much less appeal to older drivers, which I’m guessing was a strong motivator in the redesign. Toyota is really committed to focusing the Scion brand on a younger demographic, and seeing so many gray-hairs driving Boxes really bothers a lot of Scion boosters.

  • avatar

    Judging from these comments, I guess now would be the perfect time for GM to put the Beat/Traxx/Groove development on the fast track.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer


    given that they changed the name of the xA to xD (it’s grown a little), they should have renamed the xB to XL.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I got a lot of crap from people when I said the last-gen xB was a great little vanlet, one of the few vehicles thats true to its mission, its soul. Heck, I recommended one to a family member. This review, its comments, and the loyal owners were proof of its staying power.

    Now the xB is just another wrong-sized SUV wannabe. Bummer.

  • avatar

    given that they changed the name of the xA to xD (it’s grown a little), they should have renamed the xB to XL.

    If the xA was enlarged to become the xD, then shouldn’t the xB now be the xDD?

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    In Toyota’s defense, I can understand their doubt that the new JDM xB would appeal to American customers. It’s hideous:

    But you’d think Toyota, if anyone, would see the folly of bumping up displacement nearly a liter when gas prices are approaching $4.00/gallon.

    With both the first-gen xB and the PT Cruiser, I wish the manufacturer just keep cranking out the original design and knock down the price.

  • avatar

    We just got our first one off the truck today. it seems so damn big compared to the old one. Not for me, but it has been on endless test drives since 10am today. last I heard, the scion guys had 6 orders.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    IMO Scion could be selling both of them. The original xB had no real competition in its segment as an ideal urban roomster. And I think the new one deserved some better attention to materials, details, etc.

    The original xB market segment is up for grabs. Nissan may walk right into it if they do bring the Cube.

    In the small car (Groove/Beat/Trax) preference vote that Chevy had, the xB like version won in the US.

  • avatar

    After looking up the acceleration figures for the outgoing xB, I feel I must defend Toyota’s decision to go with the 2.4 engine. I’ve driven sluggish vehicles, and merging on a busy highway is no fun when you’re behind the wheel of one. As ‘light’ and ‘fun’ as the outgoing xB may be to some (though I’ll never understand how anybody can view a box on wheels as ‘fun’), I do believe many people would appreciate the brisk acceleration needed for highway merging as a mater of safety versus having to time your entry like a double-dutch player trying to jump through the ropes.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer


    What I’ve gleaned is about a one second difference 0-60. That could have been easily addressed by putting in the 1.8 engine (128 hp) from the xD. That would give a better power-to-weight ratio than the new xB has.

    The issue here is that the original xB found a wide-open niche in the market. They sold every one of them quite easily. How easy is that in this day and age? Not very.

    Now they’re walking away from it, and selling essentially a different class of vehicle. As I said in a post above, they could be selling both. They’d probably do quite well too.

  • avatar

    Evil. Simply evil. Feh.

    The xB’s distinctive sytling, gone. Lightness and fuel efficiency, gone. My interest in a new one, gone, gone, gone.

    The xB is now just another victim in a long, sad line of cars that were great in their first iterations and bloated porkers in their later years… my personal list of disgust and disappointment would include:

    60’s/70’s era Ford Mustang (perhaps the textbook example of this trend)

    Toyota and Nissan pickups: Where’s my damn small truck? The Tacoma is damn near as big as an 40-year-old F150, same with the Frontier.

    Ford Falcon

    50’s/60’s Ford Thunderbird

    Chevrolet Corvette (though almost redeemed with the latest version)

    Datsun 240Z (later 260z, 280z)

    Toyota MR2 (2nd gen, 3rd gen was back on track)

    60’s/70’s era Chevrolet Nova

    Dodge Caravan: Started life as an efficient minivan, became a porcine stationwagon.

    VW Rabbit/Golf

    Plymouth Barracuda: A-Body for me, thanks… E-Body is cool looking and all, but again, why the extra weight?

    Hell, it’s even happened to the Mini, although, thankfully, they did show just a little bit of restraint.

    I could go on, but it’ll just make me cranky… I mean, cranki-er.

    I realize many of my examples are rather old, but that just shows how long this stupidity has been going on. I hope spiraling fuel costs put an end to the trend once and for all.

    Shame on you, Toyota… shaaaaaaaame shame SHAME… I officially take my TBAG vote for the xB back.


  • avatar

    Pixel said:
    On the plus side, now that a new generation is out, used 1st gen xBs are going to get cheaper. So I can get a decent xB for less that I would have a month or two ago.

    Don’t count on it. Now that people have seen what the new B2 looks like (which doesn’t even deserve the name, IMO), the demand for the cLassic has increased even more. Used xB’s with 20K on them are routinely going for more than they sold brand-spanking-new.

    Add me to the list of horrified first-gen xB owners. Sitting in my driveway is a quirky, spacious, loaded-to-the-gills Party Fox of Fun for less than a year’s tuition. Sitting at my local Scion dealership is…a bloated, overweight, Highlander-spawned…thing.

    The cLassic xB is the most fun car I’ve ever driven – the perfect mix of sporty and practical. I’m sad to see it go. Hopefully, once Toyota realizes the youngest person to purchase the new one is 37 and has two kids, the xB mk 3 will get back to basics – something unlike my parents’ Camry that still gets me into the Toyota family.

    Toyota listened, alright – listened to the legions of style-deficient morons who think a Dodge Ram is a practical vehicle and wouldn’t known “exciting” if it ran them over.

    Too bad they didn’t listen to the 200,000 people who actually bought one…

  • avatar

    This reminds me, at least a little bit, of the introduction of the 2006 Rav4. Compared to the ’96-2005 Ravs, the ’06 is much bigger, no stick available, V6 option, radically different styling and quite a few other changes. A poll taken in one of the Rav4 groups (yahoo or something) had the overwhelming response of “What have they done to my Rav?!?!”

    But… the new Rav sells really well; something like 2X the old Ravs. Maybe the old Rav was limited by supply. Or, maybe Toyota does have a handle on the market and the new xB could bring out a new kind of xB buyer in larger numbers.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    given that they changed the name of the xA to xD (it’s grown a little), they should have renamed the xB to XL.

    Meh, I’d still give it an xC-

  • avatar

    It seems they changed platform? The new xB looks like they tried to wrap the old body over the much larger new Corolla/Auris-Platform? Wasn’t the old xB based on Toyotas k-car platform?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer


    Scion is limiting their total US sales to 150k units per year (all three models). So selling the new xB’s probably won’t be a problem per se. The original xB got its start in Japan back in 1999 when Toyota was very concerned about their image with younger kids. And Scion is an offshoot of that. It’s an image thing; to keep Toyota on the radar for young buyers. So increasing volume is not the goal.

    Whether the new xB helps the image will take a few years to unfold. I’m sure there will be a sales flurry for at least the first year.

  • avatar

    Great review. Toyota does seem to be making some big steps backwards. The newest Camry design seems to be a step backwards in interior fit and finish as well as exterior design. It reminds me of the mess Ford made of the Taurus when they went for the Ovals Are Us look in 1996 and in short order destroyed the market position of what until then was the best selling car in the US. Now 11 years later Toyota seems to be repeating some of the same mistakes.

    Hopefully Honda is not making similar mistakes with the upcoming Accord redesign.

    The original xB was delightfully odd, this version is just ugly. I suppose it means more Honda Elements will be sold :).

    Toyota seems to also be working towards the too many brands, too many models problem of GM. I don’t buy the idea that Toyota needs a “youth brand”. The whole Scion as a pseudo-independent brand thing is just silly. At least Toyota didn’t make the mistake (Saturn) of establishing a whole new dealer network. These things would sell just as well as Toyota xBs as they will as Scion xBs.

  • avatar

    My brother owns an xB, and I love it. I’m a sports car guy but this thing is just… an event, every time you drive it.

    But you can’t force coolness. And that’s what they’ve tried. Not just that, but they’ve listened to everyone who DIDN’T want an xB. Unusual for Toyota to do something like that. It should’ve been more square, less Toyota design-like, still small, maybe a 1.6L with optional 1.8L… now it’s just a crossover thing.

  • avatar

    the only reason toyota is downgrading some products for usa, is because they can afford it. scion is a kmart type of vehicle. so what do kmarters want? big bang for the buck.teenagers are not obsessed with soft plastic issues, they need a transportation that stands out, is cheap and easy to live with. like diapers. i believe toyota doesn`t behave similarly in europe. but in usa most of the things have a cheaper look- glass, gold, silver, mobile phones, shoes, clothes, food, household appliances etc. Am I wrong?

  • avatar

    Well, they only charged $3/lb to ruin it – a 650lb addition! Usually it takes the bigs two generations to pork out a car that much… I very much doubt that prices for old ones will depress – The original is true to itself; the new one is a cartoon, a re-wrapped Celica. It’s a damned shame that some marketing types chose to “improve” one of the few original cars available in the North American market in this way. Our family has two Xb’s; during a trip to Florida we rented a Matrix and found it dull as dishwater, lifeless in all inputs. The original is a surprisingly fun car to drive; eager, responsive, and frugal, a sleeper – no one knows how much fun you are having. It the Matrix is representative of the new chassis all of that is gone. Regarding the Fit and its competitors – how often is the “new” small car going to be reintroduced? The Xb was truly new, at least here in the states. Not any more…

  • avatar

    Not getting the obsession with bigger engines. Why put that bloated piece of crap of an engine in this car. VW did the same thing with the Golf – a freakin 2.5L 5 cylinder for “American” tastes whatever that means.

    For the grand finale a 25% weight gain? Please are you smoking crack? A pound is a pound is a pound. More weight means worse fuel mileage because it has to be dragged around.

    I have yet to understand what American product planners think we like. Because I dont freakin get it. I dont want a silver gas swilling SUV. I want a small car that gets good gas mileage and is fun to drive. Apparently they think we all want bland boring utility boxes. Also this this anti-hatchback thing is ridiculous. We keep hearing that Americans dont like hatchbacks.

    The last xB was an icon because it was a cube on wheels and it was different. This one is just another minivan. Thanks but I will pass.

  • avatar

    whats with toyota and blind spots these days? it sucks.

  • avatar

    A few things …

    The xD’s engine is not some variant of the 1ZZ, it’s an all-new 2ZR engine.

    As for the 22/28 EPA fuel economy of the 2008 xB, keep in mind that is based on the new revised EPA ratings, NOT the old ratings that the 2007 xB was based on. Under the 2008 ratings, the old xB with it’s small engine would have had EPA ratings of about 27/30 EPA.

    The old xB barely had enough power to get out of it’s own way.

    And Toyota actually listened to Scion customers, not critics or cynics. The number one complaint about the old xB from actual xB owners was lack of power. Toyota addressed that in the new xB. Toyota never offered any meaningful power upgrades for it’s 1.5L engine over here in the US … but TRD here in the US does offer plenty of upgrades for the 2.4L engine, including a supercharger. Now many of the same powertrain upgrades that tC owners love can be put onto the xB.

    The old xB also had horrible side impact ratings. There is no doubt in my mind some of the weight increase came due to a more reinforced body and chassis for better side protection.

    But why list the positive attributes and improvements of the new xB right?

    There is a pronounced criticism that the new xB has lost some practicality. Scion is not about practicality. Toyota never created Scion for the purpose of practicality. If you want practicality, buy a Toyota. Scion is all about being weird, different, and strange. The fact that so many journalists, writers, and media people hate the new xB … Scion people are just eating it up. The new xB’s design is more aggressive, and makes the car look sleeker and meaner than the old box. The old xB was strange, quirky, but not aggressive by any means. It’s almost perfect box shape, disproportionately large windows and height, and steller fuel economy is what attracted so many older buyers to it. The new xB sacrifices much of that for more style and more performance. The new xB is more customizable than the old model. It’s safer too.

    The marketing for the new xB is more strange than ever. Scion *wants* the mainstream to hate the xB, because then young people will simply gravitate towards it more. Scion had a strange website set-up in advance of the xB’s launch, and it got a huge response from young people.

  • avatar

    I always saw the xB on my short list of economical cars I could buy, because my rather large frame can’t fold easily into a lot of small cars. Not that I need an economical car, but the xB is one that I might actually want. Perhaps I’d buy one for my daughter, just so I could drive it.

    Not anymore…yick. It’s easier to list what’s right about this car than all the things that went wrong.

    Hopefully, there’s something in the Japanese (or Toyota) culture about accountability and the people reponsible for this are punished.

    In short:
    1st gen xB – Classic Coke
    2nd gen xB – New Coke

    Do what Coca-Cola did, admit your mistake, fix it, and be better because of it.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Doesn’t the mileage alone now move this in direct competition with so many other SUVs it’s not even funny?

  • avatar

    Jim H:

    xB gen 2 does pretty well. Some SUV’s by 2008 ratings:

    Toyota RAV4 4cyl auto 21/27
    Mitusbishi Outlander V6 auto FWD 17/25
    Ford Edge FWD 16/25
    Ford Explorer 2WD I6 14/20
    Ford Expedition 2WD 12/18

  • avatar


    The marketing for the new xB is more strange than ever. Scion *wants* the mainstream to hate the xB, because then young people will simply gravitate towards it more.

    I’m curious as to how you arrived at this generalization. When redesigning a vehicle for the mainstream US market, the vast majority of models become fatter and more powerful. I fail to see how this new xB does not fall into that category, seeing as it gained 650 lbs of sheer anamorphosis through larger dimensions and an old engine with relatively poor mileage.

    Scion is not about practicality? I thought the aim of the original xB was a low-maintenance, spacious vehicle that sipped gas and wasn’t a punishment to drive. I believe they were a couple chilled beverage holders away from hitting the nail on the head with first gen. The way I see it, Toyota took a successful Japanese design and ‘mainstreamed’ it for the domestic market. When all they needed was some side impact reinforcement and some TRD love.

    Call me crazy, but I am 23 and put this at the very bottom of my list. And I will snicker at every one I see on the road.

  • avatar

    Johnson: Scion is all about being weird, different, and strange. The
    fact that so many journalists, writers, and media people hate the new
    xB … Scion people are just eating it up. The new xB’s design is more
    aggressive, and makes the car look sleeker and meaner than the old box.
    The old xB was strange, quirky, but not aggressive by any means. It’s
    almost perfect box shape, disproportionately large windows and height,
    and steller fuel economy is what attracted so many older buyers to it.

    I think you’re misjudging the people who frequent TTAC, and the new
    “xB”. The new “xB” is a fairly conventional SUV. The mean look is old
    hat. Think RAM, Cherokee, FISO (pardon me, F150), etc. That stuff
    goes back for years. Anyone wanting something different is not going to
    go for a scary grill unless there’s something VERY different attached
    to it. But the old xB–there was nothing like it out there. The old one
    is loaded with character that is unique and loveable in the world of
    cars in North America and Europe. And TTAC’s audience, including the
    journalists among us, are not conventional citizens, contrary to your

    As for the extreme disappointment some xB owners feel, I feel your
    pain. That’s exactly how I felt when Saturn dumbed itself down in ’96
    (I had a ’93). Saturn was no longer the practical person’s sporty car,
    it was a warm and fuzzy nothing special. I felt obliged to apologize
    for the car whenever somebody asked me what I drove.

    As for the attraction to older buyers–I’m 53 and one of my good friends who also loves the thing is 51 or 52–it’s incredibly cool looking. And practical in a manner analogous to the practicality of the VW old Beetle.

  • avatar

    starlightmica, thanks for pointing out some 2008 EPA ratings for other vehicles. A lot of people will be surprised at how much EPA ratings are going to drop for many vehicles with the revised 2008 ratings.

    For those of you calling the fuel economy of Toyota’s 2.4L “poor”, you should double-check the facts. The facts are Toyota’s 2.4L gets comparable mileage to Honda’s 2.4L, and offers comparable power. Toyota’s 2.4L gets similar fuel economy as Chevy’s dissapointing 1.6L in the Aveo, and it’s far more refined than that raspy 1.6L. Toyota’s 2.4L also gets better fuel economy than Chevy’s 2.2L and 2.4L Ecotec engines.

    danms6, you make some logical points, but you miss the real point of Scion. It may be tempting to believe the purpose of the xB was a low maintenance, fuel efficient practical vehicle, and certainly many people bought the xB exactly for those reasons … but the actual purpose of the xB, and ultimately Scion is something else. The purpose is to reach young buyers and get them familiar with Toyota products so that they stay in the Toyota family of vehicles as they get older. Everything that you mentioned about the xB … one could have easily bought a Matrix instead. It’s a tricky situation … young people don’t want to be seen driving a Corolla, Camry, Matrix, or a Yaris … they’d rather drive a Scion. But at the same time, Toyota wants those young people to gradually get used to the Toyota brand so once they get older they will buy those very same Corollas and Camrys that they didn’t want to be seen in when they were younger.

    Toyota tested the market with the xB and xA, hit a homerun with the tC, and now with the 2nd generation of vehicles, Toyota is making Scion vehicles and Scion as a brand more focused and less mainstream. This means that practicality, interior volume, and even fuel economy to some extent will be sacrificed in order to make Scions more stylish, more customizable, and more relevant amoung young people … which in turn will make Scion less relevant to older buyers (all of you old xA and xB owners … yes I’m referring to you).

    David Holzman, the new xB doesn’t look particularly mean … but it does have an aggressive stance, a sleek-looking body, and an uncoventional shape. For all the criticism the new xB is getting here on TTAC, it still looks like nothing else on the road. I really cannot visualize anyone saying that the new xB looks conventional and similar to other vehicles while keeping a straight face. The only vehicle the new xB looks similar to is the old xB. I think some of you might be stretching the originality of the 1st gen xB. It had an almost perfect box shape, similar to many Chevy and Ford work vans, and also similar to old 1980s Dodge Caravans and Chevy Astro vans. The most unique thing was the strange, almost geeky-looking proportions and the front end.

    And yes, TTAC’s audience is certainly not conventional, but I am quite sure that TTAC’s audience is primarily older, correct me if I’m wrong. Last I checked, TTAC was not a site full of 16 – 25 year olds, which is the main demographic Scion is targeting.

  • avatar

    Johnson: For all the criticism the new xB is getting here on TTAC, it still looks like nothing else on the road. I really cannot visualize anyone saying that the new xB looks conventional and similar to other vehicles while keeping a straight face.

    One of the fundamental things the human brain does is categorize things. Thus, even a small child understands that Chihuahuas are dogs, not cats, even though they are cat-sized quadrupeds. The new xB may have a few features that differ from most SUVs, but when I see it, my brain goes, “SUV” without hesitation. (I’m saying this with a straight face.) My brain lacks an existing category for the old xB, because there are no other classic Japanese cube cars in the US, and I havent been to Japan. But to repeat myself, the old xB’s place in the North Amnerican automotive pantheon is akin to the Old Beetle’s place in the NA pantheon of the ’50s and ’60s.

  • avatar

    Old xBs make me smile when I see them. Microbuses do that too, but no other car does that in quite the same way–even cars that I love, like the Boxster. Oh, maybe a Deux Cheveaux. Old xBs are part cool jazz, part surfer rock, part butterfly.

  • avatar

    I’m baffled by the number of people who class even the new xB (let alone the original) an “SUV.” On the spectrum with “station wagon” at one end and “SUV” at the other, the new xB seems to me to be even more a SW than the old one was. And the old one was unmistakably a station wagon.

    These cars don’t have any of the characteristics of an SUV, even a car-based “crossover” SUV. If the new box is anything, it’s a “tC Wagon.”

  • avatar

    Let’s hope the new Scion is safer than the old one. Sure, in the NHTSA frontal and offset crash tests, it did well… but its side impact performance was really poor.

    That said, I don’t give a lot of weight to NHTSA testing because we don’t drive our cars in a laboratory and “cleanly” collide with fixed barriers — we drive them in the real world… and out in the real world the Scion Xb has proved itself to be a nastly and unsafe little car. Based on injuries and deaths out in the real world, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/ Highway Loss Data Institute rates the Xb as “substancially worse than average.”

  • avatar

    True about the lack of safety, and too damn bad.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer


    Your comments are a good overview of Scion’s dillemma. As I read somewhere that the average xB buyer’s age was 40. But it leaves two questions unanswered:

    1. Is it really possible to target the young demo successfully and exclude older buyers? It’s possible that the xB2 will bring in some of the older demos that found xB1 too different, weak, short, unsafe, etc. There’s some evidence of that at the Scion forums, where folks are talking about trading in Explorers for the xB2. It may look appealing as a cheaper CRV/RAV4-CUV alternative.

    2. There is also a lot of negative response from the young demo on the forums. They’re basically saying: Toyota listened only to those that didn’t like the xB1, not to us that are the true Scion fan base.

    If these observations are reflective of sentiments, than it suggests that Scion will pick up new buyers, but not necessarily all young ones. Frankly, its kinda hard to imagine young buyers who will like the xB2 and who specifically didn’t like the xB1.

    And they clearly have alienated a lot of the young xB1 owners who are very unhappy with xB2. Whether that ends up as a net win for Scion’s goals will be determined.

  • avatar

    And they clearly have alienated a lot of the young xB1 owners who are very unhappy with xB2. Whether that ends up as a net win for Scion’s goals will be determined.

    This is exacrly what happened with the first redesign of the Saturn. And it was a defnite loss. In 94 or 95 just the one model of Saturn sold nearly 300,000 copies. All the four or five models of Saturn today collectively don’t approach that.

  • avatar

    Is it Toyota’s current business strategy to produce vehicles that are reminiscent of GM products? The Camry and Corolla I drove recently reminded me of GM cars as well…

  • avatar

    I’m 48 married two kids 4 & 5. Wife drives an Odyssey and I drive ’01 525i with 65K miles. The bimmer is a beutiful ride but in S.Fl not many roads to really enjoy it.

    In the market for a new MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) to accomodate the kid’s trips to the beach and their horsing around plus my occasional trip to Home Depot for hurricane supplies.

    Looking to spend about the same as the private resale value of the BMW (16K-17K). Came across the 1stgen xB, wife hated the looks and “wouldn’t be caught dead” in one. I loved it for the all the reasons listed on this blog. Did not go with Element because of the funky rear doors with no roll down windows.

    Finally the 2gen xB appears on the scene. Wife takes a look still doesn’t like what she sees but willing to put aside lack of aesthetics because of the enhanced safety features (side airbags) for the kids. Went to dealer last weekend and she sat in one and likes the roominess however the seating material is somewhat inferior.

    I let her choose the color (silver metallic) and we now have one on order expected to delivered by end of month.

  • avatar

    Never let your wife decide which vehicle you are going to drive (lesson learned the hard way after 4 different wife-approved vehicles in 5 years – 325Ci, 350z, Audi S4, Infiniti FX35). She finally relented and let me buy the vehicle I wanted in the color I wanted, eventhough she hates the thing (Subaru WRX Limited wagon).

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer


    You are living proof that the new xB2 may/will not be anymore successful in furthering Scion’s coveted youth market.


    “It’s safer”. Isn’t that what young people always make their priority?

    Truth be told, if Scion really wants to only sell to young folks, and get rid of the old ones, they should make their cars death traps.

  • avatar

    Gotta pick your battles, congrats on the Subaru acquisition. The second new car I bought a long time ago was a ’85 Subaru RX Turbo. Drove the heck out of it while living in CA. One of the few AWDs back then. Great driving memories.

    Glad I was able to provide the proof. Safety features closed the deal.

  • avatar

    Paul, bang on with your safety comment. 22 year olds don’t care if their car has lousy side impact ratings, they still think they are invincible. Poor safety may keep people from buying a car for their kid though. I don’t know how many xB sales were mom and dad buying a car for their teenage kid, though.

    As for styling, a comment was made that the new xB looks more aggressive, funkier, blah, blah. When I first clocked the photo, the first thing that popped into my head was Chevy HHR. The original was truly funky. The new one looks like a retread of a retread of the PT Cruiser. How the hell is that cool?

  • avatar

    These fuel efficient fun funky cars are going to bury Ford. Sad to see how Ford has retreated to nothing but boring stale designs.

  • avatar

    xBnut: The bimmer is a beutiful ride but in S.Fl not many roads to really enjoy it.

    I feel your pain. Fortunately I’ve never lived in any of the flat states.

  • avatar


    Primary reason I’m moving on to a MPV like the xB is the upkeep on a luxury sport sedan. For instance the 525i has the sport package which has 45 profile tires which can run a cool gran for all 4 corners. I don’t mind expending the maintenance coinage however what I do mine is not being able to use the full (or even 1/2) capability of the sport features.

    99% of S. Fl’s flat surface roads (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach counties) are laid out in straight E-W, N-S, grid pattern. No joy there unless you like to drag race which the 525i is not built for. The only curves are found on the entrance and exit jug handle ramps from I-95 and the Turnpike.

    In addition, when you are on the above mentioned freeways the car seems to feel more secure the faster you go. Therefore the inclination is to extremely exceed the speed limit which is highly not recommended unless you enjoy looking out a barred window.

    Bottom line the 2nd gen xB fits my psychic need for a slightly rebellious looking vehicle that has terrific utility and tremendous value. If others around my age (48) also feel the same way my apologies to Scion/Toyota for bursting their youthful demographic stratagem. Also to the young ones reading this blog I promise to wear my baseball cap while driving, it does a good job of hiding my bald spot. :-D

  • avatar


    I figured as much about the grid in s fla. Given your circumstances, trading the bimmer for the mpv sounds very logical to me.

    I’ve long thought that if Detroit were in the Rockies somewhere, American cars would be much more fun to drive. I’m yoiur age–actually five years older, and I love the old xB, and so does one of my best friends, who’s not even a car guy. But so, obviously, do a lot of members of the target demographic.

  • avatar

    The more I look at it, the more I realzie the new “xB” is not that bad. It’s just a terrible disappointment after the old one. It looks a little like abn overgrownj rabbit from the ’80s.

    One of the big difs though, is th eyes. Our brains are programmed to see big eyes as cute. That’s part of the reason we go gaga over babies. The old one didnt have huge eyes, but they were relatively large compared to most cars. The new one has those slits, which are not the least bit cute.

  • avatar

    I am puzzled by Toyota’s approach with the new xB. They seem to go only half way with the new xB. Curiously, many older drivers like the xB because of the easy entry/exit.

  • avatar

    After extensively testing Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza/Legacy, VW Rabbit/Beetle/Jetta, Suzuki SX4, Nissan Altima/Sentra/Versa, Toyota Matrix/Prius, and Scion TC/XA/XB (2006 variants), I just completed 48 miles, including some blasts down a really twisty road, in my brand new XB (with sway-bar option). This is a GREAT car. Fast, comfortable-riding, fun (particularly the sport shift), economical, useful, versatile, and roomy enough (albeit I did like the headroom and footroom on the old model a bit better). You folks who dashed out to buy the rough-riding, underpowered, plug-ugly old XB instead of waiting on the great, just-quirky-looking 2008 are going to be s-o-o-o-o-o sorry! I just registered it with the insurance company, and it’s also a big winner there. To boot, it runs on regular gas and my wife likes it (even the maroon color). Holy smokes, what else could one want (other than maybe adding the TRD supercharger when they finally stock it)? There’ll be second one sitting in my driveway within a month or two…

  • avatar

    as a 1st gen xB buyer I have to say, the old box is better. I can defend the little engine by saying yes it’s sluggish, but you can merge, pass etc… more easily than the lil box’s detractors (Who have never even driven the box) say it can.

    The only change to the old box should have been an extra map light and MAYBE the corolla engine. It was a hit with 1.5, the 1.8 would have given it that extra boost that a lot of people thought it needed. I for one, just put on Intake, Header and exhaust for some extra pep. runs like a top, and I’m keeping it as long as I can. I hope it outlives me (Or I can be buried in it =P)

  • avatar

    One thing that would have hurt the old xB had it been retained was the lack of side airbags, which are more common on new-gen minis. It should be noted that part of the reason the xB’s sales demographic skewed older was parents buying the car for their kids. Increasingly, the xB’s poor side-impact performance would be a detriment to that.

    It’s interesting to note that the new bB – of which there is already a LHD version in production — is very similar to the original xB in most respects, but does include side airbags. The US is the one major market not getting this car; the new overgrown US-only xB is what we got instead.

  • avatar

    I just wanted to mention that I purchased an 06 XB in December. My two preferred vehicles after attending the Tampa Auto show were the XB or Mini.

    Also, I agree with this review of the 08.
    Less iconic.

    May 14th, 2007 at 8:16 am

    There’s no comparing the potential sale of a Mini to this xB. The market segment is completely different. People looking at Mini’s will not consider this vehicle, or the line of Scions because of the image Scion has. Most likely a potential Mini buyer will look at a Beetle. Scion buyers will look at Hondas (Fit) or Hyundai (Tiburon). Or something used with bling bling already installed.

    I have driven an original xB for a few days and it was fun with the manual. I’ve also driven a Mini. I’d take the Mini personally because it was much more exuberant to drive. But Mini’s aren’t cheap.

  • avatar

    The 1.5 five speed does 0-60 in the low 9 second range. It’s faster than many cars that don’t have a reputation for being slow. But, you have to rev it, something Americans are loath to do.
    I considered a Mini but bought an xB. The Mini was too small. The interior is cartoony, a caricature. Made me ill like a Spielberg film.
    The xB is original brilliance. Ok, maybe it was influenced by 60’s and 70’s Fiats but if it was that’s not a bad thing, it’s to it’s credit.
    The xB2 may be a better car and may very well sell much better but it’s not an icon.
    A decade from now it’ll look like any 10 year old Japanese car looks today, blah, glurg.
    A decade from now you’ll see one and think, that’s when they blew it.
    On the other hand, like pre-1968 bugs and busses, the xB1 will always put a smile on your face.
    The “new”, “improved” post 1967 bugs and busses, blah, glurg.
    Whenever I see one I think, that’s when they blew it.

  • avatar

    It was confirmed a couple of days ago that the Nissan Cube is actually coming to the US. 2008, i think.

  • avatar

    I finally heard from my Toyota dealer today that they had an ‘08 xB available for test drive (their demo’s had been selling faster than I could get out there). I felt guilty as I walked into my garage and unlocked my Thundercloud Silver ‘05 xB. “It’s just a test drive” I told my beloved companion of 2 years, 9 months, 24 days and 4,188 miles. As I drove to the dealer, I fantasized about having 50% more horsepower, cruse control, and side airbags, not to mention an iPod plug, armrests, and, hopefully,a better final-drive ratio for the tranny. The demo was white with no wheel covers – but I forged on. Nancy, the salesperson, was well-informed, though harried. No manual trans was available (or even in the pipeline), so I took the auto for a spin. The 2.4 is most definitely a nice angine, and a noticeable change from the 1.5 on my xB. But I didn’t get the “I could like this” feeling that I got when I first test-drove an ‘05 xB three years ago. I really prefer the driving position of the original model – great seats, terrific visibility, and a sense that I am connected to my car.

    There was another guy talking to Nancy, the Scion salesperson, when I returned from my test drive. I walked in to hear him say “I like the old one better” – my sentiments exactly. I exchanged a few pleasantries with Nancy and got back on my xB.

    As I accelerated onto the freeway ramp, I felt a sense of loss, because the new xB had been such a disappointment. But, more importantly, I felt at home and satisfied with my “underpowered” and “not as safe” ‘05 – and it’s almost paid off.

    The xB has gone from ‘immediately recognizable’ to ‘immediately forgettable’ – the earlier comments about Toyota becoming GM-ish are pretty accurate in this case.

    Finally, I disagree with the earlier comment about “10-year old Japanese cars looking” like – I forget the adjective, but not positive. I finally sold my second car last year, a 1992 Camry V6 XLE, leather, etc. That car looks better than many new cars today, IMO.

  • avatar

    I never had any real problems, other than some horrendous ’70s-models FoMoCo oil leakers that were otherwise good cars, with American cars.

    As a GM, Ford, and pre-Daimler Chrysler fan who’s had one disastrous fling with a Sentra and watched two relatives get nickel-and-dimed to death by the wretched and overrated late’80s Accord, I was prepared to hate my youngest son’s ’06 Scion xB, but instead found a Japanese vehicle that I actually could want to buy.

    The first-gen xB is the old Dodge Omni with fuel injection instead of the Holley-Weber carb and its “Is this a half-pump or one-pump morning and God help me unflood it if I’m wrong?” choke, more soundproofing and an MP3 jack into the audio system.It’s airy-feeling and fun to drive.

    The replacement looks like it should have gunports below the nasty slits for windows.And it’s so damn porky.

    If GM had porked-up and over-engined the Cobalt, or Ford the Focus, to this extent, the mainstream
    media would go on and on about how the American car manufacturers deserved to die because they were so out of tune with the realities of $4 gas.

    Yours is the only review I’ve seen that does not shove the “virtuous never-wrong Toyota” line down our throats.

  • avatar

    The article has a lot of truth in it. Toyota dropped the ball on the xB compared to the ideals of the 1st generation. But to be fair, what about the positives? I saw an ’08 xB on Sunday at a local dealership. It was black, and while the rear pillars are atrocious (sp?) and the hubcaps lack any creativity whatsoever, the rest of the car looks pretty cool. There is a fine line between ugly and different. I guess it’s a glass half full/half empty sort of thing. But the car I saw had the 4-spd auto with sport shift, LED turn-signal mirrors, privacy glass, front/side/curtain air-bags, ABS, EBD, VSA, TRAC, TPMS, with a lot of leg room in the back, all standard, for $17,021.00
    sticker price. What on Earth is wrong with that? Sure – leather, a moonroof, standard alloy wheels, and HID would be nice, but for $17K? Come on! Any $17K car is going to have its shortcomings compared to cars that are more expensive and refined. But, I think this car deserves a little more credit considering the features and price.

  • avatar

    I have owned Xb automatic for 4 years. With modest loads and terrain the 1.5 L engine is fine. I drive between Philadelphia and Maine frequently. Yes, it can do 80 MPH but so can the police (besides its foolish). The original only needed side air bags and cruise. A fifth gear would have been nice but the 2008 is a big disappointment.

  • avatar

    Wonderful review. Very well written. I can’t help but think that this is the ugliest car on the road today. It’s freaking ugly! The interior is just short of terrible and visibility is quite bad. Want an xB? Get a Fit.

  • avatar

    I just had to sign in post a reply here. It is very interesting to me that a review such as this can rile the masses… no offense, but it seems the review also overlooks many of the real improvements over the previous generation xB. No matter, the review is written and the 109 of you have responded and well, I might ad.

    I am still waiting for my new ’08 silver xB to make it to the dealer and I am quite stocked about it. I test drove the automatic… brought it by the house for my wife to see… and in general, I was very impressed with the car. I remeber seeing it in the driveway (the teal colored one) and thinking this is a very fresh flavor fo the late 50’s gangster cars. The gun-slit comments kinda support this look as well. The lines are clean, and yes, ‘fat’ is a good word for it. But also simple… clean… broad panels. I like its looks a lot better than the first generation, but that may be because I am not the tergeted demographic customer for this rig. But it is likely that I am part of the new demographic for this vehicle as it seems the over 40 crowd is now paying attention to this funny looling box car. We all use to laugh at the first generation when it forst showed up on TV.

    What I am comparing this rig to is the minivan. That is what I was after when looking at new vehicles. I have stuff to haul… and a ways to boot. I want comfort… not a whining engine complaining about doing 70mph for hours on end… not something that needs the tuner up at 105 decibels so you can hear your favorite tunes through the speakers… I need something that has the guts to pass a semi up into the mountains. I don’t need the passenger seats in back… I don’t need plushy pretty seat covers or even detailed door panels… don’t need any more buttons either (the stereo control on the steering wheel? come on!). I like simple… I like Zen… I like affordable… reliable… solid. It seems Toyota did that. Sorry that they ruined a nitch-cult Icon… but I’m glad they did or I would be driving a Dodge mini-van right now :)

  • avatar

    FUNNY, I am one of the foolish people who purchased the new xB. All cars are subject to change just as people's tastes change. Sure the old xB was a boxy ugly looking vehicle but obviously that was part of its appeal. Just not to me. I like the style change and that is what prompted me to purchase this car. I've driven the Matrix and I believe it has the same engine as the old xB what a dog. I've owned SUVs and anyone comparing this vehicle to an SUV doesn't have a clue. I've never owned a Japanese car and this is the first time for me so I'm counting on the reliability everyone has always touted. 

  • avatar

    After 28 years working on and selling automobiles I certainly understand the negativism about the 2008 scion xb but i for one enjoy this car. It rides great, plenty of room, fast, and I’m getting 27 around town and 33 on the road. This for 17 grand. I love it. This is a great car for the dollar.

  • avatar

    aesthetically, the new xb is embarrassing . i love the old xb and the new frumpy design risks discrediting scion’s image all together.
    i wonder how the new design will affect the resale value of the old xb?

  • avatar

    A lot of people seem to hate the change-over, but if you check out forums over the internet, these changes are excatly what a lot of Scion customers were asking for.

    It is pricier than the old xB, but I’m still amazed at the price/option ratio. Go customize most cars with this much interior space and engine size with an auto and a simple ABS package and you’re already hitting over 17K. It might not be perfect, it might not be for everyone, and it might not be the old xB, but personally, I still think it was a decent car (automatic, anyway. the stick-shift was horrible).

    “If an American company did ___, then” blah blah. It’s funny to read people say that Toyota isn’t getting bashed for doing something, and, in the process, bash them. The whole idea behind Scion was to build what the customer asked for, hence the obese, America-Only xB2.

    I myself don’t like it as much as the old xBs, but it is faster, larger, etc. etc., which is what people wanted. I also agree about the cult icon being gone, but honestly, how could any company replace an Icon with an equally-iconic car when the demands from customers are a big step away from the original?

  • avatar

    i traded in an `05 for the new car. its a huge improvement over gen 1. ill wager itll sell alot better too.

  • avatar

    It’s a huge improvement if you want more power, less agility, a more mainstream personality, poorer fuel economy, reduced situational awareness, better side crash protection, an improved feature set, and a bigger car that’s harder to get in and out of.

    To the extent that you don’t want those things, it’s no improvement at all.

    It’s a matter of opinion. Nobody’s right or wrong. (And yes, I’ve driven both.)

  • avatar

    Toyota is nothing if not marketing-savvy. Bigger-is-better seems to be in ascendance there, as befits the US’s biggest brand. But I think they are underestimating a segment of the American car buying public for whom small is beautiful. I loved the old 2004 and earlier Tacoma, a perfectly sized pickup for crowded freeways as well as the roads less taken. The new truck leaves me cold; it’s just too big. (I’ll leave comments about its er, design to another blog.) And now the XB. Around here (southern California) I see easily as many retirement-age seniors driving the first Scions as I do Gen X or Y ers. The same holds true for the Honda Element. I have no doubt that the new XB drives like a bigger car, because it is one. But it doesn’t seem as cool to me…

  • avatar

    I own an ’05 xB… and have checked out the ’08’s at my local dealer while getting the ’05 serviced. I totally agree with Paul’s (Niedermeyer) review. When sitting in the new xB, I find myself trying to find the likable changes. But really, they’re very few and far between… and the ones that I did like were directly canceled out by another change (i.e. bigger engine canceled out by too much additional body weight and increased dimensions).

    Some ideas posed here asked things like how could an ICON possibly be replaced by another car that would possibly achieve the same iconic status… and other statements made talking about how the redesign is not Scion going off on a tangent but rather their response to the input from the community of buyers and potential buyers. The new xB isn’t really deserving of the xB or xB2 moniker. If anything, its like a mini-FJ… like Buck Rogers, yeah, he’s the man and he drives the FJ Cruiser… and Twiggy, his little gray robot pal… yeah, he’s in that xB2 over there.

    Scion killed the xA, and they admit to that, and born in it’s place is the xD. They didn’t admit it, but they killed the xB, and came out with the mis-named xB2. It wasn’t an evolutionary change… it wasn’t really revolutionary either. They just reinterpreted the whole thing… and it came out way sucky.

    Biddy-biddy-biddy-what the Buck! ~ Twiggy

  • avatar

    I have read many reviews, some which are positive and some negative. I decided to buy one and I couldn’t be any happier with the car. It rides nice, its quiet, and the MPG is much better than the window sticker. I have had it for a month or two now and we have been getting 31 mpg with 75% highway driving. The pillar problem that was reported isn’t as bad as it was made out to be. I haven’t had any problems backing it into my garage and it is a tight fit. I wouldn’t have liked the old style because of the smaller engine so I am glad that they decided to put more HP into the 08′. As for interior space being different from the old to new, well I thought it was roomier than before. I don’t know how anyone could complain about all the space in the 08′. I am 6’2″ and I have 4+ above my head. The seats are made well enough to sit in and I don’t think more expensive or better made seats would matter at all. I have test driven many cars in the last 6 months and the xB has more standard features, beater seating space, storage space, style, and competitive MPG. My only complaint with the car is the gas/break petal spacing. I have larger feet and the petals are a little close.
    Hope this helps.

  • avatar

    Toyota has a tonne of aftermarket parts for the 2.4L that goes into the xBOX. One could probably get the same TRD supercharger or aftermarket parts thats are available to the tC coupe. Lots of low end torque to get the big xBOX off the line.

    Did a ride and drive on Sunday for one in Portland. Other than feeling like the oldest person there (and I am only 34) it feels a bit more solid, even though its lost some of its edge.

  • avatar

    Hey, we needed something for the people who wanted value in a car but were too chicken to drive the real xB.

    Now if only they hadn’t executed the original.

  • avatar

    Just a random observation: the restyled XB’s appearences remind me somehow of the head of the robot Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still!

    Both project the same sleek but cold, unfeeling personality.

  • avatar

    Are you folks high? Which one of you has bought an 08 xb? Well… I’m waiting! Well I have one fresh off the show floor and I am sure glad I ignored this blog, and paid attention to the pros. Paul Niedermeyer need just walk away and drive off in his Ford 500. I have owned 62 cars in my life and I will say this is in the top 5. The ride is great, it handles superb and there is enough power to pass. I also just hauled a 56 gal aquarium and stand home. Where did those 12 inches go Paul Niedermeyer? Well, much went to the cargo space. I agree some went to the engine compartment, so now you can change the plugs yourself. My father, 6′ 3″ and 250 sat in he back seat and could not believe the room! My sisters thought it cost 42K! You all can bi.. piss and moan about the changes but I guarantee this gives the Element, HHR and (dare I say) the PT a run for their money. If your in the market, don’t listen to these folks, who never drove one, and see for yourself. Here’s lookin’ at ya with my DVD head rest players, spoiler, upgraded wheels, fog lights, and upgraded stereo for under 21k!

  • avatar

    Once again, Elle, it’s not the xB itself. It’s indeed a fine car that competes well in the same class with many other cars in the US market, including Toyota’s own Matrix. It’s a well-made and well-designed small station wagon that provides good value, average economy, and a certain amount of style. Its size and power make it more attractive in the US market than the old xB was, for many buyers.

    The criticism of the car is not really aimed at the car itself, but rather at Toyota for the decision to replace an apple with an orange but insist on still calling it an apple.

    The original xB is a unique vehicle, an optimal city car, thrifty, nimble, immensely efficient. There is a need for such a car in the US market, and the xB’s success demonstrated that. Therefore, it was frustrating when, after three years, Toyota pulled that car off the US market (even though they still market an updated version of it in Asia) and replaced it with something that is less thrifty, less nimble, less efficient, and less optimized as a city car.

    I agree than an objective review of the new xB should look at it without constantly comparing it with the old one, particularly because they are two entirely different vehicles aimed at different buyers.

  • avatar

    I think the reviewer of the 2008 Scion xB is just looking for reasons to slam the vehicle. He’s a definate throw-back to “we like the old, not the new” way of thinking. I just purchased an ’08 xB and I LOVE it!!! I traded a crappy Buick Rendezvous in for it and what a coup for Toyota!!
    This xB has almost every luxury convenience that the Buick had. The instrument panel is VERY cool…MUCH better than the attached analog dials of the old. The rear cargo room is bigger by 8 cubic feet. This car is cool….sinister-looking….and FUN!! I probably would not buy an old xB…..and I looked at them quite extensively….didn’t like the lack of room…and it looked cheap….I LOVE the new one!!!

  • avatar

    Well, I just decide to read this review again as I was considering buying the old xB and wabted to see if the new one was worth a shot. It is funny how the people who are saying that they like it have traded in a Buick Rendezvous and other SUV/minivan type vehicles. It is a good wagon and shoulf make a good family car. However, that is not what the author is saying. I am 23 and hate driving SUVs. I much prefer sport compacts like the mini. The xB was the only ‘SUV’ I was considering because it could still handle like a small car, but had space enough to haul stuff (which I need as I move often). However, the new one can’t handle like that. So what is the point, I don’t want a cheaper CR-V or explorer. I want a cheaper, reliable mini with more space. I guess that I will be looking at the xD or going to Honda.

  • avatar


    I LOVE MY 2008 xB!!!

    Sorry to disagree, Paul.

    This is my first visit to your site.

    You ARE an excellent writer, and I DID enjoy your article, and you are RIGHT – the automatic transmission should be five speeds (overdrive), and in fairness, I never drove the earlier xB – although I fell in love with the xB the first time I saw one.

    I would encourage your readers to consider the issues you raise and then test drive the new xB before making a final decision.

    Is there anything good to say about the 2008 xB?


    New safety features – side air bags, anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control, tire pressure monitor, turn signal lights on side mirrors, intermittent front wipers, rear wiper and rear windshield sprayer.

    The instrument panel is a beautiful work of art, could not be located more conveniently, and doesn’t block your field of vision.

    The Pioneer AM/FM sound system with CD, iPod jack, and controls located on the steering wheel – is standard!

    Did you know that the 2008 xB automatic transmission has a built in paddle shift? Just click the shift stick to the left from Drive – now you can shift up and down through all the forward gears! Click back to Drive (automatic) whenever you want.

    I think the new xB is basically a sports car – cleverly disguised as a van with a huge amount of cargo space.

    I’m a 60 year old guy, 6’4″, 220 lbs, with painfully bad hips, and the ease of entry and exit, and the comfort of the seats are perfect – for me.

    … and the incredible service provided by my Toyota dealer – I could write a book. Service ALWAYS done right the FIRST TIME, EVERY TIME – for 12 years. (Yes, you DID read that right.)

    Since I bought my 2008 xB, I have yet to see another car anywhere that I would want to trade it for.

    The 2008 Scion xB is AWESOME – I LOVE mine!!!

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to comment.

  • avatar

    I loved the “old” Scion xB-and true to following both GM’s and Ford’s thinking Toyota(Scion) has chosen to make the xB both “better” and worse at the same time. While the toaster on wheels styling of the old xB never drew rave reviews for it’s presentation-the new and “improved” xB looks like a minivan that never got out of its last trimester. It’s squashed and modeled after who knows what-but hey, it’s improved so who’s gonna notice ? But now customers can add on even more accessories so that the price can easily top 25,000-26,000. When does change always equate to improvement ? And some posters are correct-I can now buy a low mileage 2006 xB and still be content with something truly different. It’s not a cookie cutter car-and that’s what made the Scion line great to begin with. Hey Toyota(Scion) you listening ? Sometimes you don’t have to mess with success to succeed…

  • avatar
    Maximum Overdrive

    This is the ONLY review I’ve read that is so negative about the new xB.

    Nothing Paul said really has any substance. All his gripes were merely directed at the differences between the old and new. As always, the fit, finish, and quality of Toyota shines through. A comparison to any of the big three is ludicrous. The big three rarely follow with a new design that is MUCH better than the original, like the new xB.

    The old xB was too radical for the masses. Marketing was targeted at kids and sales were modest. Most of the younger people I talked to disliked the old xB anyway.

    The new xB targets a much larger market share. Scion (Toyota) simply improved the flaws of the old xB as seen by a much larger market. The old xB had such an underpowered engine that it couldn’t even get out of its own way. If people still want that 30+mpg get a Yaris. It has the old 1.5L from the old xB and cannot get out of its own way either. Every other review I’ve read clearly mentions that the loss in mileage is a welcome sacrifice to that of the old engine and vehicle size.

    The new xB is much more refined. Ride comfort and quality are superior to that of any competitors. There are too many other things that are also much better to list.

    The new xB is simply a natural markedly improved follow up to the older model.

  • avatar

    I read this review when it first appeared. But that did not deter me from buying an 08 xB. unfortunately for Scion I fall outside their demographics. I am 30ish, married with a toddler. We bought the xB to be a family hauler. It is big somewhat easy on gas and cheeper then a Mazda5 with out the minivan look my wife hates.
    The new xB is not going to make young folks want to buy Scion like the old school xB, but it might attract us who need to haul a family on a budget. For this I feel bad for Scion, but the car is good at what it is, a boxy minivan/ crossover.

  • avatar

    I have owned this 2008 xb for almost 10 months. So, as this is quite a test drive, I feel ready to add my 16,000 dollars worth to these posts.

    I am 49 years old and do not fit the you know what for scion targeting. But I am impressed at the amount of satisfaction I have derived from ownership. It has been modded out with a few suspension upgrades and it handles far superior to stock. I avg. 28 MPG with mixed driving and as far as these figures and the mileage given to many new vehicles this is not too bad at all.

    Yes you can get better mileage from some other cars yet, for the features, space, power, and fun factor (yes, having driven both models, I feel my add ons have made this as much fun to drive.

    Don’t hold back! Get one now. I feel in the future there will be several engine choices as JDM is now making a look alike corolla with a 1.8 engine. Most people will love this car if not looking to it as ruined rather what it is another generation.

  • avatar

    This is the ONLY review I’ve read that is so negative about the new xB.

    Yeah, well, you read it right in the title: “The TRUTH about cars.”

    The old xB was too radical for the masses. Marketing was targeted at kids and sales were modest. Most of the younger people I talked to disliked the old xB anyway.

    “Modest,” huh? Gen 2 xB’s, during their entire sales life, have yet to come CLOSE to Gen 1 sales peaks…by some twenty percent, despite a 5-20% increase in inventory. The old ones sold like hotcakes, the new ones sell like crap, because it’s sharing sales with the Matrix and the RAV-4.

    Maybe you’re talking to the wrong young people.

    I’m glad all you Boomers with your labrador retrievers and your retirement plans and your 2.4 children are enjoying your mini-CUV, but I’m still mourning the Death of Cool.

  • avatar

    Were people happy with the 1.5? True this is not the fastest car ever built and for no reason should you have purchased one for speed I would gladly drive my 06 XB over the 08 model any day. Now to be fair I have dropped quite a bit of extra cash into my XB, leather seats, cruise control, the $60 center armrest, which I still don’t think should have been optional, the TRD 18’s with the parelli tires, lowering springs, TRD aftermarket suspension, TRD cold air intake and a magnaflow catback exhaust. That being said I would gladly race any new XB, fast? no but tons of fun to drive. My biggest gripe about the new XB is that it looks like every other car on the road which is why I instantly fell for the older boxy model. Now to find out the 08 gets 10 less MPG (I estimate with my add ons I’m getting anywhere between 32 to 36 MGP) and weighs 650 more pounds makes me think that anyone looking to buy the new XB should first consider looking into a used 06 model first. Plus I feel like I’m driving a Bentley for all the attention I get in it. I can’t stop anywhere without getting asked questions by curious people, mostly positive, to anyone that tells me they hate it I just tell them that they missed the demographic by about 40years.

  • avatar

    Well, I hear what he is saying and his view is valid from where he is standing. I disagree. I work in Used Car Sales at a big lot (over 600 cars/trucks). The original xB is a hard sell. My mom has one and loves it. It fits in the garage easily, the grandparents get in and out easily and she goes a month on a tank of gas (used to drive a Freestar Minivan and before that a Crown Vic). My brother was buying an xA and she fell in love with the xB. The night her red xB was finally in from the Port, we all went out to dinner. That was the last time the whole family (4 adults) have gone anywhere in it. We call it Hamster powered. It is great around town, but pretty weak on the highways. Usually there are only 2 people in it. It is likely that this is the last car my mom will ever own. She is in her 50s and Toyota quality is soo good and sh drives so little, it will last a long time.

    It is funny the reviewer compared the original xB to the Beetle. It feels just as thin and deadly. I doubt my mom would survive being T-boned. Yes the original has TONS of headroom, but how much of the population needs it? My cousin has an original xB and he, his wife and his boys are all over 6′. They need it. I am 5’10” and I could still drive the new one with a Cowboy hat on.

    I am looking at a Release Series 5 xB at my local dealership. 5mos of it sitting on their lot, I might be able to get a deal. I would never consider the original. When I look at a car I think about road trips. The Hamster 1.5l would struggle through the baby mountains in the Northeast US fully loaded and doing 70-80mph on the highways. And pass with the 1.5l? Maybe a cement truck going up hill. I am VERY uncomfortable with running an engine to 4000+ RPMs on a regular basis.

    It is a Release Series 5 or nothing for me. I WILL NOT own a modern vehicle without a sunroof. The Gold Rush Mica is the only interesting color for 2008 (IMHO). Every other color is drab and depressing. Even the silver is blech and I love silver.

    Hearing the comments about the Automatic, I will think hard about NOT going with a 5spd. I have a Highlander 2WD now with the 3.3l V6 and 5spd Auto. It is a wonderful but boring vehicle.

    Some like the old, some like the new, some like neither. Toyota and Honda have learned, gentle tweaks ARE NOT a new model. Honda tried that with the Accord and lost a lot of sales. Toyota did that with the Camry way back and lost sales. New models need to be BOLD and Different. They are not designing the new models for the people who bought the old model. Those people are not looking to trade (for the most part they are 5-10 years away from a new vehicle). No, the new model has to attract the people who bought a car 5-10 years ago and are coming onto the market. Those people don’t want something that looks 5 years old. They want something edgy and fresh. The new xB is radically different from the old. The new xD is radically different from the xA. The new Camry is radically different from the old Camry. The new Highlander is radically different from the old. The Yaris is radically different from the Echo. The new Accord is radically different from the old Accord. The new Civic is radically different from the old Civic. The new Cr-V is radically different from the old CR-V. and so on and so on and so on.

    The new xB is attracting buyers who didn’t really like the old. People who like the original xB…BOUGHT ONE! Now they are listening to what kept people from buying the original xB and making the new one fit their needs to attract new customers. That is NOT the way GM and Ford work. That is why Toyota is the largest auto manufacturer in the world.

    My only fault with the new xB is that I think 1 back-up light is STUPID.

    my 2 cents.


  • avatar

    700 weight increase. GM 1980’s dash and 1970’s Vega seat materials. Even uglier styling. Lower gas mileage and a higher base price.

    Maybe they should come up with a new slogan:

    “Toyota- moving backwards”

  • avatar

    I just bought the xB 2009…traded in my 2005 Beetle Convertible GLS Turbo Beige w/Black Top…super hip with my German tags on front – my dream car when I bought it, but it quickly turned into my nightmare car. Way too many quality issues…11 check engine lights in 22 months, broken weld in driver’s seat (I don’t weigh much either), and many other issues. So, now with the warranty out, I was forced to find something reliable but still wanted hip and fun. (The mini was out…it would have the same issues as the Bug – price and reliability, so I started looking for something more practical.)

    My criteria? Reliability, price and room. I have a small PA I carry around sometimes, and yes, I could cram it all into the bug if I popped the top, rolled down the windows, and padded the dash with blankets. But that wasn’t very kind to the leather seats or my husband’s back, so I wanted something with room, but not an SUV!

    I first test drove a Honda Fit, which was really cool space wise, but it felt like I needed to get out and push it when I was trying to merge with traffic. After driving the Bug I just couldn’t live with no zip…especially if the vehicle is loaded with equipment…doesn’t matter how many mpg you get if your car can’t get up and go.

    Which led me to the Scion. Yes, I fell in love with the original xB the first time I saw it, but at the time I wasn’t in the market for a vehicle. Yes, I was hoping to find that original really square and quirky design when I went looking. I too was disappointed with the outside of the gen2 xB. But I went for a test drive. Then came back for a 2nd test drive. Then I bought it. Why?

    Because it rocks! It’s got the power I need, most of the features I would want come standard (it was crap having to pay extra for the floor mats though – they should’ve been included), it has room for me, my husband, my PA equipment, AND another passenger. It seems to be getting about the same gas milage or better as my Bug.

    I put my German tags on the front, and all I’m missing is the sunflower and the compliments I used to get in my Bug…small price to pay for all the features I got – especially at the price I got them!

  • avatar

    BTW, I forgot to tell JuniorMint that I’m not a boomer, don’t have a lab (we have an adorable Yorkie), don’t have children…and if we really want to add creativity to our vehicles we can always do a really funky paint job. How about Jack Skellington peering out from around a door? Bet you’d feel cool and odd in a “Nightmare Before Christmas” paint job!


  • avatar

    Americans sure complain about change, without seeing that the change is for the best. Why expect Toyota to remain making the same exact shape and car as they have for over 5 years. When I lived in Japan, I saw the xB (Toyota bB) scooting around in Japan, I loved the care. Always wanted one while there (but cheaper to take the train). And then I come back to the states to see it is available here! Toyota has tried their best to accommodate us big, fat, complaining Americans, but to no avail. Since the box style is popular in Japan, and has been for over 10 years, it was TIME to scale down the model to get with the times. Its 2009, not 2004. The Scion xB is a cross between the Box still and the Toyota bB. I think they have done their best to keep Americans up to date with technology and the times by making the new style. Its a great car! Sure I love the 2005 box style, but it looks crazy old to me since I’ve actually lived in Japan and gotten used to it. Since it sells there, ad the Scion is doing good here, of course they conceivably would market this style to Americans, which is why the “weight gain” happened. Don’t be so hard on the new xB!

  • avatar

    I am saddened by this review. We Americans sure complain about change, without seeing that the change is for the best. Why expect Toyota to remain making the same exact shape and car as they have for over 5 years? When I lived in Japan, I saw the xB (Toyota bB) scooting around in Japan, I loved the car. Always wanted one while there (but cheaper to take the train). And then I come back to the states to see it is available here! Toyota has tried their best to accommodate us big, fat, complaining Americans, but to no avail. Since the box style is popular in Japan, and has been for over 10 years, it was TIME to scale down the model to get with the times. Its 2009, not 2004. The Scion xB is a cross between the Box style and the Toyota bB. I think they have done their best to keep Americans up to date with technology and the times by making the new style. Its a great car! Sure I love the 2005 box style, but it looks crazy old to me since I’ve actually lived in Japan and gotten used to it. Since it sells there, as well as the Scion doing good here, conceivably Toyota would market this style to Americans, which is why the “weight gain” happened. Don’t be so hard on the new xB!

  • avatar

    I love rereading this review. It says everything I thought about the car when I test drove one two years ago with my sister (who wisely bought a Fit).

    As to those who bashed the negative review, time has given Niedermeyer the last laugh, as Scion’s sales have fallen off a cliff.

    Put this turd out of its misery.

  • avatar

    I just bought the Scion XB 2010 and love it. I originally was going to buy a Toyota Corolla 2010 but the driver seat did not offer enough leg space and when I tried the Scion XB I felt a lot more comfortable. I can’t compare it to past Scion XB but I love the 2010. I find it a responsive and fun drive. I feel it has a solid grip on the road. On the Con side I could mention the blind spots and gas mileage.

  • avatar

    Nice review. Reading the posts on here kinda discourage me, not discourage but can’t think of the right word to use right now since its early and brain isn’t functioning fully yet.

    I’ve had a 2005 Ford Taurus for the last 5 years. It got rear ended and totaled. Insurance paid off what i owed and gave me money to put down on a new car. I was originally going to go for a truck but with the amount of driving my wife and I do we would have been paying way to much in gas since it would be a primary car.

    Enough of the gibber gabber.. I had pulled up a few cars to check out in the area. First one was a 2009 Scion xB Sport. 25,000 miles on it, super clean and a certified pre-owned car. When at the dealership I took it for a spin and immediately fell in love with it. Needless to say I bought it. I have never drove the 1st Gen xB’s with the 1.5’s in them but I have to say I love this little car/truck/mini or whatever you want to call it. I think they class it as a mini van… I’ve had it now for 3 days and its a blast. I love driving it! I hope anyone reading these posts on here dont get discouraged and not purchase one because of them because they are fun. I’m a 290lb guy and I’m comfortable in it. Tomorrow we are planning to take a 500 mile journey and I have no doubts I will be comfortable driving the entire time.

    I’m not sure what the differences are between the Sport and the non Sport but I’m loving my Sport and have tons of plans for it upgrading and adding to it.

  • avatar

    I have read the review and agree with the writer although I have never driven any other Xb other than my ’06 which I recently bought. It appears that many that have replied on here have missed the writers point which is that the Xb’s after ’06 are just not the same vehicle no matter which way you slice it. Not saying the ’07’s and newer aren’t good vehicles, they appear to be distant cousins of the first generation of Xb’s, and Toyota has lost a following.

    I parked next to a newer Xb just yesterday and got out and the size difference was impressive. The newer Xb looked so much like so many other vehicles, I had to look at the emblem to be sure what it was. Nice enough vehicle, but nothing special stood out and it would get lost in a parking lot of other similar looking vehicles.

    My Xb is a recent purchase trading in a KIA Sedona and we’re really liking this little machine. Biggest thing is yesterday I checked gas mileage and is was 36.2, over twice what we were getting with the KIA!. Things I don’t like, no cruise, a little rough riding, inadequate cup holders, inadequate interior lighting and arm rest too low. Other than that, I’m happy, wife likes it and it’s fun to drive. Even with the small engine, I haven’t ever felt under-powered, but then I’m not a Barney Oldfield either. You youngsters will just have to look up “Barney Oldfield”.

  • avatar
    C P

    I know this is an old review, but I never drove the 1st gen, so I don’t know what all the fuss was about. When they said they were cancelling the xB, I ran out and picked up a low miled 2011 RS 8.0. I love it; and it’s made in Japan for the person who said it’s US made. People comment all the time about the color.

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