- Funky attitude
- Cargo capacity
- Smooth powertrain
- More interior room
- Fuel economy dips
- Seats can be uncomfortable
- Some iffy materials and trim
The 2008 Scion xB takes a new tack: it's bigger and more refined, but lags in fuel economy and fun.
The 2008 Scion xB is the second generation of the popular four-door hatchback sold by Toyota's youth-oriented brand. It's larger and more "sinister" in styling than before, Toyota says.
Most reviewers, including those at TheCarConnection.com, feel the 2008 Scion xB has strayed from its roots as a Japanese domestic-market runabout. Moving up in size, the xB now is roughly the same dimensions as the Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Chevrolet HHR. It's picked up nearly a foot in length, a few hundred pounds in girth, a couple grand in sticker price, and 55 more horsepower. The Scion xB looks thicker, and it's grown into something that's not so different from domestic retro-wagons. Inside, the xB has center-mounted gauges that are illogically placed, but there are plenty of interior bins and storage areas, and the dash design itself is squared-off and thick, just like the exterior shell.
The boost in size endows the 2008 Scion xB with more storage room. The front passenger seat folds back flat; in the second row, there's now enough room for adults. Storage room under the second-row seats is useful, but the chairs themselves, front and back, get uncomfortable after an hour. The seatbacks are merely fabric stretched over a frame. The cost-cutting is a little too obvious here.
The 2008 Scion xB is outfitted with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It's worth an extra 55 horsepower, now at 158 hp total, over the former four-cylinder. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed sequential automatic. The combination of good shift quality, the smooth revving of the big four, and good clutch uptake make the powertrain a big improvement on the last version. However, fuel economy has plunged from 30/33 mpg to 22/28 mpg.
Sixteen-inch wheels and a lower ride height have created better ride comfort. In terms of handling, though, the Scion xB's front struts and a torsion-beam rear, with electric power steering, keep the xB decently responsive, if a little pitchy. Dramatic moves make the Scion xB bobble it on its corners a bit. It's forgiving but no longer exciting, and electric power steering is artificial in feel.
Anti-lock brakes, side and curtain airbags, and stability control are standard equipment. The 2008 Scion xB gets a "good" rating for front-impact protection from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.