2010 Scion xB Review

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
2018
The Car Connection
See the nominees and vote »
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor
November 29, 2009

The 2010 Scion xB has a lot of space, polarizing looks, and lots of safety features. It provides good value for those on a budget, trendy or not.

Experts from TheCarConnection.com drove the Scion xB to write this firsthand road test summary. TCC has also compared the 2010 Scion xB with other small people movers to give you alternatives as you shop for your next vehicles. For the companion full review, TheCarConnection.com studied a wide range of expert-written reviews from other sources to bring you a comprehensive look at the Scion xB. High Gear Media drove a manufacturer-provided Scion xB to produce this hands-on road test.

The 2010 Scion xB is in the third year of its love-it-or-hate-it redesign, introduced as a 2008 model to replace its tiny predecessor. Compared to that iconic vehicle, the 2010 xB is bigger, rounder, and friendlier to passengers. But all those qualities make it less striking, less special, and far less a trendsetter than it was.

Enlarged to about the same size as a Chrysler PT Cruiser or a Chevrolet HHR, the 2010 Scion xB has grown longer, heavier, and more expensive. The slab-sided shape looks thicker through the waist, and it's surprisingly close in function to the domestic retro-wagons. Inside, it retains the illogical center placement for its gauges, but the dash design itself is now squared-off and thick, just like the car itself.

The 2010 Scion xB is outfitted with a 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine similar to the one in the mid-size Toyota Camry sedan. Unfortunately, the xB is hardly a tire squealer, unless you accidentally take an off-ramp too quickly. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed sequential automatic. The combination of good shift quality, the smooth-revving big four, and good clutch uptake make the powertrain pleasant to drive. However, fuel economy is far from impressive, at 22/28 mpg. And its weight and softer springs leave the handling of the new xB less much less rewarding than its predecessor. The Scion xB's front struts and a torsion-beam rear, with electric power steering, keep it decently responsive, if a little pitchy. Dramatic moves make the xB bobble in corners a bit. It's forgiving, but it's no longer exciting, and the electric power steering has an artificial feel. Ride comfort is good, due to 16-inch wheels and a lower ride height. But if Toyota is trying to target younger customers, the 2010 Scion xB feels like a misfire that could rake in their grandparents instead.

Review continues below

The 2010 Scion xB's larger dimensions translate to more interior room. The seats themselves, both front and back, grow uncomfortable for most occupants after an hour or so. Seatbacks are only fabric stretched over a frame, which gives the impression that cost cutting went a little too far. Sadly, this is not a vehicle for comfortable long-distance cruising. It is, however, capacious and adaptable. The front passenger seat folds back flat; the second row now offers enough room for real live adult human beings. Foot space under the front seats for second-row passengers is good, and they sit high for easy entry and exit. Storage room under the second-row seats is useful too. Passengers will find plenty of interior bins and storage areas if the buyer opts for the $279 overhead console.

The 2010 Scion xB gets a "good" rating for front-impact protection from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and four and five stars for front and side impact protection, respectively, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2010 xB comes with a long list of standard safety features, including anti-lock brakes, side and curtain airbags, and stability control, setting a high standard in its price class.

The 2010 Scion xB sports an impressive and vast array of standard equipment. The all-important sound system is a 160-watt, six-speaker Pioneer AM/FM/CD model with MP3 and satellite-radio compatibility. For 2010, the xB adds an organic electroluminescent display and a USB port, as well as the standard Aux port. The optional Alpine Premium Sound System adds a 4.3-inch touch-panel display and HD radio, and it provides for up to three amplifiers: subwoofer, rear, and front. Buyers who want to personalize their 2010 xB can order from more than 40 dealer-installed upgrades and accessories, plus literally hundreds of parts from third parties. Many of the dealer customization options for the 2010 Scion xB are purely cosmetic, but they include a handful of performance accessories from Toyota Racing Division.

7

2010 Scion xB

Styling

It remains as divisive as it was in 2002, but the slightly rounder styling of the 2010 Scion xB keeps it distinctive too.

After its 2008 redesign, the Scion xB is unchanged for 2010 except for one new color choice. Enlarged to about the same size as a Chrysler PT Cruiser or a Chevrolet HHR, the 2010 Scion xB is longer, heavier, and more expensive than the car that brought the xB to the United States. The slab-sided shape looks thicker through the waist, and it's surprisingly close in function to the domestic retro-wagons. Inside, it retains the illogical center placement for its gauges, but the dash design itself is now squared-off and thick, just like the car itself.

Edmunds notes that the 2010 Scion xB is "exactly one foot longer than the last box, 3 inches wider and actually 2 inches shorter in height," saying that these dimensions make the car appear "more substantial, less toy-like." As for styling, Cars.com calls the xB "as distinctive as its predecessor," although "the edges have been rounded a bit here and there." Whether or not that's progress is up to you. Kelley Blue Book concurs, saying that unlike the crisp lines on the first xB Scion, the 2010 model is "noticeably rounder...than its predecessor." Edmunds thinks this is a good thing: "While not quite as right-angled as the first xB, the current model is larger in useful ways while retaining the upright angles that made its predecessor so distinctive." Other reviewers think it's not so good, with Car and Driver derisively calling the Scion xB "a junior minivan" and concluding that it has "lost a little of its off-beat charm". Finally, Kelley Blue Book notes, "Standard 16-inch wheels-an inch larger than those on the previous model-do a good job of filling the wheelwells in style."

The "funky styling" of the dashboard design in the 2010 Scion xB leads Edmunds to say it "holds a few disappointments." Autoblog feels that "instruments (especially primary ones like the speedometer and tach) belong in front of the driver" rather than in the center of the dashboard. ConsumerGuide too grumbles that the Scion xB's "digital speedometer" is "mounted high in the middle of the dashboard, out of the driver's direct line of sight," which quickly proves "an annoyance to some testers." Gauge placement aside, the interior of the 2010 xB Scion gets high marks for styling. ConsumerGuide compliments the "high-mounted audio and climate controls," which it says are "simple to operate and easy to reach." Many custom accessories, including LED interior lights "with matching cup-holder illumination" and sport pedals are available, as Kelley Blue Book notes.

7

2010 Scion xB

Performance

The 2010 Scion xB may disappoint you if you're looking for zippy handling or sky-high gas mileage.

The 2010 Scion xB is outfitted with a 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine similar to the one in the midsize Toyota Camry sedan. Unfortunately, the xB is hardly a tire squealer, unless you accidentally take an off-ramp too quickly. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed sequential automatic. The combination of good shift quality, the smooth-revving big four, and solid clutch uptake make the powertrain pleasant to drive. However, fuel economy is far from impressive, at 22/28 mpg. And its weight and softer springs leave the handling of the new xB much less rewarding than its predecessor. The Scion xB's front struts and a torsion-beam rear, with electric power steering, keep it decently responsive, if a little pitchy. Dramatic moves make the xB bobble in corners a bit. It's forgiving, but it's no longer exciting, and the electric power steering feels artificial. Ride comfort is good, due to 16-inch wheels and a lower ride height.

Kelley Blue Book says the engine in the 2010 Scion xB gives it "extra power on hills and freeways." Edmunds agrees, noting "there is now plenty of low-end power-something the previous xB didn't have." Car and Driver concurs, commenting "none of the little boxes [they've] tested recently is such an animal at the strip." ConsumerGuide calls the acceleration "good from a stop, even with the automatic transmission." Edmunds, in fact, said its "automatic-equipped xB hustled from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds." But both transmission options in the 2010 Scion xB receive generally negative reviews, with Automobile Magazine contending that "rowing through the five-speed gearbox is like churning butter" with the gear lever. The "neat sequential-shift, four-speed automatic," as Popular Mechanics terms it, is "sometimes slow to downshift," according to ConsumerGuide.

"Low-speed maneuvers feel quick and confident," continues Edmunds, but "with a relatively high center of gravity, the xB rolls significantly during cornering." In day-to-day driving, Kelley Blue Book calls the Scion xB "most at home on urban roads," while "the xB seems a little sluggish" on "rural roads."

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that the 2010 Scion xB handles with "moderate body lean in fast turns," says ConsumerGuide, which remarks its "tight turning radius and light steering feel aid low-speed maneuverability." Car and Driver gripes that the magazine "never fell in love" with the xB's "sitting-on-a-tipsy-bar-stool feeling" experienced on "twisty roads." Popular Mechanics agrees, pointing out that "the new xB rides smoothly and quietly" around town, but "certainly doesn't have the taut suspension and sporty soul of, say, a Honda Fit." The disc brakes on all four wheels, Kelley Blue Book reports, stop the vehicle "quickly."

"Shoppers expecting high fuel economy will likely be disappointed," says Edmunds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2010 Scion xB at 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway with either transmission.

7

2010 Scion xB

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Scion xB scores high on utility and cargo space, but not so well on comfort, which is only average.

The 2010 Scion xB's larger dimensions translate to more interior room. The seats themselves, both front and back, grow uncomfortable for most occupants after an hour or so. Seatbacks are only fabric stretched over a frame, which gives the impression that cost cutting went a little too far-a jarring exception to legendary Toyota quality. Sadly, this is not a vehicle for comfortable long-distance cruising. It is, however, capacious and adaptable. The front passenger seat folds back flat, and the second row now offers enough room for real live adult human beings. Foot space under the front seats for second-row passengers is good, and they sit high for easy entry and exit. Storage room under the second-row seats is useful too. Passengers will find plenty of interior bins and storage areas if the buyer opts for the $279 overhead console.

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are mixed about the interior comfort of the 2010 Scion xB. Cars.com finds "the front of the cabin" to be "airy" with "plenty of headroom for tall passengers." Front-seat occupants will find "comfortable and supportive" seats with "ample" headroom, according to ConsumerGuide, though "taller folks may want more legroom." Autoblog notes that headroom on the xB Scion drops a remarkable "four and a half inches in back," though Cars.com says the rear seats feature "lots of legroom and a nicely angled backrest." MyRide.com is especially critical of the driver's seat armrest: "It's too narrow to be comfortable, but it doesn't fold completely out of the way either, annoying some drivers in either position." As for cargo room, ConsumerGuide acknowledges the "several bins and trays" that "supply handy interior storage," and cites the "handy under-floor bin." Road & Track calls the xB "a lesson in interior space efficiency," and Edmunds expects the 2010 Scion xB will "impress you with its utility."

Motor Trend reports that the "Toyota engineers used tight panel fits and strategically placed sound-deadening material to quell wind noise and road vibration." Still, as MyRide.com attests, "There's noticeable engine noise when you gun it, and it's not particularly refined, either." Overall, Edmunds calls the xB "user-friendly and comfortable." Other reviews of build and materials quality vary. Car and Driver laments the "knee-banging shifter cabinet," lack of drawers, and map pockets. Edmunds warns, "Ergonomics leave something to be desired, and many of the interior plastics seem a bit low-budget even for this class of car." But ConsumerGuide disagrees, saying "the materials are still pleasant for the price" despite the fact that "the interior lacks soft touch surfaces."

ConsumerGuide says road noise is "generally well controlled, though larger bumps pound through loudly." According to Car and Driver, noise is "well-damped." ConsumerGuide considers the engine "largely unobjectionable" in terms of the noise it generates. To interrupt the tunes blasting from the speakers will take some serious tire squeal and body roll on twisty roads at higher speeds.

9

2010 Scion xB

Safety

The 2010 Scion xB includes a great deal of standard safety equipment and protects occupants well, but check the visibility yourself.

The 2010 xB comes with a long list of standard safety features, including anti-lock brakes, side and curtain airbags, and stability control, setting a high standard in its price class. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards the 2010 Scion xB its highest score of "good" for frontal offset, side, and rear collisions. It also gets four and five stars for front and side impact protection, respectively, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Edmunds has good words for the "impressive array of standard safety features, including antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags" that come standard on the 2010 Scion xB. Kelley Blue Book informs us that tire pressure monitoring is standard, too. But some reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that the stability control system on the Scion xB is too eager to intervene. Automobile Magazine warns that "if extreme yaw angles are detected, the system will rain on your parade even after you've switched it off." The system re-engages once vehicle speed reaches 35 mph. Nonetheless, Car and Driver deems the 2008 Scion xB (almost entirely similar to the 2010 model) a "Top Ten Safe Vehicle for Less Than $25,000."

Reviewers are split on the visibility from inside the 2010 xB. Kelley Blue Book notes that the wide pillars at the back of the car "create a bit of a blind spot that some drivers may not like," with ConsumerGuide confirming that the "pillars complicate rear visibility." On the other hand, Edmunds thinks daily commuters will find the xB Scion offers "good visibility...for everyday driving." AutoWeek praises "the visibility through all that glass" and the "much wider rear pillar...didn't bother us at all."

8

2010 Scion xB

Features

With the 2010 Scion xB, buyers get a lot to start with, but they can add far more features to make it truly their own.

The 2010 Scion xB really scores with its impressive and vast array of standard equipment for its no-haggle price. The all-important sound system is a 160-watt, six-speaker Pioneer AM/FM/CD model with MP3 and satellite-radio compatibility. For 2010, the xB adds an organic electroluminescent display and a USB port, as well as the standard Aux port. The optional Alpine Premium Sound System adds a 4.3-inch touch-panel display and HD radio, and it provides for up to three amplifiers: subwoofer, rear, and front. And buyers who want to personalize their 2010 xB can order from more than 40 dealer-installed upgrades and accessories, plus literally hundreds of parts from third parties. Many of the dealer customization options for the 2010 Scion xB are purely cosmetic, but they include a handful of performance accessories from Toyota Racing Division.

One of the 2010 Scion xB's most prominent features is the sound system, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com invariably praise its audio quality. Automobile Magazine declares that "the stereo is ready to blast the contents of your iPod, and the premium audio system's auxiliary inputs make it easier to add more equipment." Kelley Blue Book details the audio system's "Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) Screen. This screen, built into the audio faceplate on the dash, allows you to display personal 'skins' to customize the interior of the car. Skins can be created and downloaded on a special site produced by Pioneer just for Scion owners." Edmunds notes that the xB Scion's other "standard features include 16-inch steel wheels...air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories [and] a tilt steering wheel." Kelley Blue Book mentions that the steel wheels are offered with a choice of "three different wheel covers."

Road & Track cites "a huge reason for the success" of the Scion brand is its "unique approach to factory vehicle customization," apparent from the lengthy list of available options on the Scion xB. According to Kelley Blue Book, Scion's approach "encourages customization and makes the car-buying process more personal." Car and Driver lists some of the optional features on the 2010 xB, including "$299 LED interior mood lights, $1599 DVD headrest televisions, and a $2250 navigation system." For those who want a more "upscale" feeling inside, an interior trim upgrade kit is also available, according to Kelley Blue Book. But unlike other Scion models, 2010 xB buyers can't add the supercharger from Toyota Racing Development.

Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
4 star
100%
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
May 27, 2016
2010 Scion xB 5-Door Wagon Automatic (Natl)

reliabilty

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Very reliable i,ve got over 200,000 miles on mine.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
USED PRICE RANGE
$5,750 - $11,998
Browse Used Listings
in your area
7.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 7.0
Safety 9.0
Features 8.0
Fuel Economy N/A
Compare the 2010 Scion xB against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Scion xB?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used