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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.
- Roomy backseat
- Standard safety features
- Cargo capability
- Sequential shifting automatic transmission
- Impractical central instruments
- Not-very-good gas mileage
- Driver's seat ergonomics
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.