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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
Four stars, front impact protection and rollover resistance; five stars, side impact protection
Good," frontal offset and side impacts; "good," rear crash protection
One downside to the new design is reduced visibility
Except for frontal-impact crash protection, the 2009 Scion xB earns high marks in government impact and rollover resistance tests.
In government and independent crash tests, the xB Scion performs remarkably well for a compact car, scoring either the highest or second-highest ratings in all major crash-test categories. NHTSA gives the 2009 Scion xB four out of five stars for front impact occupant protection, and a perfect five stars for side impacts. The IIHS also awards the 2009 Scion xB its highest score of "good" for frontal offset, side, and rear collisions.
Toyota has decided that Scion should offer great safety value for the money, and the xB is a shining example. Edmunds approves of the xB Scion's "impressive array of standard safety features including antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags." ForbesAutos feels "braking is secure" thanks, in part, to "electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist functions." However, in some regards, they may have gone a little overboard on the 2009 Scion xB. In reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, many reviewers feel that the stability control system on the Scion xB is too eager to intervene, with Automobile Magazine warning 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. The 2008 Scion xB (essentially the same as the 2009 model) was awarded as a "Top Ten Safe Vehicle for Less Than $25,000" by Car and Driver.
Visibility in the 2009 xB gets fair marks in various reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Kelley Blue Book notes that the wide "pillars at the back end of the car create a bit of a blind spot that some drivers may not like," with ConsumerGuide saying that the "pillars complicate rear visibility." On the other hand, Edmunds is confident daily commuters will find the xB Scion offers "good visibility...for everyday driving." AutoWeek reports that the "much wider rear pillar...didn't bother us at all" and praises "the visibility through all that glass."
The 2009 Scion xB includes many high-end standard safety features and good occupant protection, and considering its price, it puts many higher-cost vehicles to shame.