Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
driving dynamics don't match the car's fun, quirky looks
the engine is a typical Toyota torque monster so the "stick or automatic?" decision is strictly personal preference
The Auto Channel
a solid performer with good handling and confident acceleration
The automatic is sometimes slow to downshift for more power.
The 2013 Scion xB performs adequately, but it lacks any of the verve that younger, urban types may wish for in a vehicle.
What powers the 2013 Scion xB is well-proven—the 158-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that's been used in a number of other Toyota vehicles, including the Camry. Here, despite all its torque, it manages to feel a little sluggish in the xB, which tips the scales at the upper end for this kind of vehicle.
Of the two available gearboxes, we prefer the five-speed manual for its nicely weighted shift lever and progressive clutch uptake. The four-speed automatic feels fine in urban driving, but the big gaps between gear ratios makes highway driving less satisfying and more noisy.We tend to think of the xB as having two different personalities, depending on the speed. At lower city speeds, the xB's relatively short wheelbase and responsive electric power steering are assets, and the XB feels quite confident. But with this front strut, rear torsion-beam suspension tuned quite soft, it can feel clumsier in faster maneuvers; it's safe and forgiving, but not at all exciting. Add in the strong disc brakes, and you have a vehicle that, overall, responds confidently but without excitement.
[It's important to keep in mind that depending on which of the long list of dealer-installed accessories you choose, ride and handling of the xB can vary considerably.]
The xB isn't all that quick or nimble, but it's adequate in every way.