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Scion xB Test Drive - What Did You Think?

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
edited March 20 in Scion
Car shopping? Take a Scion xB for a test drive? Post your review here.

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  • stragerstrager Posts: 308
    Having driven one, I was also really impressed by the limousine-like room in the xB, even though the xB is about 20" shorter than the Civic. However since I would plan to keep the xB/xA for 5-7 years, I was disappointed that neither side airbags or side curtain airbags are available as an option like in the xA.

    A few other things that would be nice to have: an armrest accessory (not one of those useless console/armrests which are usually too low), a height adjustable driver's seat, and an outside temperature gauge.

    For me it's going to be a tough decision between the xA and xB.
  • davejaydavejay Posts: 18
    I can't speak for the target audience, since I'm a 32-year-old married guy, but I do listen to techno. ;)

    I drove it last night; it looks much better in person than in the pictures, it has an amazing amount of room inside for such a small car, it handles like a tall go-kart, and the acceleration is decent (the first-second shift is w-i-d-e, but second through fourth are really close together, which keeps the engine in the power band).

    I have a Sentra now (for economical commuting) and I was going to pick up a cheap used pickup truck for light hauling (furniture from IKEA, props for my wife's plays, gutters and molding, that sort of thing) -- but the xB can haul that sort of thing, gets better gas mileage than my Sentra, and is a lot more fun to drive.

    So I'm sold. Anyone in the Southern California area want to buy a 2001 Sentra GXE 5-speed with 28,000 miles?
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    On my test drive I found that the xB has no problem keeping up with traffic, passing, and getting to highway speeds, at least with a manual transmission. I don't know how an automatic would do. I'd like to drive one with a factory cold air intake.
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    People say that xB has unconventional, questionnable, controversial styling. Wrong. xB has no more styling than a shoe box or a doghouse. Face it, it is a moving box. And while there are some nice and cute boxes, like Nissan Cube, xB is just a parallelepiped with square panels, square windows and square headlights. It is just other cars that try to show some curvaceous individuality, that square-angled xB looks different. Hmm, have you seen Saturn ad with cardboard boxes on wheels? Yep, here is one.

    But this is a pretty cool box. Its coolness is its functionality. "A car is not a luxury item, it is a means of transportation". Exactly. The car is huge inside. And I mean HUGE. Lots of headroom, lots of air between you and windshield, and just enormous rear legroom. After I set up the front seat for myself I sat on the rear seat. Boy, I did spread my legs almost straight! I am 6ft height. Of course, shoulder and hip room is smaller than in your family sedan, and the trunk fits just one suitcase. But you can fold rear seats, or even (as they say) can take them completely off.

    I am not particularly fond of central instrumentation position, but I liked xB arrangement with speedometer/tachometer moved closer to driver side. xA with main cluster exactly on top of central console is too funky for me. For the record, I like the theme of "airplane cockpit" like BMW 3-series or SAAB cars have. Relatively soft plastic and cloth adds warmth and feel of quality. Seating is upright but I like it this way, my spine says OK.

    The 5-speed shifter is OK, but the real jewel is the clutch. Pedal travel is short, but clutch takes on softly and gently, which is very helpful with relatively weak 1.5-liter engine. The clutch on my 3.0-liter Camry feels kinda "sporty" after xB: it is either engaged or not, and it takes special attention to make smooth gear changes. On xB it happens itself, without any hassle.

    Engine is a sore story. Let's look on the fuel economy of the other, bigger cars. Focus: 2L, 30/36; P5: 2L, 31/36; Matrix: 1.8L, 30/35; Civic: 1.7L, 32/37. Now get this, xB: 1.5L, 30/34. Toyota, what this is about? I can understand that highway mileage is not exceptional because of boxy, high-profile shape. The proof of this is xA mileage, which manages to get 38mpg on a highway. But 30mpg in the city driving? What is the point of the smallish engine then? Put in 1ZZ-FE from Corolla/Matrix, and xB will make a decent car. I doubt that physical dimensions of 1.8 engine are that much bigger so it cannot fit xB engine bay. Anyway, a car with only 2400 lb weight and this smallish engine should have at least 35/40. Honda somehow managed to get 44 and even 46 on previous generation Civic.

    image Now when I am talking about the engine, I want to say that stuff under the hood is arranged very clever. While 1NZ-FE engine may seem small in displacement, its output is pretty good and on par with bigger 1.7-1.8 engines from other makers. Engine is very compact with intake manifold located on its front side and exhaust manifold located at the rear of the engine. Thus the under-floor cathalythic converter warms up as fast as the one located on the front side of the engine with more traditional layout. Right engine mount is located on the right strut console, somewhere in the middle of the engine height, not underneath the engine. This helps to reduce vibrations, which are barely noticeable from this little four-banger. The coolant expansion tank is made together with radiator cover in one big piece of plastic. Really clever and space-efficient. These small engineering jewels here and there add to my admiration of how much passenger space this car have with so little footprint. Heck, this is Japanese Toyota bB, they do not have a lot of highway space there, so they want to have the same comfort as we do in big fuel-thirsty sedans. Smart design.

    The xB drives OK. I did not notice anything special about it, good or bad. Nice small responsive car. Inside it feels a little bit like in a minivan, but only when the car stands still. In motion is is predictable and firm. Yep, much firmer than my Camry. I did not know that that backroad had so many potholes... What do you want, 185/60R15 and firm suspention.

    Anyway, I really liked the xB. Though xA styled more sophisticated, xB just talk business. Clean lines and lots of space inside. Here is your VW Bug of XXI century: maybe it is ugly, but it is very practical.
  • I took a test ride last week and spent some time in the back seat while my wife and salesman were up front. Back seat ride was really jumpy/ bumpy...anyone else have a similar opinion? We are looking for a small wagon to accommodate our first child in a few months, but the back seat ride makes me car sick, let alone a baby. Solutions? Different shocks or springs? Otherwise, we love the car and the price!
  • chris777chris777 Posts: 126
    I had the chance to drive the bbx the other day, and since the "official" release is a round a moths or so away I took it.

    It was an auto, loaded to the gills with options bringing the price to over $19k

    I personally really really liked the car except for the fact it has so little useable space under its hatch (I wouldn't doubt its less than my 86 civic hatch)

    but the power was good (though I would like to drive one on the highway wit ha few more miles on it this one only had 26 on it and I didn't want to totally tear it up)

    I am really torn on the car I really like it other than the lack of cargo space with passengers. I really wish Toyota would have shoe horned a corolla engine into the car too plus the white speedometer really grates on my nerves.

    I may be edging out of the target market though at 28 yrs old I am beginning to think the vehicle looks a little too "toy" like.

    I liked it better than most of the cars I've test driven the past 2 years though, and as an added bonus they had already installed a cruise control (although it was the most backwards one I've ever used)
  • Took a drive in an xB here in Durham, NC. Really cool vehicle...even if I am 39 years old! Love the back seat room and cool exterior styling. Needs more power...put a 160 horses and more torque under the hood and it would rock. Handles really well. The 18" wheels they had on demo look real good but would worry about so little rubber between rim and road hazards. My BMW 330i with 17" rims has a lot more rubber and I still destroyed a tire on a hidden pothole.

    Side note, Fred Anderson Toyota had their xB demo given to the owner's daughter to drive all week, how stupid, so went to Toyota of Durham to drive.
  • I finally got to test drive both models.

    The xA had a harsh ride, but otherwise ok.

    The xB was amazing. It drove great. The ride was excellent even with the 18 inch wheels that was on it. The driving postion was not bad either.

    I wonder what the tC is going to be like (driving). I really thought getting the xB, but the tC looks just as great.
  • tpat3tpat3 Posts: 119
    Even if the process is frustrating, it's nice to hear about a company standing behind its products.

    Just drove the xB for the first time today. I was very impressed with how tight and agile it was. Even though this was an auto, I thought the acceleration was just fine. A little slow off the line, but plenty responsive otherwise.
    We've had some snow recently and the roads are a little slick, but it handle some quick, fairly sharp turns with no fuss.
    The dealership is one I swore I'd never visit again, but there was zero pressure. The salesman, good guy, wouldn't even take my name and number. Said he went to a Scion sales seminar and was flat out told not to "sell" the cars. Let customers ask questions but that's it.
    Seems sort of smart: the serious buyers will self-select and no time wasted chasing people who won't buy anyway. Pricing is fixed -- he quoted me $14,165 for standard trans. Why would't that approach work with all makes?

    Good luck on the replacement xB. Sweet car.
  • Scion xB owners!

    My girlfriend and I test drove a Scion in Maryland today and were suprised by how much we liked it. I am 6'2" and have broad shoulders, and I cannot even fit into any of the Toyotas on the lot without my head hitting the roof (including a 4 Runner). I could drive the Scion with a ten gallon hat on!

    We somehow pulled ourselves from the dealership (the sales person had no problem with us leaving to think it over) and when we got home to research it more, we found conflicting stories about the rear seats. We folded them down, but some people claim that you can take them out completely. Is this true? Does anyone have a picture? We would like it if the rear seats would somehow go more flat to accomodate our dog better.

    Also, the sales person said something to the effect that they will be receiving an orange one shortly... :)
  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    Yesterday the local Toyota dealer got a xA and a xB in stock. They are for test drives only since they will not be selling them until June. We were driving past and my son noticed the xB. We got out and looked at it and ended up seeing a salesman that I knew. Long story short we ended up going on a test drive.
    It was an automatic with some of the aftermarket accessories - rims, bass, decals.... If you want to get noticed this is the car. I have never had soooo many people look at me while on a test drive. I'm sure part of this is due to the fact that there are not any around here yet and that we had the stereo cranked.
    Overall I thought the car rode very well and acceleration was not that bad even though I would get a manual. Fit and finish is excellent as well as the quality of materials. Very spacious as well.
    Overall I really enjoyed this car and for the money and uniqueness it is a very good package. Well, I'm off to drive a CTS-V.
  • srocks4srocks4 Posts: 13
    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for a commuter car and really didn't think about Scion until a friend mentioned it and read what you folks wrote got me thinking.

    Its a little more than what I intended to spend, but keeping an open mind. The power is ok, it does the job. The noise on the freeway was almost as loud as my 10 yr old cherokee, but thought of possibly adding or changing the weather-stripping might help.

    The dealer says the car is only sold at MSRP, I've read yes and no here. Has anyone purchase the car at invoice?

    Another question, I'll be vacationing in Vegas in the summer, "IF" I purchase the Scion there and brought it back to CA. Would the emission in NV meet CA's requirements? I asking this because if I can get a better price and pay no taxes, it maybe worth it. Thanks.
  • big_guybig_guy Posts: 372
    I went to our local Toyota dealership (they will be a Scion dealership when the market opens up country wide). They have one xA and one xB available for test drives. I prefer the styling of the xA (plus the available side curtain air bags) but unfortunately, there is not enough room in the xA for me. I'm 6'-7" tall and my head was in contact with the headliner of the xA when I tried to sit in it. When the salesman sat in the back seat behind the driver seat, his knees were firmly imbeded in the back of the driver seat ... and the dealer was about 5'-11" tall. I thought I would try out the xB just to see what it was like. I am not too wild about the exterior styling of the xB but WOW is there a lot of interior passenger room in that little car.

    I was able to sit comfortably in the front seat and adjust it all the way back to fit my frame. I had plenty of leg room and had about 2" to 3" of clear space above my head. I then got out of the vehicle and sat in the rear passenger seat directly behind the driver seat. I was amazed! There was plenty of head room (still 2-3" clear) and I had over 1" of space between my knees and the back of the seat in front of me. I have sat in a lot of vehicles and I have never been in one that costs under $25k that has this kind of leg room in the back seat. Typically you need to step up to luxury sedans to get this type of room. I decided I would take it for a spin to get a feel for the vehicle on the road.

    The model they had available had the automatic transmission but there was still enough get up and go to get the car motivated quickly from stop lights. The vehicle is a fun city car for stop and go traffic and corners very well for a tall car ... and it draws attention like crazy. Since the vehicle isn't available for sale yet in this market, it is unique around here and turned heads wherever I went. I even had the obligatory drive by wher a car would slowly drive by me on one side, pull in front of me and then to the other side of the vehicle, then slow down to let me pass so they could get a good look all around the vehicle. Visibility out of the xB is great. I didn't notice any blindspots during my test drive. The interior materials were pretty nice for a vehicle in this price range. The drivers seat was pretty comfortable too. It would be interesting to see how comfortable the seats would be after an extended drive.

    I moved onto the freeway after a short drive around town. The xB was able to get up to freeway speed without too much drama but once it hits 65 MPH it takes a lot of coaxing to get it to go any faster. Also, when I started up any inclines, the transmission hunted a lot between overdrive and 4th. I was able to turn off the overdrive but the RPM's jumped to nearly 4k and the engine noise was quite high. The dealership had added the 18" TRD rims on the vehicle so the ride was a bit harsh ... particularly over speed bumps. My son in the back seat complained and asked if the car had any springs.

    The stereo was not overly impressive, even with the optional Bazooka subwoofer the dealer had installed. The sound was pretty muddy without very clear perfomace in any of the SSP settings. My son liked the "feel" setting since he was right in front of the subwoofer. If I was ever to get one of these cars I would opt out of any stereo upgrades and go aftermarket and replace the whole system from head unit to speakers.

    Over all I was quite impressed by the little xB. It has gobs of interior passenger room, decent performance for around town driving but struggles a bit on the highway. I wouldn't want to try and take this vehicle up any of the local canyons though, at least not with the current normally aspirated 1.5L engine. I would be relegated to the slow moving right hand lane. If I had any adult passengers in the xB with me, I would likely have big rigs passing me as I made my way up the canyon. I'm sure it would do just fine with adult passengers in city driving though.

    As a side note, I noticed that the specification data here at Edmunds has incorrect rear seat leg room numbers. They list the room at 31.8" and it is actually 38".
  • john_wjohn_w Posts: 72
    I test-drove a 2005 xA and xB a couple of weeks ago. Based on the tendency of the xB to lean on curves, I eliminated it from my list. Later I learned that the rear seats can be removed. Suddenly I was interested in the car again. (After all, the xB does have automatic stability control. How this works or how effective it is, I don't know.)

    I paced around the outside of an xB I later saw parked on the street and estimated that with the rear seats removed, there might be a flat, carpeted floor with a diagonal as much as 6'8" long. Could anyone tell me what the diagonal actually is when the seats are removed and the front seats are all the way forward?

    I am 6'3" and want to know if I could comfortably sleep in the back of an xB with its rear seats removed.

    (I can’t just run over to the nearest Scion dealer to check this out, since the nearest dealer is almost 200 miles away.)

  • w2323w2323 Posts: 60
    Noiser in a rainstorm. Oh my!!!

    I expected a noisey engine and usually don't mine it at all but, it's beyond noisey. The automatic I drove barely had enough pickup to get you going it's very noticable. Perhaps a little dangerous for my way of driving.

    Now take into consideration both of those items are usually last on my list when I look at cars. But I feel they are so bad it takes the scion off my list.

    I love the MPG, I love the interior room, I like the interior design for the most part, Very well priced. I hate that your head is so close to the front windshield. I do not like the lack of great bumpers. Specially on the doors, I can see it being a ding magnet. I don't like having a console in the middle. Your right arm will get very tired as you drive.

    I think on long trips you would get exhausted driving this car, from the lack of a armrest console, the noise, and lack of good pickup. It really suprised me how bad these were.

    One last thing the placement of the speedometer is very awkward. You tend not to check your speed as often.

    The search goes on.
  • I just bought my Xb last night and test drove them 6 times before I bought. Why would anybody buy a car that is not thoroughly researched? I traded in an 02 Focus ZX3 and the Xb has very similar pickup. I drive in the DC traffic soup daily and this car does pretty well. It is not a speed burner. If you want speed look elsewhere. But comfort is great. I'm 6'2 and 225 and I'm happy in the Xb. I know car comfort as I drive 110 miles daily to work and back. The lack of an arm rest is not an issue. If you need one then buy an aftermarket armrest. Scion just came out with one on the web site for about $80 bucks. Why complain about the armrest issue? It takes 5 minutes to install. This car is just right for hauling my 3 teenagers to and from music lessons and soccer practice. I know I'll be happy becaused I researched it before I bought it.
  • johnnyb11johnnyb11 Posts: 50
    Does your long commute include highway driving (65 +)? Do you find the constantly high revving engine loud or annoying?

    It seems I can get a Vibe/Matrix for 16500, with sunroof, stabilitrak, sounds pack, power everything, five speed. Has more storage room than the xb, better gas mileage and pickup, and quieter. But there's something about that xb. I'm very conflicted.
  • I haven't yet had the XB up to 65 mph. During break-in it is recommended not to go over 60. Break-in is 1,000 miles, and I have a whopping 168 miles on mine. High engine reving does not bother me as I drove a Focus ZX3 for 2 1/2 yrs. That engine is a high revver and the Xb seems quieter than the Focus. I have a co-worker with a new Matrix and he sat in my XB and liked the seating comfort and height better than his Matrix. When I get the XB broken in, typical traffic speeds run from 30--85 mph on the DC commute.
  • Hi everyone! I'm new to this forum and thought I'd say hello!

    When I first saw the Scion xB back in 2003, I wasn't sure what model of vehicle I was seeing, but it definitely caught my attention. (And yes, admittedly, I too thought the car was ugly as hell, but have grown to embrace this "milk carton on wheels.") I initially mistook it for a Mini Cooper. :confuse: These cars have taken quite some time to pick up any sort of popularity in my area. The only person I saw driving an xB on a regular basis looked to be in his 40's, and it was impossible to miss seeing him drive his Scion because it was in that funky metallic orange color. Here we are three years later, Jan. 2006, and I'm seeing a few more xBs around town, used mostly as delivery/business vehicles. I am not seeing any Generation Y'ers driving this car, even though they were the targeted market. More often than not, the people I see driving these cars are people who are around my age (36) and the occasional elderly driver.

    I'm presently driving a Honda Civic LX 2002, and I gave my 1998 Honda Civic CX hatchback to my husband after his Chevy van keeled over in 2001. While I absolutely adore my Hondas and their reliability, I'm starting to feel the need for more space, and am exploring my options and doing my homework for my next car. The Scion xB has held my interest for quite some time now, and I'm also considering a Toyota Matrix. Much as I wouldn't hesitate to go out and buy a Honda Element, I can't in good conscience do so because they're rated as only getting 20-25mpg. Any car I'm going to spend my hard-earned money on needs to get 30+mpg in order to justify the expenditure. Oh sure--if money weren't a factor I'd go out and buy the Toyota Pruis. I'd opt for the Toyota Prius rather than the Civic hybrid because, hybrid or not, who wants to spend $21K+ for a Civic? :mad:

    At any rate, I went to the LeBrun Toyota dealership in Canandaigua on 1/28/06 and test drove a Scion xB. I liked the feeling of sitting up high in the car--almost as though I was in a truck. Once I had it out on the road, I found the acceleration to be a bit lacking. I'm accustomed to driving a 5 speed, and the xB I tested was an automatic; however, I found this to be a nice change from always having to shift gears. Definitely WON'T be winning any races in the xB, but after getting pulled over one too many times on Route 332 by the Staties, do I REALLY need to drive any faster than I already do? :blush: Even after the test drive, I wasn't sure what to think about the xB. Truthfully, it's a nifty little car, and I like the space it offers. I think they're ugly and cute at the same time. The one thing that stands above everything else: It's a Toyota, and you can't argue the reliability of ANY Toyota vehicle, the same way you can't argue about the quality of Hondas. (Except for the Passport, which was a big ol' POS!) :lemon:

    Next on the list was a baseline Matrix. Overall, I liked this vehicle much better. I drove this in both an automatic, but had to drive it in a 2003 model in order to try the 5 speed. Surprisingly, I HATED the stick shift; loved the automatic, though!

    While I'm not planning on buying a new vehicle for probably two more years, I'm doing my homework NOW. It always helps to be prepared. Here's hoping that Scion/Toyota will opt to put in the 1.8L engine of the Corolla into the xB rather than the Echo's 1.5L engine. The OPTION of some extra power would be nice, and might sway my decision accordingly.

    I was wondering if there's any "adult" drivers out there (the 35+ crowd who aren't spending mommy and daddy's hard-earned money to buy a car, and have mortgages of their own to pay, kids to care for, etc.) who have purchased the Scion xB and can tell me what you think of your purchase? I'm not into street racing or any other modifications to "sport up" my car--I just like to get from Point A to Point B with the least amount of hassle.

    Once you've been stranded with a young kid in the car, reliability is of the utmost importance. Having said that, I will NEVER buy another VW EVER.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!
  • jwatsjwats Posts: 72
    I am not totally clear on your questions, but I will share some reactions after a month of ownership. The reasons to buy an XB are the enormous utility and a desire not to see yourself on every corner. I agree with your comments on power--the 5 spd is fine, automatic is marginal. I personally would not buy an XB with an automatic, but you could probably get used to it.

    If you like the Matrix, and like an automatic , why not buy one?
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