Driving in an X-box

David Yochum

Scion reaches for the x-generation

Thinking “inside the box,” xB makes no apologies for its “love it or hate it” styling.

Scion, Toyota’s three-year-old youth division, created the xB as a way to have “more space and less waste,” incorporating a boxy, voluminous interior with extensive personalization options.

Every xB comes standard with a 160-watt, six-speaker Pioneer CD audio system, air conditioning, power amenities and tons of headroom. Additionally, a catalog of 37 dealer-installed accessories, such as a roof rack, taillights and shift knobs cater to the sport-tuner crowd.

While our “salsa red” four-door wasn’t outfitted with subwoofers, neon lighting or an armrest (xB’s are tailored by the individual buyer), xB’s interior did feature a lonely, center-mounted gauge.


+ Sensitive brakes

+ Comfortable seats

+ Accessorization on-demand

– Boxed-out

– Optional armrest

– Weak engine

“They just stuck the speedometer there,” Dinovo said. “Scion is repeating the boxy style everywhere, but it’s not always unified.”

Testers said they felt that xB’s interior space would be good for longer road trips and taller passengers, but not much else. Goffe was just happy sitting high enough to judge the xB’s front bumper.

“It feels like I’m a soccer-mom driving a minivan or an SUV – but it’s not,” she said. “I can see everything and I have control; the car doesn’t take over.”

Sheth wanted the xB to take over, as his disappointment was driven by the Scion’s lackadaisical acceleration.


Base price: $15,370

Price as-tested: $15,370

Engine: 1.5L DOHCVVT-i 16V 4-cylinder

HP @ rpm: 103 @ 6000

Torque @ rpm: 101 @ 4200

Transmission: 4-speed auto

Base weight (lbs): 2,470

EPA mpg (city/highway): 30/34

Flooring the gas pedal, he showed xB’s transmission “takes too long to shift,” while the vehicle wouldn’t allow him to “feel the force of turns like in other big cars.”

Rogers and Sheth both noted “good, stiff brakes,” equaled by the xB’s adequate suspension.

Styling touches such as a rear spoiler, big headlights and B-pillar inserts keep the Scion creative, but no amount of accessorizing could reshape student opinions.

“Come on, it’s like a box on wheels,” Rogers said. “Get past that and it has some nice features.”