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Scion adds cool technology to xB for 2012

Scion's high-tech, affordably priced xB utility vehicle, continuing to take aim at hipsters, will be outfitted with Bluetooth hands-free and streaming audio as well as HD Radio for 2012. It is on track to reach dealer showrooms in July, the Japanese car company said today.

The xB's standard AM/FM/CD/HD/USB 160-watt maximum output six-speaker Pioneer audio system and Bluetooth connectivity are both new to the second generation of the boxy car with 16-inch wheels that is best known for having pronounced fenders and elongated headlamps.

One neat feature: Under the back seats a tray is set up to store magazines, cameras, laptops, cell phone chargers and CDs.

The xB comes with a base price of $16,300 and bumps up to $17,250 for the 5-speed manual and the 4-speed sequential shift automatic transmissions. These prices do not include a $720 handling fee added on by Scion.

The car for cool people is powered by a 2.4-liter dual overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence that kicks out 158 horsepower. The car delivers EPA ratings of 22 city / 28 highway.

Standard features on the xB for 2012 include power steering, power windows, power door locks and power mirrors; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; cruise control; 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist; driver- and front-passenger dual-stage airbags; front seat-mounted side airbags; front and rear side-curtain airbags; Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control; Smart Stop Technology; a first-aid kit; and a tilt steering wheel with audio controls.

The xB's streaming audio will let compatible phone and media devices such as iPods to pair with the audio system and play music through the vehicle's sound system. The system displays an organic electroluminescent screen with a personalized welcome screen, USB connectivity and a subwoofer RCA output. The USB and auxiliary ports on the console enable users to listen to personal music collections through the xB’s speakers.

Connectivity is achieved by plugging the portable music player, including iPod and iPhone, into the USB or AUX port, according to a Scion statement released today. The head unit’s screen displays track number, track name and artist information from select USB units. The audio system provides outstanding sound quality through the car’s stereo system and constant power to select iPods. Music is controlled through the head unit and the steering wheel audio control buttons for radio, CD and certain USB devices. iPod users can also use an alphabetical speed search to find a specific artist or album, Scion says.

Through the subwoofer RCA output, an external amp can drive subwoofers. The standard Pioneer audio system offers a welcome screen that can be customized with a personal message of up to 16 characters.

Scion also offers 2012 buyers an optional 200-watt Pioneer Premium audio system that adds a 5.8-inch LCD touch-screen display, iTunes tagging and Pandora Internet radio connected through an iPhone and six RCA outputs to tack on external amplifiers.

Both the standard and premium systems let listeners choose from among three pre-set equalizer settings, satellite-radio compatibility and MP3 capability, which adjusts volume control based on driving speed. The sound systems have a tweeter and a speaker in each front door panel, plus two speakers in back.

You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected].

Image source: Scion