2011 Scion xB Review; No Longer Just A Toaster On Wheels

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No longer just a box on wheels, the new 2011 Scion xB is a step in the right direction for the automaker, but all that potential seems to go to waste with outdated equipment and a lack of interior focus.

The boxcar is a modern trend that has been accepted by some and loathed by others. Honda attempted to garner support by stepping out of their normal bubble with the Element, while Toyota created a whole new brand from the ground up for their own boxy toaster on wheels. This company went by the name Scion, while the toaster in question’s nametag read xB.

Scion’s first generation xB was a bit of a quirky mix between a four-door hatchback and SUV look. That’s not to say it looked bad, as that’s all of matter of opinion, but it did garner its share of jokes. For 2011, Scion has dropped the square design and added some curves to the xB’s lines.

With a revamped design inside and out, is the xB still a wildcard in the vehicle pond, or has Scion normalized their most recognizable machine?

The first thing that one will notice with the new xB is the increased size. Scion hasn’t been in America long, but it has taken a liking to the gastronomical culture and puffed it up a bit. That’s not to say it’s a large vehicle, but when Scion swapped the Yaris platform for the Corollas, they enlarged the xB by a noticeable amount.

The 2011 Scion xB still has some wagon features to it and it certainly has the dimensions to be considered a utilitarian feel to it. The xB is twelve inches longer and almost three inches wider, but it’s around an inch lower to the ground than before. The nose appears to be longer and the roofline has a new chopped look to it. The D-pillars are now stainless steel instead of glass, which manages to give the new xB a hefty look over the old model.

The styling of the xB has always been controversial and this new model is no different. The design is more aggressive than before, as the Scion is lower and wider than ever before. On top of that, the flares around the wheel wells and the sills give the xB a performance look, which is one that is doesn’t deserve. The base of the windshield has moved forward but maintains the fairly upright angle, giving the xB a van feel on the inside. The test model comes with optional wheels that fit in well with the overall look of the car.

Step inside the xB and the cabin is, once again, subject to controversy. First things first, the gauges are located in the center of the dash, something which numerous automakers have tried and, in most cases, abandoned. Each gauge is clear and easy to read, but the location of clock shows a lack of quality control over at Toyota. If one wants to observe their instant miles per gallon, or simply look at their current fuel economy, the clock disappears. So, if keeping track of the time is important, buy a watch.

Scion equipped this xB with its optional Alpine sound system, which appears to be aftermarket but don’t fret, this new Scion wasn’t fiddled with by some teenager, as that gray stereo is stock. Although, chances are it will be replaced, as it’s just about useless. In daylight, the sun’s glare can make the screen invisible and the array of buttons can be confusing to decipher. The touch screen itself is way to small to operate under normal driving conditions and even if one could change tracks, the system reacts so slowly that it might not be worth it.

Scion xB


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I drove a 2010 Scion xb for Oregon Taxi in Eugene, Oregon for about a year. We put approx. 100, 000 miles on it during that time. It ran virtually 100% of 12 hrs. X 2 shifts x 7 days a week schedule. It got oil changes @ approx. 10 to 12,000 miles. No tune up or repairs other than tires, brakes & an occasional light bulb. Great car for taxi service. I got approx. 23 to 24 mpg average w/ lots of idol time during the 12 hr. shift.
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