By KBB.com Editors
When Scion set out last year to redesign the original xB, it asked current owners and fans of the brand what they would like to see on the next generation. Their feedback revealed that people wanted the box-like styling to stay, but also wanted the car to be larger, with a more powerful engine and more standard features, such as cruise control. The result is the 2009 xB, a vehicle that should appeal to both Scion enthusiasts and other potential buyers, all at a reasonable price. Scion's straight-forward "mono spec" basic equipment level continues, encouraging customization and making the car-buying process more personal.
If you want a versatile four-door car that is easily customizable, comes with loads of standard features and is affordable, the xB is a great choice. With 60/40 fold-flat rear seats and 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space, it could also be ideal for those with a small family or simply lots of stuff.
The xB's box-like styling, although less extreme than it used to be, may not appeal to all tastes. And if you love cars that are performance-driven, you may be happier in something a little sportier. The xB also does not offer a V6 – even as an option.
Other than a new color, there are no major changes for the 2009 Scion xB.
Driving Impressions The 2009 Scion xB, with its relatively long wheelbase and wide stance, seems to be most at home on urban roads, handling the asphalt with a smooth and noticeably quiet...ride, thanks to an improved suspension and noise-damping materials. On rural roads the xB seems a little sluggish, feeling slightly top-heavy through curves and corners. However, the 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with 158 horsepower is a definite improvement, producing 55 more horsepower than available in the first generation xB and giving it some extra power on hills and freeways. Large disc brakes on all four wheels aid in stopping the vehicle more quickly.
Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) Screen
This screen, built into the audio faceplate on the dash, allows you to display personal "skins" to customize the interior of the car. Skins can be created and downloaded on a special site produced by Pioneer just for Scion owners.
Where most cars only offer an auxiliary audio input jack, the xB also features a standard iPod interface. Plugging an iPod into this port allows it to be operated through the radio head unit. The plug also simultaneously supplies power to the iPod.
Although it may not look like it from the outside, the interior of the xB has seating that is both roomy and comfortable, even in the second row. The vehicle offers 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space when all seats are up and 69.9 cubic feet when the 60/40 rear seats are folded flat. For the driver who loves listening to music, satellite radio, auxiliary MP3 jacks and a customizable audio faceplate that can display images and short video clips are all within reach.Exterior
The 2009 xB is noticeably rounder and larger than the rolling breadbox that was the original xB. The latest xB touts a rectangular grille flanked by multi-reflector halogen lamp clusters with low projector beams that curve along the car's sides. Echoing these wrap-around headlamps are side-view mirrors with LED turn signals that illuminate in each mirror when activated. Wide pillars at the back end of the car create a bit of a blind spot that some drivers may not like. Standard 16-inch wheels – an inch larger than those on the previous model – do a good job of filling the wheelwells in style.
With only one trim level, the xB comes pre-loaded with many features that make it particularly attractive for the asking price. Inside, some of these features are air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a Pioneer audio system with six speakers, tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), vehicle stability and traction controls and a first-aid kit. For music lovers, the lower dash houses an iPod interface and auxiliary audio input that allows song information and manipulation through the main unit and steering wheel controls. Gracing the exterior, a chrome exhaust tip and the choice of three wheel-cover designs are included as well.
Since the xB comes with so many features already, many of the options are geared more toward personalizing the car. Such interesting options include color-customizable interior lights with matching cup-holder illumination, sport pedals, illuminated door sill enhancements, in-pillar storage, a subwoofer, 17-inch alloy wheels and a color-keyed rear spoiler. There are a few more practical options that people may choose as well, such as carpeted floor and cargo mats, a navigation system, remote engine start, fog lights and an auto-dimming mirror. For those who want a more "upscale" feeling inside, an interior trim upgrade kit is also available.
The xB shares its 2.4-liter dual overhead-cam (DOHC) four-cylinder engine with its Scion sibling, the tC. Buyers have the choice of a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic with sequential shifting, a first for Scion and parent company Toyota. Both transmissions help the xB get slightly better gas mileage than the similar Honda Element and the PT Cruiser, which should make it extra appealing to anyone concerned about fuel consumption.
2.4-liter in-line 4
158 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 (manual), 22/28 (automatic)
By sci-fi on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great acceleration and handling"
Cons: "Interior is a little cheap and develops rattles"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I owned my Xb for 6 years and have driven it all over the country (including some rough roads it wasn't designed to drive on)and it has been mechanically bulletproof. All I've ever done is change the oil and rotate the tires. The little boxcar handles like its on rails and I love the acceleration! Only downsides is it sits very low to the ground and being an avid hiker I often hear the undercarage draging over rocks on unpaved roads and because its so low to the ground I've had to replace the windshild numerous times, seems if theres a rock or bolt flying off a big truck it will find the Xb's big windshield. The only other complaint I could have is it has developed a number of interior rattles, which is unusual for a Toyota product. My old Tacoma had over 200K hard miles and didn't rattle at all. Still I'd highly recommend this car to anyone who needed space to haul a lot of stuff but still wanted to feel like they are driving a high performance sports car."
By Meko's Ride on Saturday, March 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roominess, fun to drive, good on gas, solid!"
Cons: "needs a standard passenger side arm rest"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had for 4-5 years and shes still the goods! I needed to get a vehicle for my job as a gardener. I can carry a 6 ft orchard ladder, small backpack blower, long handled tools and all my various hand tools, plus up to 3 sacks of clean green debris! the car doesnt even flinch at all that!! Oh, plus my little dog in the front seat with all this going on. (I go to the car wash a lot!) I have little to no maintenance issues, I keep up on all the preventative maint., and she just keeps going! Still feels solid to drive, like when I first got her! She does quite well in snow with the anti-skid button, but keep it under 13mph or it disengages back to normal drive, but I can feel her gripping the road pretty well! She drives well on the mountain passes here in WA and doesnt struggle. People are always amazed with the room. If you put the passenger seat all the way back and take head rest off, you can sit in the back seat and put your legs up and kick back! Its nice for when you have someone who has a leg cast on or something and they need the room, just make sure they put the seat belt on while in that back seat! The same model in Japan, the BB, has back seats that recline too!! I love that its a well made Japanese car, it may be on the economy side but its high-quality economy! Plus all the fun add on options you can get. I feel like its a well made car with reliable origins being a "scion" of Toyota! I trust this car to be with me for a long tome!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Breezy on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,400overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Interior digital gauges, Pioneer receiver, USB AUX"
Cons: "Transmission is dated (poor MPG), creaky dashboard"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love the Scion xB. Used to have a 1st generation 2006 xB in 5-speed manual that was tastefully modified (I promise). It was my favorite car I owned. I outgrew it, and wanted something a bit more mature, and sleek. I also wanted to go for a VIP-style luxury-look this time around, and you can’t be VIP and shift your own gears! ;) That led me to pick up a big-body 2011 xB in automatic. The 2nd generation xB in manual is pretty silly, anyway, but that’s just my opinion. It’s just too big for a manual. In any case, I do love the car, but I’m not in love with it. It lost it’s groove, and seems as though the Kia Soul is the newer version of the 1st generation xB—it has all the funk that the new xBs lost. I still like the 2nd generation xB more than the Soul, but just saying, it definitely lost it’s funk. I’ll start with pros for the 2nd generation—I do appreciate the larger body, surprising to myself, as I’ve always driven the smallest cars. Tastes change, as expected. I also appreciate how it’s more sleek in curves, while still being boxy. It comes with a myriad of features you come to expect from Scion—Pioneer receiver (head unit) and factory USB and AUX inputs, which are so important to me, and a super-cool dashboard setup, just like the 1st generation—only this time, it’s fully digital, including the speedometer! Why all cars are not digital is beyond me, but I digress. Other than that, it’s a very simple car with not much else in features. It does have a very nifty store section under the rear seats, which I appreciate. Now, my least favorite bit: the AWFUL and dated 4-speed automatic. It’s unacceptable, and very dated. This dated transmission is the cause of unacceptably low gas mileage. Moving on, the automanual function is laughable. It doesn’t respond the way you want it to—if you want to go into 3rd gear at 10mph, it doesn’t care—it’s going to do what it wants and eventually get to 3rd. Or, if you’re at a red light and put it in 3rd or 4th, it accelerates in 1st, then 2nd, then 3rd, then 4th—all while the digital gauge says you’re in 4th the whole time. Very frustrating, so I don’t even use it. It also goes into 3rd automatically (no pun intended) when you move it from D. Even at a stoplight, if you move it from D, it goes into gear 3. I’ve driven manual transmissions my whole life, and the only thing that comes decently close is a true, proper single or double-clutch auto with paddle-shifters that actually shift quickly and respond to the driver instantly, doing exactly what the driver wants. Long-story short, this automanual is the worst I’ve driven. When it listens, it shifts quick, but it doesn’t listen the majority of the time. Very hard to explain without showing you. In any case… Next, there is this strange, creaky noise/rattle from the dashboard, and it comes right off the assembly line. I know this for certain that all 2nd generation xBs have it because my father’s 2008 model has it at 36,000 miles, and mine at only 4,000 miles had it (I’m not the original owner). It’s very unacceptable, and quite sad that it comes on a brand-new car. This type of noise you expect to hear on an aging car, if so. A very aging car. I still love the car, and xBs will always have a place in my heart. What I’m saying is that I feel that Scion fell off on the 2nd generation. I understand next year, the 3rd generation xB is expected—I’m really curious to see what comes of it. I am expecting a lot from Scion this time around—they can’t afford another mediocre xB. They need to bring back the funk, or else the Kia Soul will continue to reign."
By cechank on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Size, Load cap.(Interior), Handling, Gas Mileage"
Cons: "Minor disappointment on interior quality."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Interior needs a little nicer finish, everything works well but visible interior doesn't match the rest of the cars quality. Haven't checked out new models since I plan to put 250k on mine."
By L'l Red Toaster Owner on Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great cargo space for treasure hunts"
Cons: "Too few arm rests and visor mobility is poor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great driving. Great pick up. Great vision all the way around. Great cargo capacity. Great look and color. Having driven a Gen 1, bought and driving a Gen 2, I could see buying another one down the road. I really enjoy getting into this car, turning on some tunes and heading out to an errand or a 5 hour trip. The power gives me the capability to maneuver around the slow pokes. The handling and large windows allows me to stay out of the way of others stupid moves. Put the back seat down and move an apartment! Seriously, this car can take on the same cargo as a medium size SUV. I have put a patio table (large) and 4 chairs in there. Boxes and bags, you name it, I have loaded and hauled it. Snappy! An old word, maybe but a good way to describe the color and the look. The 6.0 Release with the Toyota Absolute Red and the boxy look are just about perfect. In case you have not figured it out, I really really like my xB, aka The L'l Red Toaster."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By JavaCat on Monday, December 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun and funky"
Cons: "Could use a couple more cup holders in"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I can't say enough about this scion xb. I put dandy snow tires on it, and it does as well as any mountain car that I have ever driven. Cars sliding off the highway, sometimes sliding backwards down the high mountain pass because of the ice on the highway - and my little road warrior just crawls along. It also has good power climbing not one but TWO high mountain passes - I have driven this car for 49,000 miles in less than two years - and this car rocks. It has the power to climb the passes at 75 mph, it does great in nasty weather."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful