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.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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.What's New for 2009
Other than a new color, there are no major changes for the 2009 Scion xB.Driving It 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.Favorite Features
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.Notable Standard Equipment
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.Notable Optional Equipment
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.Under the Hood
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)
Well equipped as a base model, the 2009 Scion xB with manual transmission currently has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and Fair Purchase Price starting around $16,500. An automatic transmission adds about $800. Since prices can differ substantially over time and from region to region, be sure to check Fair Purchase Prices to see what people are actually paying in your area. Overall, the xB costs noticeably less than the Honda Element and is slightly more than the PT Cruiser. In terms of resale value, the xB is expected to hold its value in similar fashion to the Element and better than the PT Cruiser.