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2011 Scion xB

Overview
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2011 Scion xB Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.1

Much is made in the press about funky little cars such as Nissan's Cube and Kia's Soul. But it was the Scion xB that introduced Americans to the shoebox-on-wheels concept. Now in its second iteration, the 2011 Scion xB isn't as sharp-edged as the original, or as underpowered. In fact, next to the Cube and Soul, the xB looks a bit conservative, a strong testament to how rapidly consumer tastes change. Unlike its competition, however, the xB's list of optional accessories is unusually long, allowing an owner to personalize the xB with everything from carbon-fiber trim pieces to TRD performance parts.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2011 Scion xB is not much bigger than most compact cars and SUVs, yet its versatile interior and miserly fuel economy give it the best attributes of both. Numerous add-on accessories allow for the kind of vehicle personalization once reserved for pricey custom shops.

You May Not Like This Car If...

With its low ground clearance and lack of a V6 engine option or all-wheel drive, the 2011 Scion xB's usefulness beyond the paved road is pretty much nonexistent.

What's Significant About This Car?

Changes for the 2011 Scion xB are limited to some minor exterior revisions and a new trim: The Releases Series 8.0 Sport Wagon. To make the Series 8.0 even more special, Scion will spray Voodoo Blue paint on a limited run of just 2,000 cars. Also new this year is the addition of a tilt/telescopic steering wheel.

Driving the xB

Driving Impressions Perhaps because of its wide stance and long wheelbase, the 2011 Scion xB seems to be most comfortable cruising along newly-paved freeways and urban side streets. Small cars are usually...

not as smooth-riding and quiet as the xB, but additional sound proofing and a competent suspension allow the xB to shield its occupants from rude jolts and noisy goings on. With only 158 horsepower on tap, the xB can't be expected to perform like a sports car, and the car's tall greenhouse and narrow tires conspire to make it feel slightly top-heavy in curves and corners. While we love the feeling of the manual shifter, we imagine most owners will opt for the four-speed automatic which, while adequate, could really do with another gear.
Favorite Features

Scion Accessories Catalog
With so many cool things to add to the xB, one can easily push the price well beyond the $20,000 range. From audio, to suspension parts, to interior and exterior enhancements, the xB's accessories list is the ultimate car junky's play toy.

iPod Interface
Where many cars offer only 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.

2011 Scion xB Details
2011 Scion xB photo Interior

The 2011 Scion xB's boxy interior helps create a huge interior, one that can easily accommodate four adults or two people with a whole lot of gear or groceries. With the rear seats folded, the xB offers an impressive 70 cubic feet of cargo space; with the seats in place, there is still more than 21 cubic feet of usable storage space. While we like the xB's interior layout, the plastics feel a bit hard and cheap and there isn't much in the way of additional color or contrast, as there is with the exterior. Available options, such as the 200-watt Alpine navigation radio, add a bit of color to the xB's dash as well as a rich sound to its cabin.

Exterior
2011 Scion xB photo

The 2011 Scion xB artfully blends 90-degree angles with soft, rounded edges to create a practical economy car with maximum interior volume. Up front, a rectangular grille separates multi-reflector-beam headlamps with low-beam housings that curve along the car's sides. Around back, wide C-pillars create a look of solidity and strength; unfortunately for the driver, the xB rear pillars also create two large blind spots. In its most base guise, the xB runs the risk of appearing simple and, frankly, unattractive. But load on the available wheels, trim, paint and other Scion-sanctioned accessories and the xB transforms itself into one very cool ride. It's a neat trick no other car in the category can replicate, and one that makes the xB such a great find.

Notable Equipment
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, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, 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 via the steering-wheel audio controls. Gracing the exterior, a chrome exhaust tip and the choice of three wheel-cover designs are included as well.

Optional Equipment

Since the 2011 Scion 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, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, Alpine audio upgrade, fog lights and an auto-dimming mirror.

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. Both transmissions help the xB get slightly better gas mileage than the similar Honda Element, but not quite as good as the Nissan Cube and Chevrolet HHR.

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)

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2011 Scion xB Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 244 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Drives like a sports car, hauls like a big SUV

By on Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

My Sweet ride

By on Saturday, March 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

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

little hauler; 3-4 bags of debris, blower, tools for gardnening

"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!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

little hauler; 3-4 bags of debris, blower, tools for gardnening

Bring back the funk!

By on Friday, February 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,400

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

Great vehicle

By on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

This one is a keeper!

By on Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

8 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Adore this car

By on Monday, December 30, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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