By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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)
By Jeff on Saturday, November 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, stereo, versatile space, resell value"
Cons: "road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car fits my lifestyle perfectly but above all the reliability is what sold me. Almost anyone will tell you the most important feature in any vehicle is reliability and after glowing reviews on reliability from friends with Xb's I decided to make this my first new car purchase ever. So far I have had no mechanical issues with the exception of some grinding when shifting into reverse (manual) but it's done that since day one and I've had other cars that did without any failure. Almost every feature delivers exactly what you would expect for the price with no disappointment. I have versatile space, decent pickup, average fuel economy and convenient appointments. My favorite design feature is the ease of getting in and out. The ergonomics of the seats are great and the upright posture keeps me alert while driving (I can fall asleep driving on long trips). Overall I would buy one again since the cost to own has been low and the used value has remained high."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Thunder Boy on Thursday, September 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable and well built & fun to drive roomy too!"
Cons: "gas milage could be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a excellent all purpose car. great seating BIG room & nice handling and extremely well built. Many great features are included. For the money it has NO real equals Most owners truly praise and LOVE this car for a very good reason. A proven drivetrain and proven long term quality & reliability ... perfect? ..no ...good? YES! ..very! LLJ"
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Nate on Saturday, September 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "HD radio, space galore, mechanical quality"
Cons: "Noise, interior quality, comfort level"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I bought this car a little over two years ago and traded in my 1997 Buick Regal. Main reason for buying it was the desire to move larger items without having to borrow the neighbors truck or rent a moving van and the reliability of Toyota. It works great for utilitarian purposes, but comfort is much farther down on it's list of strong points. It has a fairly stiff ride, which can be bad for long trips. The interior over the past year has started to develop a lot of very annoying rattles and creaks, which are a pet peeve of mine. MPG is decent for this car but with better transmission it could be soooo much better. Engine noise, due to the transmission, is always running high rpms, but has pretty good power around town. The audio system is a very good unit, with aux jack, USB charging and connectivity, and HD radio that I have become so use to having that it hurts a little to consider parting with it. I get very use to having static-free reception for news and music. Overall, I love the space that it has and the looks are clean and definitely unique. I am thinking of replacing it for something with a bit more refinement since I do drive a lot, but it has been a very good hauling and multi-purpose vehicle. As a primary vehicle it may not be a good everyday car, but could definitely serve as a wonderful secondary utility vehicle."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Debbie on Thursday, June 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive because it's so funny looking"
Cons: "Seats aren't the most comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought this car in 10/09 and have had no issues with it at all. It has great pickup on the highway and good gas mileage. Except for oil changes and new tires, I haven't had to spend any money on it!"
17 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By Jimbo on Saturday, May 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Plenty of room, dependable."
Cons: "road noise and gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am tall, 4 inches shy of 7feet, and fit in this car nicely. However my wife of 5'1" can drive it as well. We have owned this car since '08 and it has been extremely trustworthy. It rides and handles well and is zippy. The only drawbacks I can mention are the road noise and the fact that the manual transmission needs a 6th gear as at 80mph, legal here on the highway, it runs past 3500 rpm and the gas mileage suffers. Expect anywhere from 22 to 30 mpg depending on load and driver. I have loved this car and would buy another."
17 people out of 35 found this review helpful
By Mick on Wednesday, May 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "EASY TO DRIVE"
Cons: "TRADE IN VALUE"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"HAD BOUGHT ONE OF THE FIRST XB`S AND SOLD TO BY THIS ONE. TRADE IN VALUE HAS DROPPED MORE THAN I EXPECTED. PAINT EASY TO CHIP ( SHOULD SELL ALL CARS WITH PLASTIC PROTECTOR COATING ON WHOLE FRONT OF CAR) DRIVES GREAT GOOD GAS MILAGE 27-31 MPG. WIFE DRIVES THIS CAR TO WORK AND SHE LOVES IT. EASY TO DRIVE AND PARK. NO PROBLEMS."
15 people out of 23 found this review helpful