By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.5
The 2012 Scion xB hatchback is the rolling box that started the rolling box craze in America. Once looked at with raised eyebrows and quizzical glances, the 2012 Scion xB appears downright mainstream, especially when placed next to such competitors as the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul. In truth, the second generation 2012 Scion xB 5-door hatchback isn't as sharp edged as the first xB, and it has more power and interior room as well. More low-rider wagon than CUV, the 2012 Scion xB shines with its impressive build quality, strong resale, good fuel economy and feature-rich equipment list. It also shines brightly with aftermarket tuners and the SEMA crowd who can't seem to resist messing with a good thing.
If you need the kind of interior room and flexibility provided by a compact SUV, but you don't want the tall ride height or so-so fuel economy that comes with it, check out the 2012 Scion xB. Its simple car-like suspension and frugal 4-cylinder engine make it easy to live with, while its boxy design creates a huge cargo area.
If you need all-weather abilities like high ground clearance or AWD, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback can't help you out. If you want something fun and funky that can easily tackle a Nor'easter, try the Nissan Juke.
Changes for the 2012 Scion xB hatchback are limited to the addition of an upgraded Pioneer audio unit as standard equipment, and the availability of Bluetooth streaming audio. A new high-end Pioneer Premium audio unit is optional, replacing last year's Alpine radio.
Driving Impressions If you're looking for something to tear up curvy mountain roads, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback isn't it. However, if you seek a comfortable ride, nimble handling and enough interior...room to move the band and its gear, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback wagon will fit you like a glove. We like the way this Scion rolls, namely because its interior is pretty well insulated from outside road noise, and because its suspension does a nice job of absorbing rude road imperfections (also known as the San Diego Freeway). We readily admit the 2012 Scion xB's 158 horsepower engine doesn't thrill our enthusiast side, but it did make our boss happy owing to the few gas receipts we had to submit. The 2012 Scion xB hatchback's upright greenhouse and narrow tires make it feel a bit tippy in sharp curves, but we're pretty sure this is more an illusion than fact. To date, we've never come across a Scion xB on its back, wheels to the sky like some giant Japanese turtle. While we love the feeling of the manual shifter, we imagine most owners will opt for the four-speed automatic which, in a world of CVTs and 6-speed automatics, seems a bit antiquated.
Scion Accessories Catalog
With so many cool things to add to the 2012 Scion 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 2012 Scion 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 2012 Scion xB hatchback's slab-sided interior panels make for the perfect hauling machine. Tall passengers both front and rear are welcome inside this compact hatchback wagon, while those with abnormally long legs will also rejoice. Fold the 2012 Scion xB's rear seats flat and you'll create nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo space. While this figure is statistically matched by some small crossover utility vehicles, their sloping roofs or small hatch opening limit what can fit inside. Toyota's interior presences can be felt in the Scion xB's hard, dull plastic parts and stark absence of color or playfulness. About the only original thing inside the 2012 Scion xB's interior is the clean dash with a controversial center-mounted instrument cluster. Available options, such as the Pioneer Premium Audio upgrade add a bit of color to the xB's dash as well as a rich sound to its cabin.Exterior
The 2012 Scion xB hatchback masterfully combines blunt 90-degree angles with massaged edges to create a more fashion conscious bread box. Multi-reflector beam headlamp housings wrap around the xB's tall front fenders, and are separated by monochromatic grille and bumper combo. Moving to xB's rear reveals narrow side windows with dark privacy glass covering the rear door glass. The 2012 Scion xB's wide rear C-pillars create a look of solidity and strength, but they also create huge blind spots for the driver. Base models are admittedly boring, with no chrome fittings or cool looking wheels. Scion rightly builds the xB like this because they know its owners or going to drive it from the showroom to the custom shop, where paint, wheels and tires will be updated. For those who don't plan on dropping a few grand in aftermarket parts, Scion has a number of wheels, body kits and TRD accessories to allow you to customize your xB's look, then role the whole tab into your car loan.
With only one trim level, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback 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 2012 Scion xB hatchback 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, Pioneer Premium audio upgrade, fog lights and an auto-dimming mirror.
The xB shares its 2.4-liter dual overhead-cam (DOHC) 4-cylinder engine with its Scion sibling, the tC. Buyers have the choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic with sequential shifting. Both transmissions help the xB get good gas mileage, but not quite as good as the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul.
2.4-liter in-line 4
158 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28
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