By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/15/2011
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.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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.What's New for 2012
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 It 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.Favorite Features
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.Notable Standard Equipment
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.Notable Optional Equipment
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.Under the Hood
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
Well equipped as a base model, the 2011 Scion xB with manual transmission currently has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and Fair Purchase Price starting around $17,000. An automatic transmission adds about $1,000. Since prices can differ substantially over time and from region to region, be sure to check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price to see what people are actually paying in your area. Overall, the xB costs about the same as a comparably-equipped Nissan Cube. In terms of resale value, the 2012 Scion xB is expected to hold its value in similar fashion to the Honda CR-V and Nissan Cube, but do better than the Jeep Patriot and Suzuki SX4.