By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.4
The Scion xB is the vehicle that started the rolling-box renaissance a decade ago. Now, nearly 10 years after its introduction and five since its last major revamp, the xB is starting to show its age while competing with vehicles such as the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube. In addition to those fresher rivals, the xB faces stiff competition from scads of crossovers such as the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. The xB 5-door hatchback isn't made for off-highway use and doesn't have the most powerful engine out there, but what it continues to do well is pack a lot of space in a small package. The xB also retains its youthful attitude, strong resale value, and the quality build that comes from having Toyota as Scion's parent.
If you want the interior room and versatility that comes with a compact SUV but not the tall ride height or marginal fuel economy that often comes with them, check out the 2013 Scion xB. The xB also appeals to the tuner set and those who like to customize their ride with distinctive wheels and body work.
If you need all-wheel drive for extra traction in foul weather or the ability to tow, look to one of the many competent compact SUVs out there, such as the xB's cousin the Toyota RAV4. The Kia Soul, meanwhile, has a fresher powertrain, lower starting price and longer warranty.
For 2013 the Scion xB receives minor exterior and interior tweaks that include a redesigned front bumper and new seat fabric. Available as an option is the BeSpoke Premium Audio system that is compatible with iPhones and can run apps such as Facebook and Yelp, and stream Internet radio stations.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Scion xB is neither a tarmac burner nor mountain-road carver, but it's relatively comfortable and nimble, and – because of its compact size – easy to park. The...Scion xB is front-wheel drive, and its sole engine is a 4-cylinder. The engine's 158 horsepower is adequate for getting this carryall up to speed, and fuel economy of 22 mpg city/28 highway are pretty good, but not quite as high as what you can get from a Cube, Soul, or Mini Cooper Clubman. In a world of 6-speed automatic transmissions and CVTs, the xB's 4-speed automatic is antiquated. A 5-speed manual is also available, and it's enjoyable to use. We appreciate that the xB is well insulated from road noise. Its suspension does a good job soaking up road imperfections. A height-adjustable seat and tilt/telescoping steering wheel, meanwhile, help drivers of various shapes and sizes find a suitable position behind the wheel.
The idea behind a boxy vehicle is the same as, well, as box: Sharp angles maximize interior space, and thus what you can put in it. If you regularly carry passengers in the rear seat, they'll appreciate ample room in the xB. Or, fold the rear seats and presto – you've got SUV-like storage space for your gear.
Scion's lineup is aimed at more youthful drivers, and that demographic takes particular care in making sure they stand out. Why should their car be any different? With that in mind, Scion offers numerous options for personalization, from carbon fiber window trim to hardware from Toyota's TRD performance division.
Despite the 2013 xB's tidy exterior dimensions, there's no lacking for interior space thanks. If you or your friends are tall, all parties should feel at ease in the xB. When not holding your buddies, the Scion's 3-person rear seat folds in a 60/40 split to open up a tremendous amount of cargo space – nearly 70 cubic feet. Back up front, controls are simple to see and use. There's little complexity here: If you want to adjust the fan to blow warm air on your feet, you can do it in about two seconds. With lots of hard plastic material and flat, simple surfaces, you won't confuse the xB for a Lexus. One interesting visual is the gauge cluster mounted at the top center of the dash.Exterior
Hunkered and squat, the xB is more like a low-rider wagon than the typical utility vehicle. With its blunt 90-degree angles and massaged edges, the 2013 Scion xB is akin to a rolling bread box. Above the high and broad side doors are windows whose blocky shape mimics that of the xB as a whole. The xB's wide C-pillars just aft of the darkened rear windows convey a powerful image in the aesthetic sense, but in the pragmatic one create blind spots. Along with the redesigned front bumper for 2013 xB models come a glossy black grille and LED accent lighting.
The 2013 Scion xB comes in just one major trim level and with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, making the selection process simple. Thankfully this car is pretty well equipped for the price. All xB models come with remote keyless entry, cruise control, and power windows. The standard audio system has six speakers and a 160-watt Pioneer AM/FM/CD player with HD Radio, USB/auxiliary inputs, and Bluetooth compatibility. On the safety front, the xB has traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, and a bounty of airbags. Also included with new xB models is complimentary maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles and two years of roadside assistance.
Most options for the xB have to do with personalizing the car or bettering its performance with parts from Toyota's racing division, TRD. Among them are sport muffler, lowering springs, a high-performance brake kit, and a limited-slip differential that works with the 5-speed manual transmission. Wheel options include 17-inch alloys or, for those who really want to roll big, 19-inch versions. New this year is the optional BeSpoke Premium Audio system that pairs with iPhones to harness app-based features including navigation and Internet radio. Twin screens mounted in the front headrests, meanwhile, can bring entertainment to rear-seat passengers. A limited-edition Release series offers enhanced interior and exterior treatments.
The 2013 xB uses a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower and runs on regular unleaded. Transmission choices are a 5-speed manual or rather a antiquated 4-speed automatic. Both transmissions help the xB get good gas mileage, but not quite as good as the Nissan Cube or Kia Soul.
158 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg
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."
4 people out of 6 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."
18 people out of 37 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