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 Day 1

The Scion xB is just a weird car. Let's get it out there. This isn't your everyday econo-box, even though it sure fits the "box" part of that term. The xB gets 30 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway but it doesn't look as sedate as it's Toyota Echo cousin. The box shape is the single defining attribute of this vehicle. There is no escaping it. People stare, make fun and then ask "Hey how much does that cost?"

When they hear the answer that our test vehicle, well equipped with power windows and locks, automatic transmission, 6-disc CD-player and stuff like ABS costs $15,115, including delivery charges, they're pretty shocked. So are we. Even though you won't get any incentives or ability to haggle with salesmen, the xB is pretty affordable for what it is.

The interior is spacious and versatile with rear 40/60 seats that are a snap to fold flat. Ergonomically the xB will put off many people. Whoever came up with center-mounted gauges was clearly off their rocker. After a full day of driving I have not yet looked at them while in the act of moving. That's not just confusing that's dangerous. Even worse when you flick on the left turn signal the arrow starts blinking to the right of the field of vision. Just plain disorienting. We'll see if a week of the xB gets us adjusted to the strange configuration but it's looking doubtful.

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