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Day 2

I was so impressed with the responses to the xB series we started yesterday got such an eager response I decided to pump out Day 2's findings first thing this a.m. One of the main faults of the xB is found in the ergonomics. No matter what you do the seating position never seems close enough to the dash. I'm about 5'10 and I found myself sliding the seat as close to the steering wheel as possible because the center-mounted gauges were so far away.

Unlike the Mini Cooper, which has a wall-clock sized tach inches from the driver's face, the xB's speedometer is at least 8 inches farther away than the stereo and environmental controls. Combine that with the relatively small size of the gauge and I find myself not even looking at it for most of my drive time. Otherwise the stereo controls are a bit tricky to get used to and I'm not finding the volume control too easy to use either. A/C however, is as simple as it should be.

What I like about the interior is what many people call fit and finish. That really means quality folks. Scion uses something that Mitsubishi also puts in their interiors and I can't understand why everyone else doesn't do it. Since every car has tons of plastic these days, these companies stamp geometric patterns into rugged black plastic. This gives it a nice tactile feel of grip and, unlike plastic stamped to look like leather, a level of quality. The best way to explain the xB's plastic is that it has dimples similar to a golf ball. Mitsubishi uses a more criss-cross pattern. Both should be studied by every company trying to make hip cars.

And how cool is the steering wheel? It feels great in the hands too.

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