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Toyota has been taking plenty of hits from environmental groups of late for playing up a green image while working behind the scenes to neuter new fuel economy standards. The big Tundra pickup has gotten most of the attention as a gas hog, but another more diminutive model has taken a big mileage hit for 2008 and not because of the EPA's new test procedures. After the mileage of the original Scion xB was adjusted downward based on the new tests, the mileage of the automatic transmission model was rated at 26/31/28 city/highway/combined. The new 2008 model is rated at 22/28/24 mpg.

After driving the xB for a week I averaged 23.4 mpg in my usual mixed driving cycle. Why the big drop? The 2008 xB is over 630 lbs heavier than the previous iteration and a foot longer. The original xB was based on the platform of the previous generation Toyota Yaris/Vitz and was sold in Japan as the Toyota bB. The new US market xB is based on the larger heavier Corolla platform. In Japan a new redesigned bB is still available based on the smaller architecture.

Why isn't our xB based on the new bB? Toyota probably felt that Americans would prefer a larger more powerful car and buy them in larger numbers. Were they right? It's probably too early tell as there was a gap in availability between the old and new models. So far the new one is selling at a slower monthly rate than the original. We'll watch this but for now if you want to know what Dan Roth and I thought of the new xB head over to Autoblog for a full review. It will also be interesting to see if the anti-Toyota crowd starts picking on the xB as well.

[Source: Autoblog]

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