2005 xB New Car Test Drive
The Scion xB is a box on wheels with strong styling that grabs attention, often from members of the opposite sex. It's a five-passenger wagon that doesn't look like a wagon. Nor does it look like a Toyota, though it's built by Toyota and carries the company's high standards of quality, durability and reliability.
As a result, the Scion xB feels tight. And it's quiet, with little wind noise and no squeaks or rattles. Inside, it's roomy and has a nice interior with controls that are easy to operate. The driver and passengers sit upright in chair-like seats and enjoy excellent visibility. As its looks suggest, the xB offers better cargo capacity than your average compact car.
It's easy to drive with good brakes and a smooth clutch, but it's no hot rod. Shifting into lower gears is needed for quick acceleration.
Scion xB ($13,680) comes in one body style and is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Buyers choose between two transmissions, a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic ($800).
It comes standard with power windows, mirrors and door locks; tilt steering wheel; tachometer and trip meter; 60/40-split folding and removable rear seat; remote keyless entry. It also comes standard with a six-speaker, AM/FM/CD Pioneer sound system engineered to read MP3 files and wired to accept an XM Satellite Radio receiver; the system has been revised for 2005 for clearer MP3-CD sound and now features a customizable screen.
And it comes well-equipped with active safety features: antilock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist (which increases braking pressure in emergency situations) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (which apportions braking force to the tires with the best grip); Vehicle Stability Control (which attempts to restrain a vehicle from spinning out of control by adjusting the application of throttle and brakes); and traction control (which reduces front wheel spin under acceleration).
Other than the choice of transmissions, Toyota offers no factory-installed options for the xB. Instead, a buyer selects from some 40 accessories to be installed either by Toyota at the port of entry or by the dealer. These comprise both appearance and functional items. Among the eye-candies are clear tail lamp lenses, rear bumper applique, body side graphics, LED interior lighting, carbon fiber shift knob, sport pedals, and an instrument panel applique. Adding function are a leather-wrapped steering wheel (red or gray), front strut tower brace, fog lamps, cup holder illumination, removable roof rack, 6-CD changer, satellite radio tuner and antenna, cold-air induction system, and an assortment of handling and performance goodies from Toyota Racing Development.