We’d bet if you never hear the expression “think outside the box” in an ad campaign or at another meeting, it wouldn’t be too soon. But in the case of the 2013 Scion xB, however, most of the good thinking takes place inside the box; in this case, the xB’s friendly, practical, boxy bodylines.
By Matt Stone
THE BIG PICTURE
Scion’s first generation Scion xB was the original, successful Japanese “box car.” It was aimed at young Gen Ys, being funky, practical, easy to personalize, and affordable. The Scion brand claims to be all about trendsetting, and little did the company know at the time that this car would ignite an onslaught of boxmobiles. Now, virtually every Japanese and Korean brand has something cast in a similar mold. But the Scion xB is the original, and was fully remodeled a few years back to be a little less square edged, offer a little more room inside, and a more powerful engine. Indeed, the current xB is and does all that, and even though the car was virtually all new just two years ago, it benefited from a substantial freshening last year which included revised bumpers, lighting, standard equipment levels and a few new colors. The Scion xB has Bluetooth audio streaming and HD Radio technology.
When you want to move or store a lot of stuff at home, what do you do? Put it in a box, right? That’s the notion behind the 2013 Scion xB interior packaging. It’s roomy in nearly every dimension, especially for what is basically a compact to mid-sized car. It comfortably seats five, and if you plop down the rear seatback, the cargo bay becomes cavernous, with room for lots of stuff on its mostly flat load floor. The design savvy among you will notice the unique instrument binnacle, set high on the dash, and angled toward the driver. The dash has several little storage cubbies designed into it so there’s always a place to toss your glasses or phone while at the wheel. The console is finished in a faux alumalook plastic that emphasizes the car’s “techy” nature. The flat roofline is relatively tall, with plenty of headroom inside for all but the tallest NBA players. As with all Scions and most Toyota products, the upholstery, fabrics, and plastics appear durable and of high quality.
The 2013 Scion xB is way family friendly, with the only bodystyle being a four door with a large hatch in back (or a five-door, depending upon how you look at it) so ingress and egress couldn’t be easier, with a nice low step-in height, so there’s no truckish or SUV-like nature to the xB. It’s amazingly roomy, and your friends, pets and cargo will all fit in comfort.
The 2013 Scion xB has airbags all around. Plus the usual stability programming, traction control, and four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock are all standard fare. The xB even packs its own first-aid kit.
GIZMOS AND TECH
The 2013 Scion xB comes standard with a 160 watt Pioneer AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system that sounds great and, as we mentioned, has recently added Bluetooth audio and HD Radio technology. There are plenty of speakers, and it all harmonizes for rich, clean, sound and there’s an AUX port and the system is iPod friendly. Power windows and door locks are standard, as is an anti-theft system with keyfob remote. The steering wheel offers a tilt/tele feature, and houses audio controls for ease and safety. The Scion xB is a well-equipped gimmick free car with no crazy stuff to add weight, cost or confusion.
One of the complaints about the original, first generation Scion “x-box” (sorry, Sony) was that it was underpowered. Not so the current model. Its 158 horsepower four cylinder engine moves the car smartly, and the four-speed automatic trans’ “manual mode” lets you shift the gears for yourself if you wish too. The xB will never replace a Porsche or sexy old Jag roadster in your driveway, but is plenty zippy, fun to drive, and kinda sporty, even. It just does everything well; its easy to drive, handles well, has great four wheel disc brakes, rides nice, and is relatively quiet – pretty cool for a box with wheels, no? And it’ll handle those Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Costco runs with aplomb, without being a big box, or a truck. Towing? Forget it – not made for that. If you need to haul a boat or trailer, shop elsewhere. But if you want to pack it full of friends and head out for a road trip to someplace fabulous (or even just a day of spa hopping), the Scion xB will get you, them, and all your stuff there in comfort, safety, and relative economy.
The Scion xB just does everything well; its easy to drive, handles well, has great four wheel disc brakes, rides nice, and is relatively quiet – pretty cool for a box with wheels, no? And it’ll handle those Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Costco runs with aplomb, without being a big box, or a truck. Towing? Forget it – not made for that. If you need to haul a boat or trailer, shop elsewhere. But if you want to pack it full of friends and head out for a road trip to someplace fabulous (or even just a day of spa hopping), the xB will get you, them, and all your stuff there in comfort, safety, and relative economy.
A sporty, stylish, affordable box mobile that gets good mileage and works as an everyday car.
Comfy, high quality cabin with lots of people and cargo space.
Hmmmmmm – not much not to like here. Nothing’s perfect, but little about this car will ever aggravate you.