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2015 Scion xB

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Why Buy a 2015 Scion xB?

Should You Buy a 2015 Scion xB? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

Now in its second generation, the youthful yet practical Scion xB offers all the cargo space of a midsize crossover SUV in a compact package with a total length more than a foot shorter than the Toyota Corolla. Owing to its tall, clever design, the xB feels much larger inside than its footprint would suggest.

The xB's styling is the opposite of sleek, but that box-on-wheels design has become a modern icon and is part of its charm. It also benefits from Scion's ownership by Toyota, builders of the most reliable cars on the road according to Consumer Reports and JD Power & Associates. The inexpensive xB, priced from under $19,000, has many upsides and just a few minor quibbles.

What's New For 2015?


The 2015 xB is a carryover from the previous model year, although it gains some new exterior paint shade options and a new standard rearview camera.

Top Ten Reasons to Buy a 2015 Scion xB - The Pros


1. Distinctive Japanese styling.

Related to popular products released as Toyotas in the Japanese domestic market, the box-like xB features a youthful image all its own. Its upright stance and slab sides come as a stark departure from typical compact cars that tend to look like curvy spaceships.

2. Excellent cargo space for such a small package.

The xB's split-folding rear seat goes flat into the floor to reveal 70 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than 5 times that to be found in a typical sedan's trunk and even more than most crossover SUVs. Even with the rear seatback in place, cargo space is generous in a well-designed hold with tie-downs for anything the driver wishes to haul around.

3. Large rear seating area.

Thanks to its short, stubby hood and extremely tall ride height, the xB makes the best possible use of its compact wheelbase in offering plenty of space for rear passengers. Where similar-priced traditional compact cars are not a place where average-sized adults would want to spend much time in the rear, the xB offers plenty of room to stretch out.

4. Youthful interior design.

Toyota positions its Scion brand as targeting first-time car buyers and other younger motorists. The formula has worked, as the brand enjoys the lowest average buyer age in the industry. The xB features sportbike-inspired center-mounted gauges and an excellent standard infotainment system with internet radio and smartphone-pairing apps. That said, its hard, plasticky surfaces leave something to be desired as materials quality could be improved.

5. Robust customization options.

Scion's claim to fame is its large stock of personal customization parts and accessories available for all of its car models. The xB is no exception, with periodic special editions along with aerodynamic kits, decals, color accents and special interior trim. While buyers will not be able to do too much to the car's performance from the factory save for some well-sorted TRD suspension upgrades, some accessories go a long way toward creating a visually dynamic ride tailored to each individual customer's tastes and preferences.

6. Powerful four-cylinder engine.

While the xB is no sports car, it does come standard with a well-respected 2.4-liter port-injected four-cylinder engine with 158 horsepower and 162 foot-pounds of torque. The car also has a little extra weight to move around compared with, for example, a Honda Civic, but its large-displacement engine brings effortless acceleration to highway speeds and makes sure the people-mover never feels bogged down.

7. Available traditional manual transmission.

In a day and age where traditional clutch-pedal manual transmission are disappearing at a rapid pace, the Scion's standard five-speed manual is a breath of fresh air and the best way to eke out every ounce of fun from this nimble vehicle. For those who would prefer the ease of an automatic, Scion also offers a four-speed unit that returns identical fuel efficiency.

8. Quick acceleration.

With the standard manual transmission, the 2015 xB accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in right around 8.5 seconds, quite a quick figure for the entry-level MPV and crossover class. It will not be winning any stoplight drag races, but the xB has no trouble putting power to the road, even when loaded up with 5 passengers and an interior full of cargo.

9. Legendary Toyota reliability.

While the Scion brand does not earn quite as high marks as Toyota's namesake brand and its Lexus luxury marque, the xB and Scion's other models still earn extremely high marks for initial quality and long-term reliability. Owing to a Toyota corporate brand ethos that engineers just a few engine and transmission combos then sticks with them over several model years, the xB will likely serve owners well for many years to come.

10. High resale value.

That same durability has helped Scion models including the xB maintain a high projected resale value. This often overlooked cost of ownership is the same for owners' bottom lines as slashing a couple thousand dollars off the purchase price as they will be able to recoup a larger portion of their investment when it is time to sell or trade in down the road.

3 Reasons You May Not Want To Buy a 2015 Scion xB - The Cons


1. Unimpressive fuel efficiency.

Owing in large part to the xB's boxy shape that is less than ideal for aerodynamics, the Scion fares relatively poorly compared to competitors in fuel efficiency. The EPA rates the xB at 22 city and 28 highway mpg with either transmission choice, a full 10 mpg behind what the most fuel-efficient MPVs and compact crossovers offer.

2. Noisy over rough pavement.

The xB's basic suspension construction with a tune designed to be taught and sporty makes it a rough and noisy ride over rough patches of pavement, speed bumps and even regular public roads. A little refinement and better fit and finish in the car's interior would go a long way toward keeping noise down.

3. Not the novel product it once was.

The first-generation xB, which debuted for 2004, came as a breath of fresh air in bringing the boxy hatchback wagon style to the United States that had already grown popular in Japan. The newer second-generation model, if anything, loses some of that charm as it goes in a slightly more conventional styling direction, even as competitors like the Kia Soul have managed to retain a distinctive image.

Top Competitors

The xB's most natural competitor is the copycat Kia Soul, a vehicle that has earned praise in its own right and in some respects has eclipsed the Scion that came before it. Buyers also may cross-shop it against five-door hatchbacks like the Mazda3 and Hyundai Elantra GT, as well as more-expensive compact crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Conclusion

While the xB is not as novel as it once was and blends into traffic more than the distinctive first-generation model, it is still a breath of fresh air among a field of compact cars that tend to all look the same. Buyers who can overlook its lower-than-average fuel efficiency will be rewarded with a stylish, versatile and durable car they can be proud of owning.
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