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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Scion xB Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Scion xB Overview

Bigger Than a Breadbox and Shaped Like One Too

You cant deny that the most efficient device for packing goods is the box. So it seems only logical that the shape has made its way to the automobile in the form of the new Scion xB. Scions newest entry into the Gen Y demographic is more than just a series of right angles on wheels, it is a hip, stylish mode of transportation thats as inexpensive to operate as it is to own.

In case you are not familiar with Scion, heres the scoop. Scion was created by Toyota to win back many of the young 16-24 year-olds that have drifted away from the companys small car offerings. The xB is one of two Scion products, the other being the slightly smaller xA. The idea behind both vehicles is to build a high-quality product with strong appeal to younger buyers at a price that most can afford.

As you can see, the xB has a decidedly Japanese look. Its boxy shape, small wheels and radical interior convey the type of ultra-modern styling so often seen in Japanese concept cars. How the styling will take here in the U.S. is still an unanswered question, but if the response we received while driving our test vehicle is any indication, there is at least some curiosity about the xB amongst people of all ages.

With its starting price just a hair over $14k, the xB certainly wont break the bank when it comes to monthly payments. Nor will it hurt much at the pump where you will require a mere twelve gallons of gas to take you over 400 miles (thats highway driving with the manual transmission). You wont even have to sacrifice interior room because the xBs clever design provides ample head, hip and legroom for four adults while still leaving room for gear behind the second-row seat. Now we are not saying that the xB can replace a full-size SUV, but if you dont need the ability to tow or go off-road, and its just the two of you and some overnight bags, camping gear or even two large dogs, the xB is more than adequate to handle the task.

Power for the xB comes from Toyotas excellent 1.5-liter VVTi engine. Though it looks rather mild on paper, the xBs little 108-horsepower motor delivers a zippy performance with the five-speed manual and somewhat less aggressive gains with the optional four-speed automatic. The xB feels pretty peppy when you are piloting solo, but pile in some friends and cargo and the added weight makes uphill climbs and passing maneuvers a bit of a struggle. On the plus side, the xBs electronic automatic knows enough to hold onto the lower gears when needed, making the most of the engines mild torque. You can get a few more horsepower out of the engine by opting for the dealer-installed cold-air intake kit that changes out the standard air filter for a high-flow unit, helping the engine to breathe better.

Climb inside and youll find a very cool interior whose materials, fit and finish far exceed anything in this price range. The center-mounted instrument cluster is artful, but some may find that the smallish speedometers 20-mph intervals make it difficult to gauge where the markings for 55 and 65 rest. The HVAC and audio controls are placed just below the instruments where they are easy to see but require a bit of a reach when the drivers seat is fully retracted. The xBs optional Pioneer six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player sounds fantastic, especially when teamed with the optional Bazooka subwoofer. Beyond its great sound and massive music storing ability, the Pioneer head unit has 10 preset color options for you to choose from. Another cool interior option is the light package that includes a lighted drink cup holder and deep-red foot well lighting.

On the road, youll find that the xB delivers a fairly balanced and controlled ride. Scion says the xBs suspension settings are dialed in right where younger drivers like them and we would have to agree. The xBs steering is precise and predictable with little understeer or body lean. Credit for the xBs handling must be given to the standard Vehicle Stability Control and traction control that helps keep the xB on course. Once underway, youll notice that even at highway speeds, the xBs cabin remains calm and quiet, a testament to the layers of insulation that surround the passenger compartment.

The xB comes standard with air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, tilt-wheel, remote keyless entry, rear defroster, five-speed manual transmission, alloy wheels, fog lamps and a rear spoiler. Options include front side-impact airbags, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a carbon-fiber shift knob in your choice of four colors.

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