2010 Scion xB Review and Prices

Last Updated: Aug 5, 2011

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2010 Scion xB Buying Advice

The 2010 Scion xB is the best car for you if you want a tall, spacious five-passenger vehicle more distinctive in style and character than most station wagons or crossover SUVs.

The 2010 Scion xB is a boxy compact wagon aimed at youthful urban buyers. It affords maximum flexibility as both a people mover and light-duty cargo hauler. A 158-horsepower four-cylinder engine makes the xB a lively ride. It comes with an impressive array of features for the money and can be tricked out with a long list of customizing accessories for those who don’t find its appearance unique enough. There’s room to carry four six-footers with legroom to spare and good cargo space behind the rear seats. For 2010, the Scion xB receives upgraded audio systems. The standard Pioneer 160-watt array features USB/iPod connectivity, a programmable welcome screen and RCA outputs for an external subwoofer. The optional Alpine system includes a 4.3-inch color touch-screen, an HD Radio receiver, and accommodates an available navigation system.

Should you buy a 2010 Scion xB or wait for the 2011 Scion xB? The current-generation xB debuted for the 2008 model year as the larger, slightly more conservative follow-up to the original. Scion is the youth-oriented sub-brand of Toyota, and based on the automaker’s product cycles, the xB will receive a major redesign or be replaced by a different model altogether by model-year 2012 at the earliest. It will likely see only minor changes for model-year 2011.

2010 Scion xB Test Drive back to top

The 2010 Scion xB features a truly expansive cabin -- particularly for what is essentially a compact car. It comfortably accommodates large adults front and rear and boasts more back-seat legroom than most midsize sedans. In fact, the xB often sees duty as a taxicab. It’s not a luxury car by any means, but the seats are reasonably comfortable and supportive. There’s generous storage with the rear seat in place and with the split-bench folded flat cargo-carrying abilities rival that of many midsize SUVs.

The 2010 Scion xB’s instrument panel is situated at the top center of the dashboard, not immediately in front of the steering wheel as in most vehicles. The placement is initially odd, but it’s easy to get used to because it still manages to put the most frequently checked gauges – such as the speedometer -- within the driver’s line of sight. While the cabin is bit on the plain side, ergonomics are otherwise excellent, with most controls straightforward and instinctive to use.

A generous assortment of standard features on the 2010 Scion xB includes front-side and side-curtain airbags, vehicle stability control, and a 160-watt Pioneer audio system with steering-wheel controls and full iPod integration. No factory options are offered aside from an automatic transmission, but a long list of dealer-installed accessories encourages xB buyers to customize. Some, like a GPS navigation system or upgraded audio system (with the ability to store digital images as custom “skins” for the LCD display) are functional. Most are just for show.

Among the more distinctive shapes on the road, the 2011 Scion xB is characterized by a sharply rectangular profile capped with a high beltline and narrow side windows. It’s one of the boxiest-looking vehicles this side of a postal delivery truck, though its overall appearance is softened a bit with a few subtle curves, particularly in the vehicle’s imposing-looking vertical front end.

A limited-production (2,000 units) Release Series 7.0 version of the 2010 Scion xB features a four-piece aerodynamic body kit and comes painted a distinctive color named Murasaki, which means “purple” in Japanese. The Murasaki rides on lowered springs, and features a sport exhaust system, exclusive black fabric seats with purple highlights, and a leather-wrapped RAZO GT Formula Spec shift knob.

The 2010 Scion xB has front-wheel drive and a 158-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder as its only engine. The engine is smooth and provides acceleration that’s more than adequate for a vehicle of this size and weight.

A five-speed manual transmission is the Scion xB’s standard gearbox, though it’s not the slickest shifter on the road. Unless you’re absolutely sold on a stick, the available four-speed automatic is a better choice (though we’d like to see at least five gears here); it operates efficiently and includes a manual-shift mode for occasional use.

With a fairly long wheelbase, relatively large 16-inch wheels and tires, with McPherson struts up front and a torsion-beam rear suspension, the Scion xB handles predictably and is reasonably fun to drive. Vehicle Stability Control and traction control are standard for surefootedness over a wide range of road conditions and handling situations. Braking is swift and secure, thanks to antilock brakes with large (nearly 11-inch) discs front and rear. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist functions are included for added control in emergency situations.

2010 Scion xB Prices back to top

The 2010 Scion xB price range is $16,520-$18,990 (prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Scion’s fee for the 2010 xB is $670).

The standard model is the most-affordable entry and starts at $16,520. Automatic transmission adds $950.

The 2010 Scion xB Release Series 7.0 is priced from $18,990.

2010 Scion xB Fuel Economy back to top

The front-drive Scion xB is rated at 22/28 mpg (city/highway), with either the standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. It runs on regular-grade gasoline.

2010 Scion xB Safety and Reliability back to top

In government crash testing, the 2010 Scion xB rates four of a maximum five stars for driver and passenger protection in frontal impacts and rollover protection. It receives full five-star ratings in side-impact protection for both the driver and passengers.

The 2010 Scion xB received “about average” ratings for initial quality and expected reliability by J.D. Power and Associates, the leading automotive consumer survey firm.

2010 Scion xB Competition back to top

Kia Soul: Another boxy urban-hip wagon, the Soul comes with a just-adequate 122-horsepower 1.6-liter engine in the base model, but includes a livelier 142-horsepower 2.0-liter powerplant elsewhere in the line. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with a four-speed automatic optional. Soul is well controlled and feels reasonably lively through the turns; the top Sport model adds a tauter suspension and other upgrades but it’s costly and rides rougher as a trade off for only nominally improved cornering. The interior is fairly roomy, though it’s not as spacious as in the Scion xB. Base price range is roughly $14,000-$18,000.

Nissan Cube: This compact wagon has distinctive styling that’s manages to be boxy and curvy at the same time. It has husky wheel arches and round-cornered windows with rear glass that wraps onto the passenger side of the body. Based on Nissan’s Versa compact car, the 2010 Nissan Cube shares that model’s peppy 122-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It drives the front wheels via either a standard six-speed manual transmission or a gearless CVT automatic. Cube’s smallish interior features what Nissan calls “casual lounge” seating with an adjustable rear bench; a side-opening rear hatch allows easy access to the cargo hold. Base price range is roughly $14,000-$21,000.