2006 Scion xB: Weird & Wonderful
Safety: Front crash tests are very good, with weaker side and rear results. The xB raises the safety bar somewhat by including as standard these features: 4-wheel ABS, Traction Control, Brake Assist, AND Electronic Stability Control. These are all in the category of "Accident Avoidance" and so are not reflected in crash test reports. On balance, in my opinion, the xB is among the safest of small vehicles on the road.
Comfort: A combination of very comfortable seats front and rear with higher seat bottoms and wide opening doors, makes ingress and egress very smooth and simple (I have to contort to get into our Lexus ES330). Once inside the seats are firm and embracing. Legroom and headroom are outstanding for all. Driving position is excellent. Comfortable even on 11 hour drives, which my son and I made right after our purchase. The AC is very cold and easy to control. The cooling blows hard and cold, making it a winner in 100 degree summers in El Paso, TX.
Economy: The first generation xB's through 2006 do better than the newer and heavier xBs, The rating is 30MPG city and 34MPG highway (about the same as a Civic or Fit). I don't check our MPG but given the shape I suspect you would only see the 34MPG at speeds of 55MPH and the MPG would drop off at higher cruising speeds. I don't know of any other car that delivers this level of MPG along with the utility of a small SUV.
Performance: Power comes from a 103HP Toyota Yaris engine. I find it to be peppy in 90% of driving situations and weak in the other 10% such as ascending hills and passing. As a driver of this unique car, a few days in the saddle and you learn to anticipate those 10% issues and compensate by better driving. I have no complaints. The car cruises along just fine at 75MPH and is happy at even higher speeds and can go on for hours like that. Transmission is smooth and effective.
Utility: An excellent car for running errands, as it has full versatility of an SUV and then some. Both front seats fold flat to create a 2-person sleeping space using the front seat's bottom seat and seat back along with the rear seat bottom. Or, fold down the rear seat backs to create an SUV. We also bought a roof rack for hauling things from the home improvement store such as sheet stock and doors.
The rack completes the "Dork Effect" appearance very nicely.
Driveability: Outstanding visibility in every direction. The height of the windshield makes for awsome front visibility. These things also contribute to accident avoidance and safety. The brakes have beautiful performance and feel. The steering is tight and precise. It is a car you'll look for excuses to get in and drive.
Reliability: This is your basic Toyota. ZERO problems in nearly 100,000 miles, and it feels like new.
Base car features: All the brake and safety stuff above, plus keyless entry, power windows and side mirrors, a 160 Watt Pioneer stereo with single CD, MP3 in outlet, and steering wheel controls. Intermittent wipers, and not much else. We added a $79 center armrest. There is no cruise control.
Suggestions: We bought this used with newer but no-name tires. We replaced with Michelin Harmony at Costco for $415 w/tax and after the $70 factory discount and it was money well spent - quiet, tight handling.
Very well conceived and built tiny SUV.
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