Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Scion xB Release Series 8.0 - Big Blue

I'm finishing up a week with the Scion xB in Voodoo Blue. It's fun to say that color out loud (lots of people commented on it and I had to tell them). It was easy to find the box-bodied car in the parking lot, too.

The xB, in its second generation, is a bigger car than the original box, which we could buy here in the U.S. from 2004 to 2007. This one has the larger 158-horsepower engine from the tC coupe, Scion's bestseller. It's not as shamelessly cute as the first one.

But it's a handy car to have around and turned out to be a nice commuter. You don't get as much wind noise as you might think from driving a brick through the air at 70 mph. The sound system made friends with my iPod, hiding in the center console bin. The rear seats are quite spacious. My nearly six-foot-tall son remarked on it without me asking. Those seats flip down in a second to accommodate cargo, including upright basses, boxes and what have you.

My car came with an automatic, and it looks like that's what Toyota dealers have in stock--I checked at my local auto emporium. This is no sports car, but it does feel zippy at least. I got 24 miles per gallon, which is OK but nothing to get excited about.

The Release Series 8.0 sounds like software, and is presumably meant to appeal to young buyers who are familiar with the nomenclature. My car was one of 2,000 made in the series--and had an illuminated badge on the transmission console to prove it (it was number 1112).

My test car retailed at $23,186, including special 17-inch wheels and tires, upgraded Alpine stereo, carbon fiber window trim, Bluetooth system and Scion Security.

Special editions help a car sell when it's been around awhile. I'll be interested to see where the xB goes in its third generation--if there is one.

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