The 2012 Scion xB is a small, no-frills economy wagon big on interior room and fuel efficiency. Whereas the original xB had lots of sharp 90-degree angles, the 2012 xB is more proportional, a little larger and rounder and a lot more powerful. As compact cars go, the xB is accommodating, especially to taller passengers riding in the rear seat. Fold down the rear seat and the xB transforms into a mini U-Haul. With nearly 70 cu ft of cargo space and a tall ceiling, the xB can swallow items that won't fit into the average compact car. Cool interior features such as a Pioneer stereo with iPod interface and dealer-installed interior lighting upgrades help the xB curry favor with a younger crowd.
Another plus for the xB is that it holds its value well, though we can't say it has the bulletproof reliability and repair history of early Scion vehicles. Early model (2008-2009) xB models had complaints about premature oil consumption, and Toyota issued a Technical Service Bulletin about this problem covering 2006-2011 cars using the same engine. However, we didn't find much discussion on the Internet regarding the 2012 model, so the problem may have been resolved.
What We Like
Good fuel economy; a roomy back seat; big cargo area; smooth ride; customizable interior lighting options; strong resale value
What We Don't
Bland styling; drab interior; noisy at highway speed; not much in the way of passing power; awkward center-mounted instrument cluster
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The Scion xB is powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 158 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy with the 5-speed manual is rated at 22 miles per gallon city/28 mpg hwy. The 4-speed automatic transmission returns the same 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy figure.
Standard Features & Options
The xB comes in one nicely equipped trim level.
Standard equipment on the xB includes power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth, a 160-watt Pioneer audio system with USB input, RCA subwoofer outputs and HD radio, tilt steering wheel, plastic wheel covers, chrome exhaust tips, remote keyless entry, six airbags, electronic traction and stability control and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Options for the xB include enhanced 200-watt Pioneer sound system, touchscreen navigation, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a powered rear subwoofer, 17-inch alloy wheels, satellite radio, fog lights, a rear spoiler, customizable in-car color lighting for the footwells, cup holders and door sills.
Don't look for much in the way of bargain-basement pricing, as the 2012 Scion xB holds excellent resale values. However, the xB started well under $20,000 when new, so a low-mileage used model should still fit into most used-car budgets. To get an idea of the xB's price range, we suggest the used-car values at KBB.com. You also can search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see which models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued no recalls for the 2012 Scion xB at this time.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The xB earns good marks in NHTSA crash tests, posting four out of five stars in the front-end crash test, five stars in the side-impact test and four stars for the rollover roof-strength test. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awards the xB its best marks in the moderate-overlap, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
The Scion xB has a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Extended warranties purchased when the car was new are transferable, so be sure to inquire if the vehicle you are buying has an extended plan. Scion also offers a line of certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles through its dealerships. If you purchase a CPO xB, the warranty coverage for the powertrain is extended to seven years/100,000 miles from the vehicle's original in-service date. CPO cars also come with a 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive warranty, one year of roadside assistance and a free CARFAX report. Best of all, CPO customers are eligible for standard new-car financing rates. Vehicles that qualify for the CPO program cannot be older than six years or have more than 85,000 miles on the odometer.
Other Cars to Consider
Toyota Matrix -- The Matrix isn't as roomy inside as the xB but offers a more powerful engine and the option of all-wheel drive.
Kia Soul -- The Soul's styling is more expressive than the xB, and it offers more features and a more colorful interior. Cargo space is not as plentiful; however, the Soul's resale value is on par with the xB.
Nissan Cube -- The Cube's styling is more distinctive than the xB, and its interior is more youth oriented. The Cube also has better fuel economy but less horsepower.
With only one model to choose from, we suggest an xB with all the bells and whistles. Many of the xB's options are dealer-installed, so if you can't find what you want on the used-car lot, you can always upgrade later. Those seeking the best performance should opt for the 5-speed manual model, while those seeking the best fuel economy can go with either transmission, as the mileage numbers are identical.