The Scion xB was built on the premise that in order to "think outside the box," you might have to actually build a box. Although the current xB is less square than the original model, the latest generation is more refined and has gained a little extra size to cater to American buyers. The new xB is longer, wider and lower, but still has a lot of the same functionality and unique character as its predecessor. In addition, the 2011 model has received a subtle facelift including redesigned headlamps, a honeycomb grill and larger outer vents on the bumper.

We're sad to see the single, off-center back-up light give way to a more traditional setup, but the xB remains a solid choice when it comes to budget-friendly transportation that's also very functional. It all amounts to a lot of value wrapped up in a cool little box.

 Here are five reasons to consider the 2011 Scion xB:

1. It's a Toyota: Under its cool, hip exterior, the Scion xB is a Toyota. As the carmaker that essentially wrote the book on reliability, Toyota's models continue to achieve top scores with consumer magazines and owners alike. You may buy a Scion because it looks cool or makes some kind of a statement, but the truth is the Scion xB will be just as reliable as your parents' Camry.

2. The Box is Roomy: It's true the xB may not be as unique as it once was, thanks to imitators like the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul, but it still reigns supreme in space and functionality. The xB's boxy shape gives you more cargo space than most of its competition, including some midsize SUVs. There's a wealth of headroom and very generous rear seat accommodations. A new telescoping steering wheel makes it easy to find that sweet spot, even for tall drivers.

3. Value is Standard: For a low starting price of just $16,000, you get a ton of standard features. Included are 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, rear window tint, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, driver seat height adjustment, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, trip computer, six-speaker Pioneer sound system with CD player, iPod/USB audio interface, auxiliary audio jack, customizable display and an RCA output for additional speakers. That's a lot of car for a only a relatively small amount of money.

4. Options Galore: Scion has always been about personalization, and the xB offers plenty of options for doing just that. For 2011, the Release Series 8.0 features VooDoo Blue paint, a sunroof and blue interior accents. Even if you opt for a standard issue xB, you can choose from 16-and 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, rear spoiler, remote start, ambient multicolor lighting, shift knob choices, auto-dimming mirror, headrest-mounted DVD screens, satellite radio, a subwoofer and an Alpine Premium audio system with touchscreen controls. A back-up camera and a navigation system can be added to the Alpine setup as well.

5. A Safe Bet: The 2011 Scion xB comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In frontal offset crash testing and side impact crash tests, the Scion xB earn a "Good" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the lobbying group's highest rating.

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Brian Moody heads up the AutoTrader.com editorial team. An automotive writer and presenter for more than 12 years, he's contributed to such media outlets as CNBC, Edmunds.com, Fox Business, Speed TV and The Today Show.

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