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2012 Scion xB

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2012 Scion xB Review

Grown up or growing old?

Reviewed by Automotive on

The xB is the nameplate that put Scion on the map when Toyota first launched the youth-oriented brand here in the U.S. market. In 2008, the xB grew up, gaining a foot in length and about 600 pounds of weight while at the same time losing much of its charm, some suggested.

Like other Scion models, the xB is offered in "monospec" form, largely restricting options and simplifying the buying process, depending on how you look at it. The only real decisions to make before getting to the accessory list are what color paint is applied to the exterior and whether the transmission is an automatic or a manual. The aforementioned accessory list is quite long, however, and includes an upgraded audio head unit, plug-in navigation system, rear spoiler, rear-entertainment system with 7-inch screens, and 19-inch alloy wheels, among other accessories. There are also numerous performance bits available from TRD, including suspension and brake upgrades.

Scion's youthful, lifestyle-oriented marketing may not be for everyone, and first-gen xB fans may not like the extra size and rounder design, but the 2012 xB is a solid and versatile hatchback.

The Range

Bodystyle: Four-door hatchback
Engine: 2.4-liter inline-4
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Model: xB

What's New

The xB soldiers on with minimal changes for 2012: standard Bluetooth phone and streaming audio along with the new base and premium audio systems. The second-generation xB debuted in 2008 and received minor updates last year with revisions to the interior and exterior. Small price increases round out the changes for the grownup box.


Scion offers plenty of exterior customization accessories to spice-up the xB's boxy exterior, such as 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels and a body kit. Stock, the xB rides on 16-inch steel wheels and doesn't stand out much from the crowd, which was the original intention. Still, if you're looking for a car and you're into the boxy design, the xB may merit further investigation.


The xB's boxy exterior packaging results in copious interior room. With four passengers inside, not one will be cramped, even if all are six footers. Maximum cargo room is a cavernous 69.9 cubic-feet. A fully telescoping steering wheel was added last year, allowing for greater driver comfort. Some controls are more intuitive than others. As part of Scion's youth-demographic, there's a premium stereo with iPod connectivity.

Performance & Handling

The xB's 158-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides plenty of grunt for the boxy hatchback -- a stark contrast to the previous-generation's anemic powerplant. Though the extra power was necessary given the second-generation's xB extra size, it has resulted in sub-30 mpg fuel economy for the gen-two box. Despite its rectangular shape, the 3000-pound xB is relatively agile on its feet. At higher speeds, road and wind noise are noticeable.


An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, the 2010 Scion xB comes standard with dual front, front side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes, and seatbelt pretensioners.

EPA Fuel Economy

22 mpg city/28 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Copious cargo room
  • Lots of accessories
  • Solid power

You Won't Like

  • Lacks charm of the original
  • MPG could be better

Sum Up

Grown up or growing old?

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Kia Soul
  • Nissan Cube

See the New 2014 xB.

Front & Driver Side View