First Drive: 2008 Scion xB
Exactly what you might not expect: a bigger, more adult xB.
The 2008 Scion xB reminds you of what was accomplished by the first 2004 xB, a car so shocking that the entire Scion brand still revolves around it.
Of course, it is true that the conventionally styled tC coupe now out-sells the xB. And you might remember that the company also sells a small hatch.
But since the xB hit the street back as a 2004 model, Scion's innovative commitment to personalizing its cars with optional accessories, its no-haggle pricing, and its thriving cultlike segment of borderline-scary owners, Scion is still recognized as the company that builds that funny box car.
So when it came time to design the all-new 2008 Scion xB, there was little chance it would be anything but a box.
Thinking Inside the Bigger Box
Odd as it might seem, what you see in these pictures and will begin seeing in Scion dealerships in a week or two is an Americanized version of the box thing. This is to say, the new xB is longer, lower and wider, and it has a bigger, more powerful engine.
The car that became the original 2004 Scion xB was never designed to American tastes. It was purely a product of Japan, where space is at a premium and styles, at least to American eyes, run from cutesy to what-in-god's-name. But this box is built for America, and there is currently no version of the new xB in the Japanese market.
At 167.3 inches, the '08 xB is longer by exactly a foot than the outgoing model. The new version is 3 inches wider than the old one. It rides on a wheelbase that's 4 inches longer. Its 16-valve, DOHC, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is the same that powers the Scion tC and the base-model Toyota Camry, and its increased displacement helps produce a maximum output of 158 horsepower, some 55 hp more than the previous motor.
If you looked only at the specifications, you'd think that the 2008 xB and Chrysler PT Cruiser were essentially the same car