2012 Scion xB Expert Review

3.2 Overall Score
Performance 3.2 Comfort 3.5 Styling 3.1 Value 3.2

Editor's Overview

The Scion xB is the biggest, priciest box in the compact cubist category. Not as quirky or charming as the first-generation xB that got squares rolling, the current model is a more practical, more versatile way to refuse placement in a round hole.

You'll Like The 2012 Scion xB If...

If you need the kind of interior room and flexibility provided by a compact SUV, but you don't want the tall ride height or so-so fuel economy that comes with it, check out the 2012 Scion xB. Its simple car-like suspension and frugal 4-cylinder engine make it easy to live with, while its boxy design creates a huge cargo area.

You May Not Like The 2012 Scion xB If...

If you need all-weather abilities like high ground clearance or AWD, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback can't help you out. If you want something fun and funky that can easily tackle a Nor'easter, try the Nissan Juke.

What's New

Changes for the 2012 Scion xB hatchback are limited to the addition of an upgraded Pioneer audio unit as standard equipment, and the availability of Bluetooth streaming audio. A new high-end Pioneer Premium audio unit is optional, replacing last year's Alpine radio.

Interior Features

The 2012 Scion xB hatchback's slab-sided interior panels make for the perfect hauling machine. Tall passengers both front and rear are welcome inside this compact hatchback wagon, while those with abnormally long legs will also rejoice. Fold the 2012 Scion xB's rear seats flat and you'll create nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo space. While this figure is statistically matched by some small crossover utility vehicles, their sloping roofs or small hatch opening limit what can fit inside. Toyota's interior presences can be felt in the Scion xB's hard, dull plastic parts and stark absence of color or playfulness. About the only original thing inside the 2012 Scion xB's interior is the clean dash with a controversial center-mounted instrument cluster. Available options, such as the Pioneer Premium Audio upgrade add a bit of color to the xB's dash as well as a rich sound to its cabin.

Exterior Features

The 2012 Scion xB hatchback masterfully combines blunt 90-degree angles with massaged edges to create a more fashion conscious bread box. Multi-reflector beam headlamp housings wrap around the xB's tall front fenders, and are separated by monochromatic grille and bumper combo. Moving to xB's rear reveals narrow side windows with dark privacy glass covering the rear door glass. The 2012 Scion xB's wide rear C-pillars create a look of solidity and strength, but they also create huge blind spots for the driver. Base models are admittedly boring, with no chrome fittings or cool looking wheels. Scion rightly builds the xB like this because they know its owners or going to drive it from the showroom to the custom shop, where paint, wheels and tires will be updated. For those who don't plan on dropping a few grand in aftermarket parts, Scion has a number of wheels, body kits and TRD accessories to allow you to customize your xB's look, then role the whole tab into your car loan.

Driving Impressions

If you're looking for something to tear up curvy mountain roads, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback isn't it. However, if you seek a comfortable ride, nimble handling and enough interior room to move the band and its gear, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback wagon will fit you like a glove. We like the way this Scion rolls, namely because its interior is pretty well insulated from outside road noise, and because its suspension does a nice job of absorbing rude road imperfections (also known as the San Diego Freeway). We readily admit the 2012 Scion xB's 158 horsepower engine doesn't thrill our enthusiast side, but it did make our boss happy owing to the few gas receipts we had to submit. The 2012 Scion xB hatchback's upright greenhouse and narrow tires make it feel a bit tippy in sharp curves, but we're pretty sure this is more an illusion than fact. To date, we've never come across a Scion xB on its back, wheels to the sky like some giant Japanese turtle. While we love the feeling of the manual shifter, we imagine most owners will opt for the four-speed automatic which, in a world of CVTs and 6-speed automatics, seems a bit antiquated.

Pricing Notes

Well equipped as a base model, the 2011 Scion xB with manual transmission currently has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and Fair Purchase Price starting around $17,000. An automatic transmission adds about $1,000. Since prices can differ substantially over time and from region to region, be sure to check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price to see what people are actually paying in your area. Overall, the xB costs about the same as a comparably-equipped Nissan Cube. In terms of resale value, the 2012 Scion xB is expected to hold its value in similar fashion to the Honda CR-V and Nissan Cube, but do better than the Jeep Patriot and Suzuki SX4.

Notable Equipment

With only one trim level, the 2012 Scion xB hatchback comes pre-loaded with many features that make it particularly attractive for the asking price. Inside, some of these features are air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a Pioneer audio system with six speakers, tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS), vehicle stability and traction controls and a first-aid kit. For music lovers, the lower dash houses an iPod interface and auxiliary audio input that allows song information and manipulation through the main unit via the steering-wheel audio controls. Gracing the exterior, a chrome exhaust tip and the choice of three wheel-cover designs are included as well.

Notable Options

Since the 2012 Scion xB hatchback comes with so many features already, many of the options are geared more toward personalizing the car. Such interesting options include color-customizable interior lights with matching cup-holder illumination, sport pedals, illuminated door-sill enhancements, in-pillar storage, a subwoofer, 17-inch alloy wheels and a color-keyed rear spoiler. There are a few more practical options that people may choose as well, such as carpeted floor and cargo mats, a navigation system, remote engine start, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, Pioneer Premium audio upgrade, fog lights and an auto-dimming mirror.

Favorite Features

Scion Accessories Catalog

With so many cool things to add to the 2012 Scion xB, one can easily push the price well beyond the $20,000 range. From audio, to suspension parts, to interior and exterior enhancements, the xB's accessories list is the ultimate car junky's play toy.

iPod Interface

Where many cars offer only an auxiliary audio input jack, the 2012 Scion xB also features a standard iPod interface. Plugging an iPod into this port allows it to be operated through the radio head unit. The plug also simultaneously supplies power to the iPod.

Under the Hood

The xB shares its 2.4-liter dual overhead-cam (DOHC) 4-cylinder engine with its Scion sibling, the tC. Buyers have the choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic with sequential shifting. Both transmissions help the xB get good gas mileage, but not quite as good as the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul.

2.4-liter in-line 4

158 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28

Editors' Notes

The 2012 Scion xB hatchback is the rolling box that started the rolling box craze in America. Once looked at with raised eyebrows and quizzical glances, the 2012 Scion xB appears downright mainstream, especially when placed next to such competitors as the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul. In truth, the second generation 2012 Scion xB 5-door hatchback isn't as sharp edged as the first xB, and it has more power and interior room as well. More low-rider wagon than CUV, the 2012 Scion xB shines with its impressive build quality, strong resale, good fuel economy and feature-rich equipment list. It also shines brightly with aftermarket tuners and the SEMA crowd who can't seem to resist messing with a good thing.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Scion xB Owner Reviews

64 Reviews
56% 33% 9% 2% 1 star 0%
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I wouldn't have picked it, but I do not want to trade it in now.

It was originally my mother's car. I do not think that I would have chosen this design myself-just the aesthetics are not my tastes enough to have made me look at other vehicles first. It is too boxy. I was a musician who was on the road up to 25 days out of the month 8 months a year, and I was often alone with just my 120 lb. 5 foot keyboard and 2. 5 foot cube of amplifier and the one thing that I can say in favor of this vehicle is that it would have been nice to have for the space and the relatively good gas mileage it gets. You can fold the seats down and fit a surprising amount of cargo in the back area and when you unload it, the seats flip back up easily and you are good to go. My boyfriend and I managed to pack a 3 over vintage sectional that I found online for an insanely reasonable price and I was sure that we were going to have to take two trips. But he and the seller managed to do it and I am looking at it now set up in the living room and that seems impossible. One thing that I absolutely dislike about this vehicle is the difficulty in backing up. It is not an easy car to change lanes in either. It has multiple blind spot areas and I thought it was just me. But I have let two different friends and a cousin use it for moving something and all three have started out with "it could just be me, but-" and proceeded to mention the same things. Two of them are guys, in case anyone was curious. Other than that, it is okay. Oh, the lights were left on when my dad was still alive and he jump started it and it has a feature where you have to go to the dealership if that happens or else it will not go into second gear or maybe it is their? Something weird with the transmission speed and testing. I was not living here when it happened and I cannot be sure if I have the right details.

- Pepper M

It's like the T.A.R.D.I.S.: Bigger on the inside than you would expect in a compact style car.

The car is very spacious inside, which makes for comfort driving. I have had no major mechanical problems with it thus far. One thing I like best is the size of the windows all around—it makes me feel safer when driving to have such amazing visibility. The height of the seats getting into the car are the right height—my back is much happier. One problem involves the sun visors. Because the side windows are much wider than standard, when you flip the visor to block the sun from the side it stops about six inches short of the window's far edge, which is usually where the sun seems to hit my side vision. If there were an extender built in that would be ideal. That's my only complaint thus far. Overall, I'm really pleased with this car!

- Amy E

The Scion XB: Speedy, Sporty and Storage Space for Days!

I purchased my purple Scion XB as a pre-owned car directly from the Toyota dealership and I've loved it since day one. It's faster than it looks! It takes off very quickly and stops with precision. The seats are comfortable and plentiful and when the back seats fold down the storage space rivals a minivan. It's economical to repair although I've had no major repairs thus far, just minor oil changes, and tire changes.The Scion XB handles well, gets decent gas mileage, has a sporty look and overall feels great to drive. I love this car and will drive it until it can't be fixed any more.

- Samantha L

Roomy and surprisingly powerful.

Much more power than expected. Also much roomier. The gas mileage is great and it runs beautifully. It is a very nice looking vehicle. I love that I can connect my iPhone to the sound system via Bluetooth. The sound system itself sounds great and is not difficult to use. The climate control system fulfills my needs more than adequately. I am a musician and haul my own equipment to shows. The cargo space is surprisingly more that adequate for this as well. My wife and I have taken a number of long trips in our Scion db. and it is always a comfortable ride.

- Eric B

My Scion XB, a great value.

I am a large person, almost 400 lbs, and yet I can fit in and drive my XB comfortably. It has good acceleration even though it's only 4 cylinders, has great handling, is easy and fun to drive and gets good mileage. When you pop the hatch behind the back seats it has decent storage and a luggage rack up top.In 7 years the only major part replacements, other than the usual tires brake pads wheel resurfacing and cabin, oil and air filters were the front and rear springs/struts. The only negatives would be no 4 wheel drive and limited towing capacity.


The space inside the car is better than a Honda Civic or Toyota Prius.

Very spacious. I love how small it is from the outside, but how spacious it is in the inside. It performs good for small distances. It can eat up some gas, but not as bad as a hummer. If you are really looking on saving gas, get a Prius. It rides pretty smooth, and I am really sad that they stopped making this model. There's not really any problems with the car just as long as you keep up with maintenance.

- Tatiana D

My Scion overall has excellent performance

My Scion is great. It drives smoothly most of the time and is decent on gas. It is pretty new and since I have kept up with the maintenance of the car, it runs like new at nearly 100,000 miles. However, it's only problems concern AC and alignment. In the summer, the AC does not work well. Also, the tires need an alignment because the car shakes when braking on the freeway.

- Marc S

A Great Reliable Hatchback

My vehicle is reliable and spacious for its size. Great mileage. I enjoy the low maintenance of it and how easy it is to keep the exterior clean. I wish the black interior was easier to maintain with having children, but reveals everything. The technology is not as advance as other cars in its age range, and the USB port is difficult to get access.

- Chanel H

2012 Scion Review lots of cargo space

This vehicle has been very reliable for us. I love the Bluetooth features and that the rear seats fold flat for transporting large dog crates. It has lots of headroom and the seats are more upright like an SUV than a car so your legs don't go numb on long road trips. I wish it had a navigation feature or a more updated stereo system.

- Megan E

It is basically a Camry with a different body.

Mainly size, compact but can carry large items such as dining tables and other household furniture. I made a tire change at purchase and got alloy rims with low profile tires and I dislike the ride and longevity and noise of the tires. Like the look but hate the tires, and they aren't compatible with the traction control on the car.

- Beverly T

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