The 2013 Scion xB is a compact, competent carryall. More low-rider wagon than sport-utility vehicle, the xB has a youthful attitude, decent performance and strong resale value. Though it's starting to show its age in light of fresher competitors, the xB still offers a lot for the money.
You'll Like The 2013 Scion xB If...
If you want the interior room and versatility that comes with a compact SUV but not the tall ride height or marginal fuel economy that often comes with them, check out the 2013 Scion xB. The xB also appeals to the tuner set and those who like to customize their ride with distinctive wheels and body work.
You May Not Like The 2013 Scion xB If...
If you need all-wheel drive for extra traction in foul weather or the ability to tow, look to one of the many competent compact SUVs out there, such as the xB's cousin the Toyota RAV4. The Kia Soul, meanwhile, has a fresher powertrain, lower starting price and longer warranty.
For 2013 the Scion xB receives minor exterior and interior tweaks that include a redesigned front bumper and new seat fabric. Available as an option is the BeSpoke Premium Audio system that is compatible with iPhones and can run apps such as Facebook and Yelp, and stream Internet radio stations.
Despite the 2013 xB's tidy exterior dimensions, there's no lacking for interior space thanks. If you or your friends are tall, all parties should feel at ease in the xB. When not holding your buddies, the Scion's 3-person rear seat folds in a 60/40 split to open up a tremendous amount of cargo space – nearly 70 cubic feet. Back up front, controls are simple to see and use. There's little complexity here: If you want to adjust the fan to blow warm air on your feet, you can do it in about two seconds. With lots of hard plastic material and flat, simple surfaces, you won't confuse the xB for a Lexus. One interesting visual is the gauge cluster mounted at the top center of the dash.
Hunkered and squat, the xB is more like a low-rider wagon than the typical utility vehicle. With its blunt 90-degree angles and massaged edges, the 2013 Scion xB is akin to a rolling bread box. Above the high and broad side doors are windows whose blocky shape mimics that of the xB as a whole. The xB's wide C-pillars just aft of the darkened rear windows convey a powerful image in the aesthetic sense, but in the pragmatic one create blind spots. Along with the redesigned front bumper for 2013 xB models come a glossy black grille and LED accent lighting.
The 2013 Scion xB is neither a tarmac burner nor mountain-road carver, but it's relatively comfortable and nimble, and – because of its compact size – easy to park. The Scion xB is front-wheel drive, and its sole engine is a 4-cylinder. The engine's 158 horsepower is adequate for getting this carryall up to speed, and fuel economy of 22 mpg city/28 highway are pretty good, but not quite as high as what you can get from a Cube, Soul, or Mini Cooper Clubman. In a world of 6-speed automatic transmissions and CVTs, the xB's 4-speed automatic is antiquated. A 5-speed manual is also available, and it's enjoyable to use. We appreciate that the xB is well insulated from road noise. Its suspension does a good job soaking up road imperfections. A height-adjustable seat and tilt/telescoping steering wheel, meanwhile, help drivers of various shapes and sizes find a suitable position behind the wheel.
The 2013 Scion xB has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $17,530 for models with a manual transmission. For those with an automatic transmission, likely the choice of most buyers, the price rises to a still-reasonable $18,480. With options, an xB can reach into the low $20,000 range. For comparison, the slightly smaller Kia Soul starts at just over $15,000, while the Nissan Cube nearly matches the xB's base price. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the xB. In terms of resale value, Scions enjoy above-average figures, and the xB is no exception, with its long-term value expected to be higher than that of the Soul and Cube.
The 2013 Scion xB comes in just one major trim level and with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, making the selection process simple. Thankfully this car is pretty well equipped for the price. All xB models come with remote keyless entry, cruise control, and power windows. The standard audio system has six speakers and a 160-watt Pioneer AM/FM/CD player with HD Radio, USB/auxiliary inputs, and Bluetooth compatibility. On the safety front, the xB has traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, and a bounty of airbags. Also included with new xB models is complimentary maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles and two years of roadside assistance.
Most options for the xB have to do with personalizing the car or bettering its performance with parts from Toyota's racing division, TRD. Among them are sport muffler, lowering springs, a high-performance brake kit, and a limited-slip differential that works with the 5-speed manual transmission. Wheel options include 17-inch alloys or, for those who really want to roll big, 19-inch versions. New this year is the optional BeSpoke Premium Audio system that pairs with iPhones to harness app-based features including navigation and Internet radio. Twin screens mounted in the front headrests, meanwhile, can bring entertainment to rear-seat passengers. A limited-edition Release series offers enhanced interior and exterior treatments.
The idea behind a boxy vehicle is the same as, well, as box: Sharp angles maximize interior space, and thus what you can put in it. If you regularly carry passengers in the rear seat, they'll appreciate ample room in the xB. Or, fold the rear seats and presto – you've got SUV-like storage space for your gear.
Scion's lineup is aimed at more youthful drivers, and that demographic takes particular care in making sure they stand out. Why should their car be any different? With that in mind, Scion offers numerous options for personalization, from carbon fiber window trim to hardware from Toyota's TRD performance division.
Under the Hood
The 2013 xB uses a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower and runs on regular unleaded. Transmission choices are a 5-speed manual or rather a antiquated 4-speed automatic. Both transmissions help the xB get good gas mileage, but not quite as good as the Nissan Cube or Kia Soul.
158 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg
The Scion xB is the vehicle that started the rolling-box renaissance a decade ago. Now, nearly 10 years after its introduction and five since its last major revamp, the xB is starting to show its age while competing with vehicles such as the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube. In addition to those fresher rivals, the xB faces stiff competition from scads of crossovers such as the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. The xB 5-door hatchback isn't made for off-highway use and doesn't have the most powerful engine out there, but what it continues to do well is pack a lot of space in a small package. The xB also retains its youthful attitude, strong resale value, and the quality build that comes from having Toyota as Scion's parent.