Monday, January 5, 2009

In the garage: 2009 Scion xB

We have a new test vehicle to report on for 2009. Introducing the 2009 Scion xB. We recently picked up our new tester and have been pleasantly surprised with it so far. Our xB is a black sand pearl model that is pretty much standard by way of options. Really, it is standard. No optional equipment what so ever. Not that it's a bad thing. What we did get is A/C a 160 watt Pioneer stereo with iPod and MP3 jacks, standard disc brakes w/ ABS, and just about everything else you'd expect to find standard.

Our car has the 2.4 liter DOHC 16 valve 4 cylinder that offers relatively good performance at 158 horse power. This is backed by a 4 speed automatic transmission. Toyota rates the fuel economy at 22 City/28 Highway. So far we have averaged 23.3 MPG, though it's not like we're exactly light on the gas.

So far handling has been ok, at highway speeds the steering does feel on the light side, same in wet conditions. So I would say don't go out there and hot dog around in those conditions. Perhaps this will improve as we break the car in.

Inside the xB is very roomy. the seats sit at chair height and are fairly comfortable. Only the driver is spoiled by the presence of a flip down armrest for his or her right arm. The central dash display is easy to read and nicely positioned in the center of the dash. I found that the cluster looks similar to that in a Dodge Challenger, looks wise. The radio, heater and A/C controls, and the gear shift are all right at your finger tips. And there are controls for volume and station selection on the tilt steering wheel. We noticed the lack of power out lets in the car to run accessories from, but not a major problem that can't be solved with a trip to Walmart. Storage is ample. Though the trunk area is a bit short. Especially when you throw suitcases and camera equipment at it. So you will have to keep the 60/40 rear seat down for medium to large hauls.

Our xB comes with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $16,700. And totals out at $17,320. after the $620 Delivery and Processing Fee is added. So the xB is both light on gas and light on the wallet.

Otherwise we will continue to fill you in with our further adventures with the xB and look for an update on our other fleet car the 2008 Mini.