$4,933 - $6,220

2009 Scion xB Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Scion xB was new.


Performance: 7.8

Writers came away from xB test drives with impressions of a fun-to-drive car for the class, despite a few shortcomings with transmission or shaky handling. But in a time when gas mileage is on everyone's mind, reviewers can't help but categorize this small car's midsize-like fuel numbers as less-than-ideal.

  • "Fun, peppy and cheap, the xBox is a great car for short hops." -- Car and Driver
  • "It's nimble, fun to drive, and the brakes are outstanding, although the ride can be jagged over certain types of bumps." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The xB doesn't disappoint when it comes to daily driving duties." -- Edmunds
  • "We were surprised to see the estimated mileage ratings of 22 in the city and 28 on the highway. Shouldn't a four-cylinder car like this return mileage at least in the low 30s?" -- Popular Mechanics

Acceleration and Power

Only one engine is offered for the 2009 Scion xB, a 2.4-liter 158-horsepower inline four-cylinder that reviewers respect for its pep. But some of that good feeling is lost with reviews of a choppy automatic transmission. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2009 xB at 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

  • "The xB's new engine, while raspy, is peppy and fun to rev." -- Road and Track
  • "The downside to the added power (and the added size and weight) is fuel economy. … I achieved just under 25 MPG with both manual and automatic cars, which is below your average compact, on par with a mid-size sedan, and no surprise considering the xB's toaster-like aerodynamics." -- About.com
  • "Acceleration is spirited from a stop, even with the automatic transmission. …The automatic is sometimes slow to downshift for more power. Somewhat clunky shift action takes some of the fun out of using the manual transmission." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The automatic works fine, but we prefer the manual, which has a solid, tight-feeling shift lever and smoothly engaging clutch pedal." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

The revamped Scion xB's road personality is not without flaw, namely because its hefty curb weight affects the handling. But for the most part test drivers think it's a fun cruiser with light steering and responsive braking.

  • "Thanks to strut fronts and torsion-beam rear suspension, the car's handling is more deliberate than before -- a consequence of the increased curb weight -- but it's still a minor hoot to drive." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "We enjoyed a cushy ride with a well-damped cabin noise but never fell in love with the sitting-on-a-tipsy-bar-stool feeling that arises on twisty roads." -- Car and Driver
  • "The xB steers with a light touch, and turns of the wheel produce lively responses." -- Cars.com
  • "The brakes are strong and responsive." -- Consumer Guide

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