$5,423 - $8,080

2011 Scion xB Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Scion xB was new.


Performance: 7.6

The 2011 Scion xB's performance won't blow anyone away, but it should keep you satisfied in the city or on the highway. However, the boxy car's gas mileage isn't great, and it can feel top-heavy in turns.

  • "Fun, peppy and cheap, the xBox is a great car for short hops." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Scion xB can keep up with the majority of the cars on the road -- finally. It's certainly no rocket, but neither are any of the other cars you can get for under $18,000." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Thanks to a relatively high center of gravity, the xB rolls significantly during cornering, but it feels responsive and confident at lower speeds. Over rough surfaces, the suspension transmits ample impact harshness into the cabin, and road and wind noise are constant companions." -- Edmunds
  • "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

 Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Scion xB's only engine is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower, which is ample for the class. But auto writers say the enthusiastic engine hurts the car's fuel economy. The EPA rates the 2011 xB at 22/28 mpg city/highway. If you're looking for better fuel economy in your boxy ride, check out the Kia Soul.

  • "The 2.4-liter engine borrowed from the sporty Scion tC might not move the xB out of econobox territory, but it certainly powers the xB to the front of the field." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "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. Low- and mid-speed passing punch are fine, but highway passing power disappoints." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The automatic transmission, which should be a dud because it's a four-speed instead of a five, contributes to the joy. In auto mode it shifts up crisply and promptly, interrupting the flow of engine power almost not at all. It downshifts well, though sometimes after a pause you didn't request." -- USA Today

Handling and Braking

For the most part, test drivers think the 2011 xB is a fun cruiser with light steering and responsive braking. Some do note the hatchback's heavy curb weight means that the xB can't be tossed into turns as enthusiastically as other small cars. If you're looking for something that's more agile, consider the Honda Fit.  Just know that the Fit doesn't have as much power as the xB.   

  • "There is moderate body lean in fast turns, and the steering response is slightly vague. A tight turning radius and light steering feel aid low-speed maneuverability. The brakes are strong and responsive." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Seems to be most at home on urban roads, handling the asphalt with a smooth and noticeably quiet ride, thanks to an improved suspension and noise-dampening materials. On rural roads the xB seems a little sluggish, feeling slightly top-heavy through curves and corners." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Steering is quick and the ride is supple. Handling is decent for a high vehicle, and braking won't cause anxious moments." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • "The xB steers with a light touch, and turns of the wheel produce lively responses." -- Cars.com
  • "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

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