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#24

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $16,970 - $17,920
Invoice: $16,122 - $17,024
MPG: 22 City / 28 Hwy
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Scion xB Performance

Test drivers say the 2014 Scion xB has good power from a stop, and that acceleration is decent on the highway. While some say the xB’s ride is comfortable, others report that it can be firm.

  • "The 2014 Scion xB isn't fast or furious, but it is reliable and dependable. The feeling from behind the wheel is one of stability and comfort, nimble in tight city confines yet more than capable when the road begins to twist." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Demerits? Well, the 4-speed automatic transmission gives us '90s flashbacks (most rivals have five or six speeds), and it's one of the main culprits in holding the highway fuel economy below 30 miles per gallon. Same goes for the standard 5-speed manual shifter.” -- AutoTrader
  • "The ride is firm and controlled, which is unexpected for the price and class. Lots of road feel means even small bumps are felt by passengers, but only large ones create a jolt." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Scion xB is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a four-speed automatic is optional. The xB achieves an EPA-estimated 22/28 mpg city/highway with either transmission, which is low for the class.

Test drivers say the xB has a peppy engine with good acceleration from a stop, though acceleration is only adequate when driving on the highway. They’re disappointed with both the manual and automatic transmissions, saying they’re outdated, and point out that rival cars with more modern six-speed transmissions get better fuel economy.

  • “Off the line, the xB really scoots, and the acceleration only tapers off once its bricklike exterior hits highway velocities. Unfortunately, both transmissions are down on speeds relative to most rivals. Although they work well enough, they're also largely to blame for the xB's subpar fuel economy.” -- AutoTrader
  • "With only 158 horsepower under the hood, the xB isn't going to get into much trouble, at least not quickly. However, the xB does afford enough power to permit quick sprints up an onramp or when jumping into traffic from a dead stop." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “It's easy to drive, and the 2.4-liter engine offers relatively quick acceleration for this class of car. Most consumers will be happy with the performance from the four-speed automatic transmission, but compared to the five- and six-speed automatics available in compact crossover SUVs, it's a drag on fuel economy." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "The manual's clunky shift action takes some of the fun out of using it." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

Some automotive writers report that the xB has accurate, low-effort steering, while others think the steering is a bit numb. Most reviewers say its body can lean in sharp turns, though they think it’s controlled in most driving situations. All test drivers think the xB is easy to maneuver and park thanks to its tight turning radius and diminutive size. While some say the ride quality is adequately comfortable, others note that the xB can occasionally feel stiff. Critics like that the brakes are powerful.

  • "We admire the xB's responsive steering, though handling limits are ultimately quite low. The ride is firm and noisy at times. Not the last word in refinement, this xB.” -- AutoTrader
  • "Handling is fairly well controlled, but there is moderate body lean during aggressive cornering. Road feel is somewhat vague, but a tight turning radius and light steering feel aid low-speed maneuverability. The brakes are strong and responsive enough for everyday use." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The ride is generally agreeable, but crossovers like the CR-V and RAV4 offer more comfort." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/16/14

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