2009 Scion xB

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22 CITY / 28 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2009:
  • Stingray Metallic replaces Nautical Blue Metallic in the color palette
Scion launched early in 2003 with two 2004 models, the xA and xB. Scion's \"party in a box\" entered its second generation in April 2007 with the launch of the 2008 xB. The second-generation xB is built on the same platform as Toyota's very popular Yaris compact. That means the wheelbase was extended by 4 inches, producing a more comfortable ride, the company says. The new version not only got a slightly more rounded design, but grew by a foot in length and by 3 inches in width. The xB also benefited from a more powerful engine, a new platform with larger wheels and brakes, and a new interior with an upgraded audio system. As the xB was redesigned for 2008, changes for 2009 are minimal.

While the exterior design spouts some nice curves, there's no mistaking that this is still the boxy xB. The new design, based on the t2B concept vehicle Scion developed two years ago, is highlighted by vertical air slits cut into the front fascia beneath horizontal headlamps set on either side of a double-deck grille. The profile features a high waistline and nicely flared wheel arches with a rear spoiler extending the roofline. Inside, the instrument cluster offers the driver a choice of seeing clock, outside temperature, current or average fuel economy or distance to empty in the left-hand display.

Model Lineup
Scion models each come in \"monospec,\" meaning there is only one trim level, leaving consumers to select only color and transmission options, though many accessories are available. The xB comes with a long list of standard features including power steering, windows, door locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; 4-wheel ABS; six air bags; Vehicle Stability Control; tilt steering column with audio controls; and a first-aid kit.

The standard 160-watt Pioneer audio system in the xB includes iPod connectivity and a mini-jack port located beneath the heat/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) controls for easier access. This standard head unit integrates track, artist and album information from the iPod into a one-line display on the head unit's screen. Connectivity is achieved by plugging the iPod into a port via a connector cable. Music is controlled through the head unit and the audio control buttons mounted on the steering wheel. The mini-jack port allows users to listen to their portable music collection through the xB's Pioneer speakers.

Scion also offers an optional Pioneer premium audio system which adds several features to the standard head unit, including the ability to download \"skins\" to play on the organic electroluminescent (OEL) screen. Customers can download images, 4-second video clips and 8-second movies from Pioneer's Web site. For personalization, this Pioneer software also allows customers to burn their own images and movies onto a CD and upload them onto the available head unit. The faceplate light also changes from deep orange to blue at the touch of a button.

Power for the 2009 Scion xB comes from the same engine used in the sporty Scion tC coupe, a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder powerplant that pumps out 158 hp, 55 more than was available in the first-generation xB. That power reaches the front wheels through a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission that features sequential shifting technology so the driver can select gears as desired. The xB's engine uses what Toyota calls Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i). The xB is rated at 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway with either transmission and earns California's Level II Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II) certification.

The 2009 Scion xB is equipped with ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA) as well as driver and front passenger dual-stage air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, and front and rear curtain air bags. Vehicle Stability Control with traction control also is standard equipment, and the xB comes with a first-aid kit.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Scion xB receives 4 stars in frontal crash testing for both driver and front passenger, as well as 5-star side-impact scores (the agency's best rating) for both front- and rear-seat occupants. The xB receives 4 stars for rollover resistance. As of the writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) had not rated the 2009 Scion xB.

Because in-car entertainment systems are popular aftermarket accessories, the xB's optional premium audio system has rear head unit outputs allowing for the addition of external amps to boost power to additional speakers and subwoofers. All head unit features remain unchanged if this feature is used. Both the standard and premium head units retain key Scion audio system features such as Scion Sound Processing (SSP) so listeners can choose from three pre-set equalizer settings, satellite radio compatibility, a user-customizable welcome screen, MP3 and WMA capability, Automatic Sound Leveling (ASL) and Sound Retouch Technology (SRT), which provides clearer CD sound quality. Both systems feature 6 speakers: a tweeter and a speaker in each front door panel, plus two full-range speakers in the rear. Also available is a Scion navigation system with a 7-inch touch-screen display.


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