Review: the 2011 Scion xB is a life-sized bumper car with great brakes


If you told me right now you aren’t a fan of the Scion xB’s looks, I’d inform you you’re not alone. Then I’d advise you to go buy something silver and boring. But me? I’d rather drive something that looks inspired and even quirky. I’d rather have something that looks distinctive. That could be enough to win me over to an xB, but the happy news is that it’s also fun to drive.

I’ll cite the experience of my neighbor, who criticized her friend for buying an xB, saying she couldn’t believe her friend bought such a goofy car. Several months later she had to eat some crow. My neighbor drove her friend’s xB and fell in love. I tell you this dear reader, because sometimes you might read what us journalists say but believing it is a different matter, yes? The xB needs all the help it can get because it does have a fair amount of detractors.


What’s so special? The car looks feels like it has hot rodding roots. The xB’s windows have stayed narrow and high up on the body, leading to a chop-shop feel. And while the front bumper got smoothed out in the xB’s last iteration, the 2011’s back with a more squared off nose. Driving it feels almost amusement-park-ish. It’s so much fun, it drives much like you’d expect, immediate turning response almost like a bumper car and good braking. The speed isn’t too fast, as it’s a 158 horsepower 4-cylinder. If it were faster, the estimated mpg’s would drop from 22/28, no doubt.


Of course, it’s not a Scion without appealing to the teen/20-something segment and the aftermarket-looking Alpine stereo system accomplishes this handily. I tried very hard to only play music a teen or 20-something would listen to but that wore off quickly, despite the fact that it sounded fantastic.

What makes me happy in the xB is also how easy everything is to use. Well, mostly everything. The climate controls are simple and I got them right away. The aforementioned stereo had a modest learning curve, but it made sense and worked wonderfully. My most difficult issue was the instrument cluster being in the center of the dash. Actually, this was easy unless using the left turn signal which showed up on the right of the steering wheel and made me feel weird.

The backseat is easy for passengers to get in and out. The cargo area holds plenty of stuff, and the rear seats fold in case you need them to.

Loved the paint job, which was brown, but not too brown. The xB already has a funky shape, the color doesn’t need to be too hyper. It was a great balance. I loved the funky interior which was black, but now had a pattern on the fabric for 2011. Looks a bit lighter and didn’t show any lint, dirt, cracker crumbs, or whatever else. That is a nice treat for this mom.


For being distinctive, fun, and funky, I give the excellently priced ($21,442) Scion xB on the recommendation scale of:

Buy it

– Lease it

– Rent it or

-Forget it

a rating of Buy It!




SaraGrowing up in Colorado Sara Lacey was always kind to her cars.  These days however, she spends her time punishing automobiles with the help of her children.  Reviewing cars from the unique perspective of a woman and mom, Sara also writes for and  In addition, she sits on the board of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association.

If you like the Scion xB…you may also like the Scion tC:

Follow on twitter @TFLcar or watch latest car
review videos on YouTube.