If you're on the West Coast, you've seen the Scion xB on TV, in advertisements within several magazines, and perhaps even driving through the streets of your hometown. The short-wheelbased, 1.5L-powered xB with lunch-box styling is hard to miss in a world full of massive SUVs and round-roof bubble cars, but there are a few burning questions that are undoubtedly echoing in the mini-truck world: "Do you like it or hate it?" and the more prevailing question, "Is this thing a car or a truck?"
The question of love or hate is a personal opinion, but the great thing about this tiny tot is that everyone seems to have an opinion on it. You either really like it or you really hate it, and this controversy has proven to be one of the driving factors in the success of the little newcomer. Other factors that are no doubt contributing to its success are the impressive amounts of standard features as well as the slew of factory accessories, thanks in part to Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
TRD offers performance upgrades such as 19-inch wheels, drop springs, a performance clutch, an after-cat exhaust, a front strut brace, a quick shifter, and an air cleaner to complement the optional AEM intake. Several cosmetic options are also available, such as clear taillights, a rear spoiler, carbon fiber appliqus, shifter knobs, sport pedals, billet doorsills, and multicolor LED light strips for the interior. Both the performance and cosmetic accessories can be factory-installed and are covered under the factory warranty.
Beneath the hood sits a 16-valve, double-overhead cam powerplant that boasts four cylinders set into a straight configuration. The 108hp multiport EFI engine won't be blowing the doors off anything from the line, but it's definitely fun to drive. A five-speed manual overdrive transmission ensures that you have plenty of gears to grab, both on and off the highway, and corners become nothing more than a blur, thanks to the wide wheelbase.
Heading up the factory sound system is an available Pioneer six-disc changer with multicolor illumination, an AM/FM stereo, and MP3 compatibility as well as an XM satellite receiver. Four full-range speakers are accompanied with two tweeters within the cab, and an available subwoofer rounds out the factory sound system package.
The Scion's tall roofline provides something that most mini-trucks do not - plenty of headroom. With the headroom comes seating for five, along with cargo room in the rear of the xB that sports plenty of space for speaker boxes or air tanks. A centrally located gauge pod, which contains all the xB's vitals, ensures that your eyes never have to leave the road.
So is this rolling box a mini-truck or a minicar? According to the makers of Scion, it's both; or as they say, a remix. The designers used familiar features from the likes of the Blazer and the Pathfinder, as well as the 4Runner, and mixed them with the minicar technology of today. This remix has produced a fairly inexpensive, yet highly customizable vehicle that will no doubt be seen sitting next to your truck at future truck shows. Who knows? You may even end up owning one.
Comfort and convenience features
Power windows (with one-touch Auto Down on driver's window)
Power door locks with remote entry
Power outside mirrors
Tilt-steering wheel column
Rear privacy glass
Tachometer and trip meter
Driver's sun visor
Sport front bucket seats with fabric upholstery
Cargo area under-floor storage
60/40 split rear seat
Amber instrument panel illumination
Choice of three wheel-cover designs
Multi-reflector halogen headlamps
Fender-mounted turn indicators
Intermittent front wipers
Chrome exhaust tip
Exterior ground effects kit (includes front air dam, rocker panel extensions, and rear valance panel)
Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit (MP3 and satellite controller capable)
Scion sound processing
Six speakers (including two tweeters)
Driver and passenger front airbags
Antilock brakes (ABS)
Vehicle skid control (VSC)
Driver and passenger three-point seatbelts
Three-across rear headrests
Three-across, three-point rear seatbelts
TRD Performance Options
Front and rear antisway bars
18-inch aluminum wheels
19-inch aluminum wheels