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2015 Scion xB REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/5/2017

Con: Disappointing fuel economy; distracting center-mounted gauges; noisy ride; poor rear visibility.

Interior: The Scion xB remains a good choice for those who want to make their ride different from everyone else's, but is certainly no longer the only game in town. Interior quality also leaves something to be desired, as almost every surface is hard plastic. Many similarly priced vehicles have richer cabins. Other downsides included poor rear visibility and the quirky center-mounted gauges, which require too much of the driver's attention to scan easily.

On the positive side, the xB does provide a lot of interior space. Front and rear passengers will find plenty of legroom and headroom, and long road trips are a viable proposition, as the front seats are pretty comfortable. As far as cargo is concerned, the xB boasts 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and a cavernous 70 cubic feet with those seats folded. The liftover height can be a bit high when you're loading heavy items into the cargo bay, but this Scion can easily carry a weekend's worth of luggage for four.

Tech-oriented shoppers should consider the optional BeSpoke sound system. Besides adding smartphone app integration, it also includes a navigation system, and its interface is well-suited for younger, tech-oriented buyers.

Body: The 2015 Scion xB is a four-door, five-passenger wagon that is offered in one trim level.

Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, a rearview camera, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, driver seat height adjustment, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a trip computer and a six-speaker Pioneer sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD player, HD radio, an iPod/USB audio interface, an auxiliary audio jack and an RCA output for additional speakers.

While there isn't much in the way of official factory options, dealer accessories are plentiful. Among them are different wheels (16-, 17- and 19-inch), a variety of performance upgrade parts, foglights, a rear spoiler, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a premium BeSpoke audio system that includes a navigation system, additional RCA outputs and smartphone app integration (Internet radio, social media).

Driving: The 2015 Scion xB's driving demeanor should please many. 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 with the five- and six-speed automatics available in most other vehicles these days, it's a drag on fuel economy.

The ride is generally agreeable, but crossovers like the CR-V and Toyota RAV4 offer more comfort. In addition, the cabin is not exactly serene, as you'll notice considerable noise from the tires and the wind at higher speeds. The xB's slab-sided styling also makes it vulnerable to heavier crosswinds.

What’s New: For 2015, the Scion xB is unchanged apart from a newly standard rearview camera.

The front-wheel-drive 2015 Scion xB is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing, an automatic-equipped xB hustled from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds, a fairly quick time for this class of car. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is below average, however, at 24 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) with either transmission.

Safety: The 2015 Scion xB comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera.

In Edmunds brake testing, the xB came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet -- an average distance for a small wagon or hatchback.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2015 Scion xB its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The xB's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts. In that agency's small-overlap frontal-offset test, however, the xB scored the second lowest rating of "Marginal."

Pro: Spacious interior with above-average rear legroom; numerous optional add-ons; responsive four-cylinder engine.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 Scion xB is a capable compact people mover and cargo hauler that is surprisingly spacious and easily customized. Fuel economy and drivability are lackluster, however.

Introduction: If you're shopping for a car that combines practicality, affordability and a measure of flair, Scion might have just the vehicle for you with its 2015 xB. Despite its small, easy-to-park footprint (it's 14.5 inches shorter in length than a Corolla), this Scion offers plenty of room for four full-size adults as well as more than ample room for cargo. After sitting in the xB, check out a more typical small four-door hatchback, and the difference will be apparent as soon as you swing open the door. The xB seems a full size up inside. And when you need to haul stuff, flipping down the rear seat yields 70 cubic feet of space. That easily trumps what you get from other small hatchbacks or wagons, while besting even most small crossover SUVs.

Another perk of the 2015 Scion xB is its customization possibilities. In lieu of traditional factory options, the xB can be kitted out with any number of dealer-added accessories. Highlights include performance upgrades (such as lowering springs, a sport muffler and high-performance brakes), a variety of wheels, exterior accents and even cargo area nets and totes. We highly recommend the BeSpoke Premium Audio system by Pioneer, which includes a navigation system and smartphone app integration features like Pandora radio.

Indeed, we thought enough of the well-rounded Scion xB that it earned a solid "B" for our overall Edmunds rating. However, there are significant demerits. The primary one is fuel economy, where the 2015 Scion xB falls short of its competitors. At an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined, the xB rates a few mpg below the similarly small, tall and style-oriented 2015 Kia Soul. Furthermore, even some top-ranked small crossover SUVs, such as the 2015 Honda CR-V and 2015 Mazda CX-5, do substantially better. Also, wind and road noise are rather noticeable at higher speeds. Overall, though, we think people shopping for a compact wagon or hatchback will be pretty happy with the 2015 Scion xB, especially if interior space is a priority.

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