Review: 2009 Scion xB

#Scion, #XB

Despite its compact size, the xB feels a bit awkward while rolling down city streets. This isn't due to the car's ride - it's actually rather smooth for a small car - but rather a function of the design. To start, if you're anywhere around 5' 9" tall, you'll find the least uncomfortable driving position is much like that of a city bus - back straight up, and the tilt (not telescoping) steering column in its most upright position. The chunky C-pillars create sizable blind spots, and you'll have to bend your neck down in order to see stop lights at intersections.

Surprisingly, the xB proves more adapt at tackling the open highway. The 2.4-liter offers plenty of torque, and when cruising at 75 mph in fifth gear, the engine isn't buzzing away at an insanely high rpm (unlike, say, the Honda Fit). The 102.4-inch wheelbase may seem short, but it's 4 inches longer than the previous car, and helps prevent the xB from being skittish over highway surfaces.

Is the xB still the top square? Well, both Nissan and Kia have crafted similar cars that are much more likeable around town. Still, for those who want a comfortable ride over long stretches of freeway but don't want to sacrifice urban agility, the xB may be the right box.

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