Review: 2006 Scion xB

The xB is destined to find its prime buyers among the young. But a practical nature and Toyota's track record for creating vehicles that live a long and relatively trouble-free existence make it equally attractive to freer-thinking boomers and even post boomers who appreciate the superlative ingress/egress and overall efficiency. Ditto disgruntled soccer moms who harbor the same basic revulsion for SUVs as they do for conventional minivans. Even with factory-blessed powertrain add-ons in place, the xB will be better at seeing taillights than showing them, particularly those of energetic alternatives like a Chrysler GT Cruiser or Mini Cooper S. But for those smitten by its appearance, its character and/or its wide-ranging individualization potential, the xB represents one very enticing bit of very cost-effective business.

While its iconoclastic appearance and youthful option set clearly skew the xB toward Gen Y consumers, its outstanding total value story resonates with buyers of all ages.

What's Hot

  • Packaging efficiency
  • Incredible value for money
  • Perfect for personalization

    What's Not

  • Econocar underpinnings
  • Modest performance
  • Controversial styling

    Changes for '06 are minor, and include three new wheel covers, a new audio head unit with rotator volume control knob, standard console-mounted mini-jack connector for portable music devices, and an available iPod connector.

    The xB boasts myriad cosmetic personalization touches, from carbon-fiber interior/exterior appliques and aluminum pedals to neon footwell lighting and multi-color cupholder illumination. On the functional front, intake/exhaust enhancements, wheel/tire upgrades, and TRD-engineered suspension bits head the list, while luxo touches include leather upholstery, a six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability, XM satellite radio, and a dual-screen rear DVD entertainment system.

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