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Scion O' the Times

Is the scion xb the next hot topic?

Robert Choo
Jan 16, 2004 SHARE

There's no such thing as having too many cars. You need a daily driver, usually a nice four door like an E-class Mercedes, a Lexus GS300, or an Infiniti G35. Then there's your fun ride, something sporty like a Supra twin-turbo or an NSX. You also need a car to haul your junk around, like a good truck or SUV. And lastly, you should have a weekend cruiser that you can roll to the local hang out. That's where the Scion xB comes into play.

Scion is a new youth division of the Toyota Motor Company. Turbo teamed up with Earl Mangune of PDO Parts in Irwindale, Calif., to trick out one of the first xBs in the USA for the 2002 SEMA Show. We received the vehicle only five weeks before SEMA, so time was precious. Fortunately, we already had plenty of parts lined up for it.

Our first stop was Blitz North America for a supercharger kit, which pumps 6 psi and really moves "The Box." Dyno tests showed the kit produces an additional 25 percent of power. Let's just say our boosted 1.5-liter surprised a couple of Civic drivers who thought they'd take us out.

Along with the supercharger kit, we installed a transmission cooler to help keep the oil in the tranny at optimal operating temperatures. Blitz DC gauges (boost, oil temp, oil pressure) were custom installed into the dash. A Blitz Power Meter keeps tabs on how much power we are putting to the ground at all times. Rounding out the Blitz electronics is a FATT DC turbo timer allowing the engine to cool after a long drive.

Next we focused on the suspension and braking systems. Blitz's set of lowering springs gave the xB the cruiser look we wanted. Wilwood helped us custom fabricate a six-piston caliper and 13-inch rotor upgrade for the front and a stout four-piston caliper and 13-inch rotor setup out back. Making the most significant rolling statement are the 18x7.5 Professor SP-1 forged aluminum wheels made by Speed Star Wheels Japan wrapped with Toyo gumballs.

With the suspension squared away, the interior was next. The driver and passenger seats were replaced with Momo Street Racer GTs that were restitched in a silver-and-blue suede trim. The rear seat and door panels were also restitched by Katzkin Leather Interiors to match the front seat. A blue interior lighting kit from Scion, which complements the blue interior trim, completed the interior. Four-point Momo seatbelt harnesses and pads round out the interior mods.

Lastly, a sound system from Pioneer was added by Brandon Inoue of Sound Q. The trunk houses four TS-W1041C 10-inch Pioneer subwoofers and four GM-X962 760-watt two-channel amplifiers. There are four TS-D160R 6.5-inch speakers in the four doors and two 4-inch speakers in the dash. A custom 4-inch center channel was added below the ashtray for the full surround sound effect. For a visual sensory overload, we added an AVH-P7490DVD in-dash TV/DVD player, one AVD-W6000 6.5-inch monitor and one AVR-W6100 overhead monitor. The entertainment system is pumping more than 3,000 watts of power to the 11-speaker system.

Since completing the Scion in late October 2002, we've seen the vehicle for a total of only 30 days. Scion was so impressed with "The Box" that the company has toured the vehicle nationwide. "The Box" has been shown at the 2003 L.A. Auto Show, 2003 Detroit Auto Show, 2003 New York Auto Show, 2003 Chicago Auto Show and 2002 SEMA. Scion has also taken it to all the Hot Import Nights and I drove it on our Trek 2 Sonoma event.

Despite so little seat time we were able to truly enjoy the car, taking it to several Scion car meets. Scion owners are enthusiastically tuning their rides for the street, and TRD has put together some interesting packages for this new breed of sport compact. With a sticker price of $13,200 for the five-speed and $13,800 for the automatic, the price plays right into the hands of cash-strapped enthusiasts. Will Scion be embraced on the street? That's the big question. To keep the Scion fire burning and further showcase the buildup possibilities, we are creating an xA twin sporting the same paint job and interior theme as the xB featured here for the 2003 SEMA Show.

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By Robert Choo
118 Articles

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