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2008 Scion xB and xD - The Box Is Back

And This Time, It Brought A New Friend With It

Jonathan Wong
Jun 26, 2007
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Scion really stirred up the sport compact pot when they shipped the offbeat xB and xA to showrooms across the country. Promoted extensively throughout the underground car scene, the eclectic masses seemed to get "it" and, in some strange and unexpected fashion, both cars blew up in ways that few expected. The ultra-affordable boxes were suddenly everywhere with the xA spotted here and there, as well as a third addition to the line later with the sporty tC coupe. It seemed Scion finally ceased being the butt of automotive jokes, instead enjoying its popular role as one heck of a g-ride.

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Perhaps Scion's greatest achievement in its short existence has been its huge support for the aftermarket. From the beginning, the message was loud and clear: personalize, personalize and personalize some more. Scion is genius in how it starts out with a no-frills platform, but soon provides tons of options during the checkout stage. This freedom of choice allowed buyers everywhere the power to truly individualize their rides, spawning local car clubs in many states. Now, with the launch of the second generation xB and debut of the xD, Scion offers you more of a reason to reach deep for your inner-emo self. What's even better is they've thrown in bigger and more powerful engines to get you going. Who loves ya, baby?

Xdeeeez
The biggest compliment we can give to the xD is: we're glad it's here to put the xA out of its misery. No it's not another xA, though Scion says it's much closer to the xB. It's a vast improvement by far, but still lacks the qualities that make the xB so cool. Much bigger and yoked-up than the xA, the xD is a four-door hatchback teetering on the edge of downright fugly. We're glad Scion decided to load it up with several features to raise its cool factor.

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Scion equips the xD with a completely new 1.8L twin cam 2ZR-FE, a quirky 128hp engine best related to the single cam engines found in a Civic Coupe. However, it is also equipped with dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT-i) for optimum power and super gas savings. Again, there's a choice of either a manual or 4-ECT auto transmission.

The inside is where the xD really shines. Clearly, it receives a much sweeter center console than the xB. The air conditioning controls are positioned in a pod-like fashion underneath the Pioneer head unit. Although the gauges aren't separated like the xB's, they have been moved over to the top of the steering column and kept within a single unit. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold down flat for bigger storage capacity.

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While the VSC with traction control is the only factory option available for the xD, it does have a wide number of factory standards, albeit not as plentiful as the xB (but close!) such as: power goods (see xB); air conditioning; ABS; airbags; and steering wheel audio controls.

Without trying to compare the xD and xB too much, there seems to be only minimal differences when it comes to driveability. The xD is slightly slower, but it makes up for the drop in power with efficiency. To maintain any sort of power in the rpm band, it's necessary to keep the car in a lower gear, especially for street driving (highway is fine). Since the xD is a little bit lighter on its feet, you can maneuver it much easier than the xB. But without any serious performance parts available yet, simple features like air intake and sport exhaust are all you can count on for increased performance. If the aftermarket catches on to the xD as well as it did with the xA, xB and tC, then we foresee the xD becoming a formidable competitor in the B-spec segment in no time.

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'08 Scion XD
The Sticker TBA
Under The Hood 1.8L 4-cylinder 2ZR-FE with dual VVT-I
The Power 128hp at 6,000rpm; 125lb-ft at 4,400rpm
Scale Tipping 2,625 (manual); 2,665 (4-ECT)
Layout front engine, front-wheel drive
Gearbox 5-speed manual or 4-speed ECT automatic
Stiff Stuff Independent MacPherson strut with rear torsion beam
Rollers 16x6 steel wheels with 195/60R15 all-season tires
Stoppers 10.8-inch ventilated front disc brakes; 9-inch rear drum brakes
At The Pump 27/33 mpg (manual); 26/32 mpg (4-ECT)
The Pack Mazda 3; VW Golf; Honda Fit
Deep Thoughts The xD is a much improved, welcome replacement to the xA. But only by a small margin. It really needed a stronger engine, so Scion came through with the goods.

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X To The Bizzle
When Scion asked current xB owners what they'd like more of, or how to improve upon the box, almost all said they wanted something bigger. Scion responded by giving the people what they wanted by making the new xB huge. The car manufacturer increased the wheelbase four inches, the length by a foot and the width three inches, which in reality equates to: enough room from front to back to get busy without busting your back. Now, you also get a huge trunk with 60/40-split rear seats that fold down for additional space with storage containers under the seats for any small accessories. The dashboard also received a much-needed facelift, as well as the all-in-one supercluster of gauges that has finally been split into four individual units for easy viewing.

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Performance-wise, Scion really stepped up the xB by dropping in the same 2AZ-FE engine found in the tC, meaning good power and torque to go with it - and believe us, the xB really needs it. You have your choice of either a manual or 4-ECT automatic transmission that also includes sequential shifting, a first for any auto-4-speeds offered by either Scion or Toyota. The shifting on the manual can be twitchy, but the TRD short shift is highly recommended to solve that problem.

Keeping up with the promise of more bang for your buck, the xB once again comes standard with plenty of features like: power steering, windows, door locks and mirrors; air conditioning; four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist; multiple airbags; traction control (part of the Vehicle Stability control system); steering wheel with audio controls; and even a first-aid kit. It's automatically equipped with a 160-watt Pioneer stereo system, as well as integrated iPod connectivity that can be controlled either via the head unit or steering wheel. The optional audio system gives you an organic electroluminescent (OEL) screen, so you can download images and short video clips from Pioneer's website or other media such as your own homemade CDs to the head unit for the ultimate personal touch.

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Overall, the xB was a great drive. Even with limited seat time, the car displayed decent power and handled well in comparison to the old box. Now that it has the tC engine, you're guaranteed the TRD supercharger option for an extra 40hp, meaning you could have a 200hp thrill ride for a fraction of the cost of a Si or RSX. But there's one big problem: currently there is no JDM equivalent to this xB. Although a bB is availiable in Japan, it's on a completely different platform; there goes our dream of being able to swap in lights or exterior pieces from the Japanese model. Scion execs did, however, hint at the possible development of an xB-like vehicle for the Japanese market that may have parts with interchangability. But that's too far in the future to see if and when that may be. For now though, the TRD blower will be a very satisfying upgrade.

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'08 Scion XB
The Sticker Starting At $15,650
Under The Hood 2.4L DOHC 4-cylinder 2AZ-FE with VVT-I
The Power 158hp at 6,000rpm, 162lb-ft at 4,000rpm
Scale Tipping 3,020 lb (manual); 3,086 lb (auto)
Layout front engine, front-wheel drive
Gearbox 5-speed manual or 4-speed ECT automatic
Stiff Stuff Independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar; rear torsion beam
Rollers 16x6.5 steel wheels with 205/55R16 all-season tires
Stoppers 10.83-inch ventilated front disc brakes; 10.98-inch rear disc brakes
At The Pump 22/28 mpg for both manual and 4-ECT
The Pack Scion tC; Honda Civic; Nissan Versa
Deep Thoughts Wow, Scion - what a way to truly improve the xB: it finally has the power and potential to become even bigger than the first gen box.

By Jonathan Wong
485 Articles

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