GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Can boxy be cool? 2011 Scion xB

I was feeling the need to connect to my inner twenty-something, which is buried beneath a few extra years, so I borrowed the Scion xB from Toyota. Certainly, this car, in a color named sizzling crimson (my people call it burgundy), intended to appeal to a younger generation, would dig into my psyche and pull out that wild and crazy girl I really am.

To be honest, I was expecting not to like it, but you know, this boxy little brat is kinda cute. In a boxy, little car kind of way.

It's got a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out 158 horsepower. Mine was paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission (a 5-speed manual is standard). With the technology built into the powertrain and transmission, the ride is satisfying and pugnacious, though it can be a little shy of go. Driving position is upright--something I've always found comfortable. All my stuff--a lot--packed neatly into the roomy interior, so there I was booking up the Taconic singing over a fair amount of road and wind noise, along to the XM Broadway channel, my constant companion.

The centrally placed gauges--speedo, fuel, tach--pop up out of the dash. I like the pop because it keeps your eyes closer to the road and eyes on the road is a major key to safe driving. The central location of the the gauges is not ideal. The large round heating and AC controls are joy to operate. The radio, less so, though it is not thoroughly mind boggling the way some are.

My vehicle, with premium sound and upgraded alloy wheels came in at $22,213 including destination charge. The base model is very well equipped for a small car and for the enthusiasts, there are hundreds of after market add ons. (The Scion is that kind of car--it has fans who want to add and add.) Fuel economy is listed at 22 city/28 highway, not the 30 or even 40 claimed by other small vehicles. I'm not sure why the fuel economy is so lackluster, but these days when the government is going for a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) of 54.5 by 2025, this small car isn't doing us or Toyota any favors. (In car development years that's not a long time.)

To be brief, I did touch base with my inner twenty-something and over all I do recommend at least giving this burgundy brat a drive around if you are considering a new vehicle. You might think, uh-uh, at first glance, but look again. It comes in other colors, too.

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