- Helping you drive happy

Here at last

2011 Scion xB Preview

2011 Scion xB Preview
We’ve been waiting for Scion for years to arrive in Canada. Since their introduction on US soil, targeted at a younger customer base than Toyota’s ever-rising average buyer age, we always figured that Scion was a perfect fit for Canadians: small, fuel-efficient and spacious cars that are affordable and that offer a plethora of customizing possibilities.

Dimensions-wise, the xB rides on a 2,600-mm wheelbase and has a length of 4,249 millimetres. (Photo: Toyota)

After waiting patiently for eight years, they’re finally crossing the border. We’ll get the xB and xD hatchbacks, a redesigned-for-2011 tC Coupe and an intriguing little number called the iQ that should give the smart fortwo a headache.

The most famous Scion is obviously the xB. The first-gen model was small but spacious, square like a toaster but without the two slots on top. For the 2008 model year, the xB got a redesign and was Americanized in the process, growing in every dimension and getting a bigger (read: less fuel-efficient) engine all the while. Still, the xB is an interesting vehicle in several aspects.

Dimensions-wise, the xB rides on a 2,600-mm wheelbase (same as Corolla and Matrix) and has a length of 4,249 millimetres. Compared to the most common box-on-wheels we know in Canada, the aging Honda Element, the xB is about the same size except a little lower in height. If you live in urban areas such as Montreal, you’ve probably seen first and second-gen xBs on the road already, but they’re refugees from the US market.

With the redesign, the 1.5-litre four was dumped in favour of a 2.4-litre engine that develops 158 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a 5-speed manual or an optional 4-speed automatic. The xB rides on an independent suspension up front and a torsion beam at the rear; it also includes electric-assist power steering, 16-inch wheels with hubcaps as well as 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because when the xB was redesigned, it switched from the Yaris’ architecture to the Corolla/Matrix’s.

The first xB was appreciated for its generous cargo hold, and the second xB is even better: 614 litres with the rear bench seat upright, 1,979 litres with the bench folded. It’s as spacious as a Toyota Venza.

The equipment list for Canadian-spec versions hasn’t yet been announced, but we’ll go out on a limb and assume that Canada and USA models will be more or less the same. (Photo: Toyota)

By Michel Deslauriers,