2004 Scion xB

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$13,680

starting MSRP

2004 Scion xB

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Scion xB trim comparison will help you decide.

2004 Scion xB review: Our expert's take

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After spending a week in the overpriced, harsh-riding Scion xA, the Scion xB seems like a better deal.

For about the same money or a little more, the Scion xB buyer gets a model that has been running around for three years in Japan. Its distinctive design comes in a class not noted for its uniqueness.

But the xB’s styling really turns heads. Its 90 degree, slab-sided style gives the vehicle a weird, yet wonderful look. The only real competition is Honda’s wacky Element, although the Scion xB is a better-looking vehicle.

I found judgments about styling were mostly age-dependent. Younger people, or younger-minded people, liked its oddball looks. Others merely laughed.

While the xB’s boxy style may evoke envy or laughter, it makes this vehicle incredibly practical. That big boxy shape uses every inch of available interior space with its tall styling providing excellent headroom. The upright windshield also does much to give the small van a spacious feel.

That feel is no illusion. The xB employs a 5-inch longer wheelbase than the xA. Four people fit comfortably. Legroom is excellent, even in the rear with the seats all the way back. Foot room under the front seats is good as well.

The front bucket seats are shallow but supportive, and there’s lots of legroom up front.

The split-folding rear bench seat is comfortably high, although the backrest is bolt upright. The short flat seat cushion is OK for short hops across town. Both front and rear seats are covered in a quality fabric.

But like all small cars, signs of cost cutting abound. Like the xA, there are no center armrests. The only power point is the cigarette lighter, which is odd for a car line aimed at younger buyers. The vanity mirrors are skimpy or non-existent.

The xB also lacks any kind of rear seat storage; there’s not even a map pocket. There are, however, purse hooks. Go figure.

The instrument panel is similar in look and feel to the xA. But, unlike the xA, the instruments are not dead center. The instrument cluster is slightly to the left of the center cluster, that houses idiot lights. This makes the speedometer and other gauges easier to read.

The center stack is pretty much the same, with simple controls for the climate adjustments, and a sea of tiny buttons for the optional audio system.

The standard audio system is a six-speaker AM/FM/CD system made by Pioneer. Optional is a dash-mounted six-CD changer that allows the player’s display color to be changed to one of 10 colors.

A sub-woofer also is available. But like the Scion xA, it’s bolted in the cargo area, rendering half of the cargo area unusable.

Other optional niceties include an under-seat interior light package, as well as cupholder lights that also can change color. Toyota gilded the lily by adding a cargo net, door sill plates, sport pedals and cargo mats.

Most Scion deale rs have a long list of enhancements that can be added to the vehicle, but my suggestion is to spend the money on wheels that are better than the standard ones.

Like the xA, the xB uses Toyota Echo components, although the xB gets a longer wheelbase.

Drivetrains are identical, with a 108-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine hooked to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Vehicle stability control and traction control are standard.

Acceleration is adequate with one person aboard. The automatic transmission downshifted constantly on hilly terrain, upshifting soon after, then downshifting again for more power. Like an old VW microbus, acceleration is a relative term. Gas mileage was slightly lower than the xA, at 30 mpg. The xA uses regular fuel.

Handling is better than you would expect. Despite the tall profile, the xB corners pretty well because of the vehicle’s low center of gravity. Still, body lean comes on quickly.

Ride is better than the harsh xA, soaking up bumps a bit better. It won’t surprise you that the xB generates a lot of wind noise at highways speeds. Road tire and engine noise intrude as well, making the xB a noisy little box when traveling fast.

If I were choosing between an xB and an Element, I’d chose the xB for its superior styling and better handling.

While the xB is slow and lacking in some small interior details, it makes up for it with the amazingly funky style and a very practical package that’s cheap to feed.

That makes the xB the Scion of choice.

Congratulate Toyota on its ability to give an old model a makeover capable of attracting a younger audience.

And my xB?

I’ll take it in orange, skip the sub-woofer.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 4.6
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

4.7

Most reliable car i have ever owned

Best rear legroom of any car on the market. A little bouncy until you add a passenger(s). Best engine and year of any Scion made.

4.9

The Love of My Life!

I purchased one of the very first Scions back in 2004. It was very reasonably priced. They had a set price and there was no haggling. It was not a sports car by any means but I figured it would get me back and forth to work and was extremely comfortable! It was also great for putting in a lot of supplies that I needed for my work. I loved that car and people use to stop me at traffic lights and parking lots to ask me what it was. It looked like a box. People teased me for years calling it many different names including the box, the refrigerator and many others. It was unique to say the least. I drove that car for over 14 years and only had 108,000.00 miles on it. The only problems that I ever had with it was that it was literally falling apart. My husband decided that I needed a new car so we had to trade it in for a Kia Soul. I cried when I left it but I am glad that I finally got a new car.

5.0

The box

Love it. The styling is very advance. A trendsetter. I will add original art that compliments it and will display my skills and imagination. The will be entered in artcar events all over the nation.

See all 14 consumer reviews

Compare the competitors

2004

Honda Civic Hybrid

$19,650

starting MSRP

2003

Honda Element

$16,100

starting MSRP

2010

Toyota Matrix

$16,700

starting MSRP

See all 2004 Scion xB articles