Styling changes to the 2011 Scion xB may be minor, but they have a big effect on a small vehicle, almost dramatically altering its personality from cute to handsome, thanks to some aggressive new looks.

Scion accomplishes this refreshed new look on its quirky looking compact urban utility wagon with key enhancements around the front and tail ends. The front bumper now has enlarged outer vents, giving the xB its more manly stance. The headlamps have a new design for 2011 and the xB’s grille sparks appeal with a new honeycomb pattern.

In the rear of the xB, Scion designers say a more refined appearance is achieved with revised designing on the backup lights. Two new colors are added for 2011 to the seven-palette selection: Army Rock Metallic and Elusive Blue Metallic.

Revisions to the 2011 xB don’t stop at the front door. Get inside and the Scion has undergone a few more changes that are inspired to deliver higher levels of comfort. Nice changes are noted in the front seats. On an excursion I took with friends I settled in comfortably and could have driven for hours without fatigue factors creeping in. Particularly, driving over stony gravel farm roads is where I noted the comfort of the suspension and the seating.

Scion’s driver and front passenger seats on the 2011 xB are redesigned for improved stability and greater comfort with its larger bolsters. A nice touch for increased comfort is the new sliding armrest on the center console. Best of all, the 2011 xB gets the addition of a combination tilt/telescoping steering column, and even the gauge cluster has been tweaked for improved display layout.

Even better than all of these enhanced design changes to the inside and the outside of the xB is the price is increased for 2011 by just $150 over the 2010 model. The 2011 xB equipped with the five-speed manual transmission is priced at $16,000, while the five-speed automatic transmission model is set at $16,950.

Powering the five-passenger xB is a 2.4-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder engine with sequential multiport fuel injection. The engine produces 158 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque. Both the manual and automatic transmission versions of this front-wheel-drive car are EPA rated at 22 miles per gallon city at 28 mpg highway.

I drove the automatic model that additionally featured optional equipment to show off the customization Scion is capable of delivering to the customer, even though the xB is a natural magnet for people who want to build their own personalization onto the vehicle. Among some of the options, the Scion tester featured a 17-inch alloy wheel and tire upgrade package that rang in at $1,595, as well as an Alpine Premium HD Radio with Navigation Plug-in for $1,198.

The 2011 Scion xB comes well equipped with nice features, such as remote keyless entry, air conditioning, six airbags, power windows, mirrors and locks.
On the subject of personalizing the xB, Scion invited teams of active duty U.S. military personnel to compete in a “Battle of the Builds.” Their mission was to customize an xB to personally reflect their military branch and compete in paint, bodywork, interior and audio/visual entertainment. The grand prize winner announced last month was a U.S. Navy team based in Florida for their version of the xB called “The Squid.”

Car ownership is such a personal experience and nobody drives that message home better than Scion with its xB. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters

VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger FWD compact wagon
BASE PRICE___________________ $16,950 (as tested: $22,213)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder w/SMPFI
DISPLACEMENT_________________ 2.4-liter
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 158 at 6000 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 162 at 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 4-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 102.4 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 167.3 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 34.8 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 14.6 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010

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