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ScionLife Archive: Scion xB History
The Scion xB (chassis code NCP31) was one of two models introduced to the North American market under the Scion brand name. It is essentially an Americanized version of the Japanese Toyota bB which was introduced to Japan in July of 1999 as a new-for-2000 model. The Japanese bB was a success, and after a few years was refreshed for the Japanese 2003 model year. The xB was largely unmodified from this new bB for our market, converted to left-hand-drive and equipment changes made to conform to USDOT safety and emissions standards. Base pricing for the xB was $13,880 for the manual and $14,680 for the auto.

The xB was first introduced to America as the Scion bbX concept at the 2003 New York Auto Show. The bbX a nearly-production version of the Scion xB that was released to the California market in June of 2003, sharing a 108hp 1.5L VVT-i engine (1NZ-FE) with the Scion xA and Toyota Echo. It was sold exclusively in California for several months so that dealership quality control could be carefully fine-tuned and to spark demand in the rest of the country. In September of 2003 the Scion brand hit the east coast and the south. States along the Atlantic and the southern border states from Florida to Texas saw Scion dealerships pop up. Then in June of 2004 the rest of the country finally saw the Scion become available. Scion dealerships were integrated into Toyota dealerships, but had seperate showrooms featuring high-tech flatscreen displays.

The beginning of the 2006 calendar year saw some small changes for the last year of production. The interior seat fabric was changes and a new steering wheel with integrated audio controls was added. Two new colors appear: Salsa Red replaces Black Cherry Pearl and Shadow Mica replaces Camouflage Metallic. Base pricing roses $150 to $14,030 for the manual and $14,830 for the auto.

The Release Series line of Scion vehicles was a limited-release option package that began with the Scion xB RS1 in March 2004, continued with the Scion xB RS2 in March of 2005, the Scion xB RS3 in February 2006 and the Scion xB RS4 in November of 2006. Only 2100 RS1s, 2500 RS2s, 2200 RS3s and 2500 RS4s were produced, each with a plaque mounted inside the vehicle stating the edition number. Each release got it's own exclusive special color not found on any other xB: the RS1 was dipped in Hot Lava, the RS2 was layered with Solar Yellow, the RS3 is a unique Envy Green and the RS4 paint is a color-shifting Maziora Torched Penny. Interesting Note: The last seven RS1 xBs had the number plates lost, so they new plates were manufactured with the numbers 2101A-2107A.
RS1 Hot Lava Information
RS2 Solar Yellow Information
RS3 Envy Green Information
RS4 Mazora Information

Scion xB Concept

Scion bbX Concept

04 Scion xB RS1

05 Scion xB RS2

06 Scion xB RS3

06 Scion xB RS4

Car & Driver Article - June 2003


Whoa. Scion? It means "a descendant or offspring." (It's pronounced sigh-on.) And indeed, Scion has sprung from the fertile loins of Toyota as a new cheapie car brand for the young. After all those years harvesting baby boomers with "Oh, What a Feeling!" ads, it turns out their kids won't touch a Toyota, Mom's Toyota, with a 10-foot tattoo stencil (see sidebar).

So here comes Scion to determine—pardon us, dear William—whether that which we call Toyota by any other name will sell as sweet. The initial two cars hit Scion's 105 California showrooms this month. A third, more sporty car arrives in June 2004, by which time Scion will have migrated to the rest of the nation.

Meanwhile, the first two cars, the bean and the box, are two of Toyota's Japanese home-market hatchbacks that share the Toyota Echo's chromosomes. They both have strut and twist-beam suspensions and the Echo's 108-hp, 1.5-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine, with variable valve timing on the intake cam.

Much more interesting is the box, especially to pedestrians who may ask things like, "When did Westinghouse get into cars?" and "Where do you put in the bleach?" Japan, which has had three years to get used to all those right angles, knows it as the bB (supposedly, that stands for "best balance"). Here, it will star as the Scion xB and roller-skate out of showrooms on its 15-inch wheels at $14,165 with a stick. It rides on a longer wheelbase than the xA, 98.4 inches, and has more room inside for people and about 21 cubic feet behind the rear seats for clutter.

The Scion twins are significantly upgraded for duty in America: extra steel reinforcement in their skeletons, more sound-damping material, tighter suspensions, and a substantially longer list of standard accessories. That list includes four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock in the xA and disc brakes with ABS, traction control, and skid control in the xB.

Scions—both the round and rectilinear variety—also come with standard power windows and locks, a first-aid kit, and a Pioneer single-disc CD player singing through six speakers. On paper, at least, the Scions are a roaring value. Only the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Spectra, Saturn Ion, and Toyota Echo and Tacoma pickup have base prices lower than the xA's, but none has anti-lock brakes, air conditioning, and a CD player as standard equipment.

Even so, Scion's managers view the cars as blank canvases for 38 customization accessories. They range from a $49 faux carbon-fiber shift knob to a $595 satellite-radio receiver and include such whimsy as giant-fingerprint door decals and interior mood-lighting strips.

The 2450-pound xB thrusts its square chin down the road with no greater urgency, but it does offer better stability and less understeer, owing in part to firmer steering and stiffer rear springs. Consequently, the ride feels crunchier over the Mission District's lumpy streets. When we likened the xB's hard ride to that of a sport-utility, Scion managers responded that kids like it starchy.

As in the xA, the xB's dashboard data flow from a centrally mounted pod. But the xB's console is different. The speedo sits on top of the dash like a mantel clock, offset toward the driver and easier to read than the xA's hooded dials. In both cars, the all-important radio is a stretch from the driver's seat; steering-wheel buttons are not offered.

The xB's interior is vast, the rear seats sprawling with a luxurious 50 cubic feet, or the same volume as the front seats of an Audi A6. Fold down the seatbacks, and the xB takes in 43 cubic feet of cargo through the electric solenoid-released hatch, only about two cubic feet less than a Ford Explorer.

Despite the outstanding utility, the xB is still an automotive one-liner, with its styling the punch line. Either you laugh or you gag. Enthusiasts may do both. Although both Scions are capable small cars, they aren't really for passionate drivers . . . yet.

Of the dealer-supplied accessories available for the xA and xB at launch, only two enhance performance. One is a front strut-tower brace for $225, the other a $335 cold-air intake with a low-restriction filter worth perhaps 10 horsepower (Toyota wouldn't be specific). Once the Scions go on sale, company executives predict the aftermarket will rush to supply superchargers and other hop-up parts.

2004 SCION xB
Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon
Base price: $14,165
Engine type: DOHC 16-valve 4-in-line, aluminum block and head, Toyota engine-control system with port fuel injection

Displacement: 91 cu in, 1497cc
Power (SAE net): 108 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 105 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
Transmissions: 5-speed manual, 4-speed auto with lockup torque converter
Wheelbase: 98.4 in
Length: 155.3 in
Width: 66.5 in
Height: 64.6 in
Curb weight: 2450 lb

C/D-estimated performance:
Zero to 60 mph: 9.0-9.8 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 35.5-40.0 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 17.4-18.0 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 109 mph

Fuel economy:
EPA city driving: 30 mpg
EPA highway driving: 33-34 mpg

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ScionLife Registry: Highest Ranked xBs

2005 xB
Thunder Cloud Metallic
2004 xB RS01
Hot Lava
2006 xB
Blue Onyx Pearl
2009 xB
Classic Silver Metallic
2006 xB RS04
Torched Penny
2005 xB
Custom Color
2005 xB
Custom Color
2004 xB
Custom Color
2005 xB
Custom Color
2004 xB RS01
Hot Lava

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