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The new xB: Scion's icon loses rough edges

The new xB, on sale now, is more powerful and smoother-riding. But Scion was known for not appealing to everyone.

2008 Scion xB
The redesigned 2008 Scion xB is on sale now. The smailler Scion xD, a replacement for the scion xA, will go on sale this summer.
2008 Scion xB
Scion is Toyota's anti-Lexus. Where the Lexus is expensive, inoffensive and has reached near-ubiquity as an emblem of suburban success, Scion prides itself on having been able to remain, somehow, inexpensive and exclusive.

Scions are designed, quite deliberately, not to appeal to the masses. The target market is young hip urban adults who don't want just another cheap car. But, at the same time, the attributes these buyers are looking for are pretty simple. Utility is way more important than performance.

After a test drive in the new xB, it was easy to see that this is, by most measures, an improved product. It's bigger, more powerful and quieter than the current xB.

But the question floating around has been whether the new Scion will be embraced by the brand's faithful or has Toyota, in its corporate instinct for "continuous improvement," improved the very soul out of the lovably cheap little van.


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