Good morning! Today, our quest for questionable used cars takes us to Houston, to look at two cars that have “X” in the model name. Why? So I could make that dumb pun in the headline, of course. Do I need another reason? Before we head south, however, let’s finish up with our Washington wagons:
Yep. The Cressida would be my choice as well. Better presented in the ad, lower miles (though not as low as I let on, apparently) and only five hundred bucks more. Absolutely worth it.
Today, we’re taking a look at two wagony-thingies again, but not in the traditional sedan-with-an-elongated-roofline sense. I’m not sure one of them technically counts as a wagon according to the inerrant and irrefutable rules of wagonhood, due to the lack of side glass where the cargo goes, but I don’t know what else you’d call it. They’re also two vehicles that were never, ever meant to be cross-shopped, but the cheap used car market is the great equalizer; it doesn’t matter what their window sticker said, or how many free oil changes their first owner got from the dealer. Down here at the bottom end of the market, they’re all alike.
2008 Scion xB – $3,700
Engine/drivetrain: 2.4 liter dual overhead cam inline 4, four-speed automatic, FWD
Location: Houston, TX
Odometer reading: 230,000 miles
Runs/drives? Sure does
Scion, Toyota’s now-defunct “youth-oriented” brand, always kind of creeped me out. The brand tried too hard to become hip and relevant, and the result always felt a little cult-of-personality to me, and not the cool hard-rock kind. Irritating marketing or not, the cars themselves were Toyotas at their core, and that makes them a good bet as used cars.
In its second generation, the Scion xB got a bit, well, fat. It’s a foot longer, three inches wider, and six hundred pounds heavier than its predecessor. That extra heft did a number on the original’s nimble, light-footed feel, as well as its chiseled good looks. And to lug all that extra bulk around, the engine displacement went up almost 900 cubic centimeters, which took away a lot of the fuel economy.
But again, we’re talking about a Toyota here. This one has some miles on it, but it appears to have been well cared-for. It’s for sale at a dealership, so it’s unlikely we’ll get much of its history, but that’s typical of inexpensive cars. The seller does say everything works including the air conditioning, and the car runs well, so that’s a start.
I’ve never been much of a fan of the second-generation xB, but in this steely blue color, it looks pretty good. I still can’t understand those giant rear pillars, though. Blind spots are a bad thing, in my experience.
2006 Cadillac SRX – $3,000
Engine/drivetrain: 3.6 liter dual overhead cam V6, five-speed automatic, RWD
Location: Houston, TX
Odometer reading: 125,000 miles
Cadillac, of course, has a lot longer history behind it than Scion ever managed, but it has had its share of identity crises over the years. From “The Standard Of The World” to “The Caddy That Zigs,” from sixteen-cylinder monsters to badge-engineered Cavaliers and Tahoes, the brand has changed its look and act more times than Madonna. About twenty years ago, Cadillac ditched model names in favor of three-letter alphabet-soup designations. Probably not coincidentally, that’s about the time I stopped knowing which Caddy was which. I knew this car existed, but until I started looking it up to write this, I couldn’t have told you a thing about it.
The SRX, as it turns out, is a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive crossover, powered by either GM’s “High Feature” V6 or a Northstar V8. This one is a basic RWD six-cylinder model, according to the ad. It’s got 125,000 miles on it, it runs, and that’s literally all the information we get. Not the most loquacious seller, this one. Come on, man; would it kill you to give us a little more to work with?
From what we can see in the photos, it’s a pretty nice car. The driver’s seat is clearly left out of the photos, which makes me suspect some wear or damage to the seat cushion, and there’s a sizeable dent in the passenger-side front door, but apart from that it looks all right. I do wish it was a real color, and not this boring dark sandy taupe, but in the used car market, sometimes you have to take whatever color you can get.
I confess I don’t know a lot about these, but I’m sure one of our readers has owned one, or serviced one, or helped design some part of it. I have yet to collectively stump you all, and I doubt I ever will. So please, if anyone can shed more light on this sort of cool-looking rear-wheel-drive luxury wagon, by all means fill the comments with your knowledge.
So that’s our show for today. Tune in tomorrow for more sketchy rides, dumb jokes, and questionable decisions, because that’s what we do here. See you then! Don’t forget to vote!
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)
Full disclosure: I daily drive a 2011 xB.
Every one of these V6 (3.6) SRXs I see in junkyards has the exact same failed timing chain tensioner issue that doomed the car.
I’m still picking the Caddy over that wierdo Scion though. I’m with you Mark, these was just something off and creepy about Scion that was a turn off.
At this price range; you’re looking for something that runs and can reliably get you to and from where you need to go. The Scion checks those boxes, I’m betting the difference in price will be eaten in repairs to the Caddy within the first 9 months…
The Scion xB, for sure! It has miles but definitely appears better cared for and has reliable roots
Might not be the quirky and boxy first gen but I don’t hate the looks on these, and still basically a practical and decent on gas hatchback that is a 4 cylinder Camry underneath the Scion marketing. Almost bought a 5 speed version a few years ago, if not for a bad pre-purchase inspection indicating an accident. With a manual it was fairly decent to drive, and believe Toyota offered some TRD parts for these that included a lower and sportier suspension
Having driven a 2011 example for the past 12 years, I’m a bit biased, but I think you’re largely on the mark except for the gas mileage. I drive the auto, granted, but I think that’s the problem. The 4-speed slushbox robs the 2AZ-FE of all hope of power-to-weight. Together, they’re the same powertrain from the Camry XV-40, and for me, they disappoint. That said, since Toyota rebuilt the engine after a service bulletin was issued, it’s been *knock wood* Toyota reliable.
Yes, the Scion probably reeks of spilled vape juice and has a Nickelback CD jammed in the player… But it’s still a Toyota. I’ll take it over a Caddy full of extra luxury-feature electronics from a dodgy period in GM history.
I’ll just make sure to hose out the interior and grab some tongs to extract the inevitable Nickelback CD…
I’ve heard the SRX does not have a good reputation for reliability. On top of that, in spite of having half the mileage, it looks like it’s in much worse shape.
So I’ll go for the cared-for high mileage Scion.
These are the X’s in Texas? I guess I’ll hang my hat in Tennessee.
Hey, I’m just trying to be Strait with you.
My grandmother owned one of these for 18 year and put around 75k miles on it.
It rides great, but it has some issues with the traction control and interior creaking when turning.
It’s also not that good on gas.
Scion all the way
There are two cars I distinctly remember driving down my street billowing smoke out of the exhaust and sounding like a bag of wrenches clanging around under the hood. One was a V8 BMW X5. The other was an SRX. Granted I don’t know which engine it was (probably the Northstar), but I’ll never forget the sound it made. Gimme the Scion.
Sorry, I can no longer see an xB without seeing Jason spewing a fountain of lasagna all over the interior.
My wife had a 2004 SRX purchased new with the 3.6. I despised the way that car drove, the worst of GM.
My mom’s last car was a black cherry ’08 SRX. She absolutely loved it. I was amazed how roomy it was in the back the one time I rode back there (I was an adult already, and not a small one). I was also reasonably impressed by it the one time I drove it. I found it plenty quick and decently handling for what it is, a V6 powered not small crossover. My dad kept that SRX for several trouble free years after her passing, and I think his best friend is still daily driving it.
Caddy changed their act more times than Madoona. Appropriate neither is a virgin and they both been around about the same length of time.
Depreciated Caddy here. The 3.6 is in about everything so they’re plentiful. Pre-bailout GM interiors were garbage when new. Being almost 20 and sun-baked, this is par for that particular course. A good scrub, complete fluid change and away we maybe zig.
That SRX can’t even tow a single-horse trailer. Voting xB because it can probably hold more hay. Priorities, man.
The Caddy has the better engine, better gearbox, correct-wheel-drive, half the miles and its interior shouldn’t feel like the inside of a turkish prison cell. It’s likely got the better gas mileage too, not even counting the oil consumption of the xB’s engine, especially at those miles.
I don’t know, this gen of 3.6 had two things going against it, and one was oil consumption due to a terrible valve cover design that sucked too much oil up from the crank case. They were also DI, so it is very likely the oil consumption has carbon’d up those valves pretty badly as well.
I would pay $3000 for a ham sandwich before I’d plunk down $3000 for another SRX.
Here you go:
Did those Caddys just come from the factory filthy and dented? Every time I see one of those it seems to be in the same shape as the one listed here. Someone around here painted one two tone: a gross metallic puke green and black. It’s awful. I’ll take the Scion, for the interior and paint to look as decent as they do after 200k miles, someone had to take care of it.
Never a fan of the 2nd gen Xb and kind of wish its blind spot could make the car itself invisible, but it is a Toyota and I’ll take that over this Cattle Yak.
I agree, the first gen Box was so much better.
The SRX was always a turd of a vehicle. I have never liked the xB’s but I’ll take that any day of the week over the SRX.