Yes, the moldy old Scion xB has found a new, vitally important role for its twilight years: the Autopian Test Car. It served David and I extremely well this week as we undertook some important automotive research, and we’ll have more experiments planned. Or, something fun, at least. I hope.
She’s running rough, but won’t quit. Ever, as far as I can tell. at some point it’ll just become one giant check engine light you can ride in straight into the mouth of hell itself.
I had a 2004 Scion xB with the 5-speed manual. I traded it in after sixteen years and 200,000 miles because the transmission was starting to go and would need to be rebuilt. The cost I was quoted was $1000 for the work, which exceeded the value of the car by then as it’d been hit three times over its lifespan.
I still miss that car. It always ran, you could fit an absurd amount of cargo in there by laying down the seats, and it got decent mileage. I like my new car just fine, but always wonder whether I should have kept the xB. If they’d still been making them in 2020, would have bought one in a heartbeat.
Also, for those of you saying that it was scary getting it onto the freeway: do you not have on-ramps where you live? Not trolling, I know that roads in other parts of the country just sort of shunt you right into traffic with no room to accelerate. Never had an issue getting the Scion onto the highway.
Give AmmoNYC a call. See if he’s recovered enough from the moldy airplane to give this a try.
Is this the same xB Tiff Needell thrashed the snot out of around Willow Springs a few years back?
So, not going to enter it in a demolition derby then? or is that one of the “test” coming up?
Did the front of that thing pass through an asteroid belt at some point?
BUT WHAT ARE YOU TESTING!??!
Not in a bad way, this can be like the Donut Media test cars. Try out stuff, show what upgrades can be done, common wrenching techniques, etc.
I can also see it as the rolling merch mobile.
You should name it Petri.
Also, love the stencil work. It just needs an amber safety light on the roof now. And you should always put traffic cones around it when you park.
I’m genuinely concerned about the mold. Mold is rust for your lungs.. you should not be playing with it like you do with David’s fancy for rust on his rigs..
A few hours with an ozone generator inside should kill any mold spores right up. Then wipe clean, and hit again.
TIL that ozone can kill mold. Good to know.
That said, apparently there are quite a few qualifiers on that, like the fact that if you have moldy fabric or cushions you may not be able to remove it with ozone alone. Interesting read on the subject: https://moldhelpforyou.com/does-ozone-kill-mold/
Does this mean hijinks like finding out just how crappy Ebay “performance” mods are? Or why those supposed “fuel saving” things are a load of hooey?
Actually you should demonstrate how much of a beating rallycross puts on a car. For science.
Was one of the experiments to see what it looked like after a wash? Geez!
I would test the shocks, and the back-seat rhythmability, if you know what I mean…
Interesting thing about the xB, if you take out the head rests, the front seats recline back to meet the rear seats evenly. If you really wanted to, a sleeping bag and pillow is all that you’d need to make it through a night in relative comfort (weather permitting).
Is this the Autopian metric for Shitbox Showdown?
Coming soon: “Will It Teenager?”
is that a great wall badge on the front I spy?
I almost thought SsangYong, but then I remembered Scion.
Best test for that bBox would be a crush test.
Stupid questions: What is the role of the test car? Will it be a camera car for photographing vehicles as they’re being driven for reviews? Will you use it to try out aftermarket accessories to see how they really perform? What are some of the first plans you have for the noble steed?
Everyone needs a boxy little beater, I’m waiting for my neighbor to put their 2009 Honda Fit for sale.
A guy at work had one of these bread boxes on wheels. His only issue was having to replace the windshield on a regular basis due to rocks hitting it. I guess that upright position didn’t do it any favors. Other than that, you know, it was a Toyota.
I had a first generation xB and I loved that thing. So much fun to drive around town, but it showed its aerodynamics and structural integrity at highway speeds. Rolling down the windows on the highway was interesting.
Testing the growth of mold on various automotive surfaces is a worthwhile endeavor for a certain subset of the readership here. Good work, guys!
I had one of those… after a few years it felt like such a chore to drive. Yes, it was the manual. The mpg’s never got above 30, because it’s a box, and I had to wind the snot out of it just to keep up with traffic. Yet somehow now I wish I had it back.
I almost bought one. Took it for a test drive and wow was it underpowered. I couldn’t imagine how terrified I would’ve been merging onto a parkway twice a day. And the road noise was unbearable. I loved the idea of it and cost but I needed something with a little more sound deadening. Hell any sound deadening because those doors were thin!
Yeah those doors were scarily thin. I can’t imagine trying to interstate in one of these now.. it would need a turbo or a whole engine swap.
Those first-gen xBs were horribly underpowered but otherwise a really great car. My son learned to drive in his grandfather’s xB. During his initial driving session he was shocked hear my wife tell him “floor it” in order to merge onto the freeway. He had to be told “yes, I meant it – hit the gas NOW!”
My Yaris has the same drivetrain (1NZ-FE/U340E) as these xBs, and it’s certainly not quick, but I rarely use the last quarter of pedal travel and make it scream unless I’m climbing either a short onramp or a particularly steep mountain pass of the sort folks from out West would simply call a “hill”.
Really demonstrates how the aerodynamic properties of a shed (plus an extra hundred-odd pounds) will kneecap your performance, all other factors being equal. I don’t say that to be mean to the Brave Little Toaster; their shape is wonderfully practical and charming in its own right. (I’ve owned several rectilinear Volvos, so if anything I’m biased toward the xB.)
167K Miles on mine and loaded with people and ski and snowboard gear. Had it wound out to redline to merge with traffic. Felt the little slip and the whiff of clutch. Made it to the ski hill with no more drama. Had the same whiff and slip on the climb up the hill out of Duluth on the way back. Me and my buddy put a new clutch in it with no more instructions than him looking at it and going, Looks like a Volkswagen. Hardest part was the motor mount in the back.
Bought it with 50K and sold it with 200K
We had a 1st gen scion xB.
I loved that little shoebox.
Bought this exact car for my SIL, was great. She stupidly traded it in 3 months ago for a used Hyundai SUV and 500+ a month payment and it is a few months from being repossessed. Can’t fix stupid.
I liked the Nissan Cube better.
I was looking at Cubes last time I bought a car, but as far as I could tell they only came with an automatic gearbox, and I can’t drive those.
I think they also came with a merkin for the dash board, which seemed odd to me.
I believe you’re thinking of the Nissan Cube, and the beloved “Cube Pubes”
Yes, I was talking about the Cube. I test drove one thinking it may be a good replacement for the xB. Did not buy.
The 6MT was available, and with only 102 hp on tap, I’m sure you’ll need it. I could not imagine driving one with the Jatco garbage CVT.