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Pending '09 xB owner. Howdy!

8997 Views 42 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  ryeguy
Hi all,

My name is Bill. I'm recently 37 and live near Tampa, Florida. I'm going for a test drive of a new '09 xB in the morning at Courtesy Scion in East Tampa, FL. I currently drive a 2005 MINI Cooper S, which I dearly love, but is out of warranty (73k miles) & heavy on performance mods. Since I am still making payments, the thought of having to start replacing major components has me stressing a bit. (If/when I buy the xB, I see an extended warranty in my future.)

Besides all that, I also get the new car itch every 2-3 years. That's actually an improvement over 10-15 years ago, when I was buying a new car nearly every year. Honestly, if I had bought an extended warranty from the MINI dealer back in '05, I'd probably stand pat right now.

I nearly bought a new '08 VW GTI last week, and then I got an insurance quote on it. It was 70% more per year than my MCS, and I just couldn't justify that. For the xB, I got a quote ahead of time, and it's only about 10% more, which seems reasonable.

I wasn't too interested in the first gen xB, but I was on a 3k mile road trip at the end of August and saw several of the 2nd gen models on the highway. Even though the basic shape is the same, the cosmetics seem a little more beefy. There's something furture/retro about the bulky, boxy, yet smooth-edged design that I like. The short windows remind me of a lot of the old 1930's chop-top sedans you see in classic car shows & ZZ Top videos.

I know it won't hold up to my MCS for power or handling, but I suspect it will do just fine. And if I feel the need for more power or better handling in the future, there's always the aftermarket, I suppose.

I fully expected any Scion community to be full of "Fast & Furious" teenagers, but the "age" thread on this forum sure proved me wrong. Glad to see there is such a diverse group here! (Disclaimer: I owned a fully built 1990 Supra Turbo that ran 20+ lbs of boost & nearly 500bhp, so I mean no disrespect when I talk about "Fast & Furious" teens... I'm just not one of them any more)

I'd be curious to hear from 2nd gen xB owners what their most noticeable likes & dislikes are. Also, I like to do my own maintenance (oil changes, brakes, etc.) so I would be curious to know if Toyota has made any of the common maintenance tasks a PITA by overengineering, etc.

Over the coming days & weeks, I'll be following things here to find out how the Scion/xB community handles itself. I have been extremely active in my local, statewide, and even national MINI clubs for the past 6 years (2nd MINI, and I also owned a classic 1973 Mini for a while). I'd love to help organize some local & maybe even regional events & activities as the community grows. But then, I am getting ahead of myself. Test drive tomorrow, then decide if I move forward.

Cheers all!

Bill
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Continuing to do my homework on the xB, and I have a specific question...

I have read that the lack of a telesoping steering column disappoints. And I would agree. I'm not that tall (5'7"), but I like my legs extended in front of me & often adjust the seat as though I were 6 feet tall. Looking at interior pics, it appears that the gear shift might be a tad bit far forward. I always get manual gearbox, so I can imagine that it might be a bit of a reach. Hoping that's just a matter of distorted perspective & photogs fisheye lenses, etc.

Thoughts from 5-speed owners?
G
Is that a monkey humping a dogs leg lol?!

As for the XB my gf is 5'3 and Im 6'2 and we both dont have any issues driving it.
Welcome to NSxB.

I'm 6' 3" and the steering wheel could be about another 1" back but not a real noticeable issue. For maintenance the oil filter is behind a splash guard? which may be an issue every 5000 miles. I don't maintain my cars myself so it's not an issue for me. The only other annoyance is the driver arm rest. It's too skinny and the center console arm rest is about 4" too low to be of any use (unless you like getting into a mean lean :D)

But I love my xB and find the handling and pep to be more than enough.
You will be amazed at the handling. It may not be as awsome as the coop but it definatly surprises.

The five-speed shifter is in the perfect position. Its not really farther forward, but much higher up. It might take a little bit to adjust to reaching for it up there, but your love it so much more. You'll actually wonder why they don't make all cars this way.
Check the past posts on here and you will see someone said that the clutch, brakes and accelerator pedal was not to his liking. I believe others have mentioned something about having trouble letting the clutch out from a stand still without killing the engine.
scion said:
Check the past posts on here and you will see someone said that the clutch, brakes and accelerator pedal was not to his liking. I believe others have mentioned something about having trouble letting the clutch out from a stand still without killing the engine.
That would be Yodar . . .
-> Also note the other posts in those threads. Sometimes people agree with him, sometimes no one does.

My other main car is a 90 Mazda MX-5 Miata, I understand the whole legs out seating position.
The seating position in a gen 2 xB is more like a truck than a sports car. That was my biggest concern when getting it. Yet, it doesn't bother me in the least, oddly.

The handling isn't as crisp as a stock Mini, much less one with the "sports suspension."Yet, it isn't bad at all.
When I shopping, my "criteria" required "fun to drive," rather than ultimate performance. I kept the Miata (as it is way too much fun, worth more to me than anyone else, and has a well-set-up suspension), so it remained my "hard driving car."
Why mention the Miata? Well, the Miata and Mini both handle exceptionally well (almost like a FWD and RWD version of the same car). In fact, the next car I was going to look at was a Mini Clubman (would have gotten black and yellow-> "Yellowjacket").

The xB blew me away, esp. compared to the other "cross-overs," sedans, and "sport wagons" (PT and HHR) that I had looked at.

Remember, the xB doesn't even have a rear sway bar in stock form and the springs are more for "comfort" than superior handling. The TRD springs and rear sway or the Hotchkiss springs and sways (or some of the other brands) significantly improve the handling at a relatively low cost.

The difference between the Mini and xB just didn't seem worth the $4,000 to $5,000 price difference. For that, one can take an xB, add the TRD blower and a great suspension set up to get a similar handling vehicle that has a much larger interior.
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One more thing:
INSURANCE!

The gen 2 xB is officially recognized as a "station wagon" by State Farm. So, the insurance is cheap.
In fact, for me, it was only $50/6-months more than the 1996 Ford Crown Vic it replaced. (Oh, I HATED how that CV drove!)

-Also, the Miata is a "2-door sedan" . . .
--So, according to State Farm, THIS is a station wagon and a 2-dr sedan:

-> Might as well be a Ford Focus or 2-door kia and a land-tank . . .

But, what it IS is a HECK of a lot more fun!
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As I think back over the vehicles I've owned since the dawn of the Bronze Age, the ergnomic range has run from the sitting low, legs out sports car position to the riding high SUV/pickup truck mode and everything in between. I've never really had any problems with seating position and its relationship to the pedals, gearshift, and steering wheel in any of these configurations. In retrospect, it's somewhat remarkable how easy it's been to adapt. However, bad seat design, obscured gauges, confusing knobs and other non-intuitive controls bother me more than anything else. I've had none of these problems with the xB. It initially bugged me a little that every time you start the xB you have to turn on the cruise control before you can set it, but I've adapted.

The xB is different, but for me it all works...even the center gauge cluster. I agree that the driver's armrest and center console are pretty useless. It also took me awhile to learn not to overrev the engine when starting in first gear, primarily because the engine is so quiet and I don't get the audible feedback I'm accustomed to.
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VERY much appreciating the feedback, everyone. Domo arigato!!!

TartanJack- I used to drive a '90 Miata, so I can definitely appreciate that car. In fact, I was considering buying an NA Miata outright & then putting the MCS on the market, but I decided I really want my primary driver to be under warranty for a while. I'd still like to get a MIata as an autocross demon.

From what eviljack said, I'm expecting something a little less extreme than the shifter position in an MR2. The MR2 shifter felt like it was at shoulder height. But even that wasn't too bad getting used to. As long as I'm not constantly leaning forward to reach the shifter, I'll be OK.

Waverider- not a monkey humping a dogs leg... in its full size, you would see that as a baby in a dingo's belly. As in "Dingos ate my baby!" ;)

Regarding comments by "scion" about the clutch & shifter, all the Toyotas I have owned in the past have had exceptionally easy & crisp shifters. Certainly hoping they don't let me down now, after all these years. I should know in about 6 more hours. I'll report back with my test drive impressions.
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DingoBoi said:
Continuing to do my homework on the xB, and I have a specific question...

I have read that the lack of a telesoping steering column disappoints. And I would agree. I'm not that tall (5'7"), but I like my legs extended in front of me & often adjust the seat as though I were 6 feet tall. Looking at interior pics, it appears that the gear shift might be a tad bit far forward. I always get manual gearbox, so I can imagine that it might be a bit of a reach. Hoping that's just a matter of distorted perspective & photogs fisheye lenses, etc.

Thoughts from 5-speed owners?
I went from a New Beetle 5-speed to the xB 5-speed. After drivng the xB for a month, I got back in the Beelte and reached out for the stick shift and it wasn't there! Actually, I find that the xB's is in an excellent spot, and very easy to reach. With the Beetle it turns out it's just a tad bit lower than the top of my thigh.

As far as the clutch goes, you'll find that there is a bit of a delay beween pushing on the accelerator pedal and engine response. It was annoying as heck at first, and still will get me on occasion. I never had a car before this one that responded so slowly.

An of course, WELCOME to the forum!!!:rockon:
OK, so I was satisfied with the car enough to go ahead & get one ordered. The ride quality is very smooth, but a little soft, so I'll probably ask Santa for some stiffer springs & maybe a rear sway bar. I can tell I will have to re-learn to downshift when passing on the highway, but that's OK. Overall, I liked it quite a lot. The shifter position is not nearly as far forward as the online pics made me fear it might be, and I have no qualms with the height. I think I may be one of those folks who wishes the steering wheel would telescope a bit, but It's not too far off my ideal distance from where I had the seat positioned.

Ordered:

'09 xB
Blackberry Crush
Manual transmission
Premium Audio w/ RCA outs
Interior Lighting package
Rear Spoiler
Keyless/Security upgrade
Carpeted floor & cargo mats
7 year/100,000 bumper to bumper warranty extension
Xzilon paint & fabric protection w/ 5 year warranty against paint/fabric damage (Down here in Florida we get these nasty insects called "love bugs" whose guts blanket our cars for a month or so twice a year. And if you don't wash them off darned near daily, your front bumper starts to look like the lunar surface.)

Arrival is tentative for 9/22. Salesman said all options are either installed at port or at dealer, so they intercepted one that's already in port at Jacksonville & placed an order to reconfigure it. Highly likely that I will have a set of wheels & tires ether in my garage or en route from Tire Rack by then. I think I'll also add the illuminated door sills later. They're nifty. And then the springs & sway bar. One by one, over the next few months, or when I send my list to Santa this year.
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Congrats!

So, first impressions:
How does it compare to the Mini "out of the box"/bone-stock?
TartanJack said:
Congrats!

So, first impressions:
How does it compare to the Mini "out of the box"/bone-stock?
That's a little hard to sum up, because my MINI didn't stay bone stock for long. But I can say this:

The ride is softer, smoother. Definitely nice for cruising. Seating position, while higher off the road deck, doesn't feel like an SUV, thank goodness. I had good visibility all around, with only a minor spot of blockage at the C pillars. Nothing that a thorough & peoper mirror check plus head swivel cannot overcome. (I do that anyway- paranoid about people in my blind spots)

Compared to the Cooper S (I never really drove a base Cooper) it lacks a little of the pep, especially in 5th gear (MINI has 6). But it is certainly not weak. The clutch/throttle is a little tricky/twitchy, but I am sure will adjust. Did not expect the clutch to engage so high up. Might ask the dealer to adjust it lower (if possible) before I take delivery.

Seating is a little less supportive, due to the miniscule side bolsters, but the overall seating position is fairly comfy. I think it would take longer on a long road trip for my arse to fall asleep.

Didn't really crank the stereo, but I did fiddle with the dials & such. It definitely has more wow/bling factor than the MINI unit.

Overall front passenger room is probably pretty close between the two, believe it or not. Due to its raised console around the shifter, the xB actually seems a bit more snug on the driver's side. But that may just be psychological. MINIs to have a LOT of front passenger room, though. My 6'11" friend Norm drives one, too.

Rear seat room, no contest. I have had 4 adults in my MINI, but only for short trips. I sat in the back seat of the xB, without scooting the driver's seat forward, and I had all kinds of room. Once again, I can be the guy that drives when I go out with friends!!!

Ditto for cargo. The MINI would surprise people once you folded the seats down, but it's simple physics- the xB is larger & has more uesable cargo space, hands down. I also like the little storage cubbies under the rear deck. I like to carry jumper cables, tire plugs, 12v compressor, etc. and that gives me a place to stow it all.

The xB doors feel a little thin/lightweight/less substantial compared to the MINI, but then I am comparing the longer doors of the 2-door car to the shorter doors of a 4-door.

I'm getting acid reflux from stressing about trading in my MINI, but I'm sure I'll get over it. Someday. :cry:
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Thanks.
That is what I thought/suspected. My brother has a Mini Cooper (non-S), so I had some experience. But, as you are coming from a Mini S, I thought it would be more obvious.
Remember: If the xB didn't drive as good as it does, I would have gotten a Mini Clubman (to fit the kids over the next 5-10 years).
Congrats and welcome to your new obsession :lol:
Welcome. You're gonna love your XB. :)
Congrats and welcome! Can I ask what drew you to the blackberry crush?
Shancopp said:
Congrats and welcome! Can I ask what drew you to the blackberry crush?
Hard to say. I don't care for silver/grey colors. And white was never my first choice for a car. (Although my Supra looked sweet in white) I guess I liked the darker colors on the xB, partially because once I add some dark window tint, it'll add to that odd "retro/future chop-top" look that drew me to the car in the first place.

I actually would have gone with Black, Blackberry Crush or the Teal. In this case, I told the salesman that I wanted to keep the stress over trading in my beloved MINI as minor as possible & told him to grab the first available car in the pipeline in one of those 3 colors, and the Crush was it. (I still have to wait 13 days, and I am fairly certain I will develop an unlcer between now & then)

One moronic thing I forgot to do was... locate the 12v power outlet(s) up front. I'm sure there's at least one, right? But where? HA! I have to figure out how to plug in all my toys, and I have a feeling I will be adding an outlet somewhere sooner or later.
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