CC Outtake: White Boxes, In Sizes S and M – Putting the xB into Context

My Driveway Outtake of my xB and Promaster van stimulated a few interesting comments, mostly about the xB, as it’s a vehicle that’s not easy to pin down in terms of categorizing it as well as getting a good handle on its size. There’s really no other vehicle quite like it on the US market, as it’s shorter and boxier than perhaps the nearest thing, the Kia Soul. It’s a Japanese kei microvan, but scaled up one size.

I have a few other xB comparison shots too (below), although I wish I’d done more. Maybe a whole series?

A comment or two suggested it close in size to the Chevy Astro van, shown here next to it. Not really, as the Astro is significantly larger in every dimension. The xB is only 155″ long; the Astro is 188″ long, as in a full three feet longer. And it’s taller, wider and much heavier. And the driving feel is totally different. The xB drives like a sporty car; the Astro the polar opposite.

I wish I’d posed the Astro and xB like this, as I did with the ’59 Cadillac coupe. This one tends to mess with folks’ heads, as it makes the caddy look small. Well, it is long, but the interior accommodations are very tight compared to the xB.

Here’s one with a ’32 Ford, to show how roughly similar they are in some regards, although the Ford’s interior is also drastically less roomy than the xB’s, whose interior dimensions in the front and rear seats are comperable to a Tahoe or such, except in width.

I have one more, with an Austin Mini. Not surprisingly, it makes the Mini look microscopic. In terms of driving feel, the xB is much closer to the Mini than any of the others by a long shot, with its little 1.5 L four that needs (and likes) to be caned, and gets so quite regularly.

And I just remembered that I have this one, in front of the Clark Cortez motorhome. Of course being in front makes the xB look relatively larger; I should have put them nose to nose. But the Cortez is actually only 18′ long, very short for a motorhome, and the xB is about 13′ long, so the difference is about 5′.

Update: Ed Snitkoff just reminded me that I also posed the xB with its nearest relative, the Ford Flex. I’m quite convinced that Ford was looking at the xB when they designed the Flex.

It’s just a lot longer.

The xB is a shape-shifter. Not so much itself, but it shifts the size of the vehicles it poses with.