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.
Yes, posing old and new cars together gives us all a needed dose of reality. We all remember the old ones as so big, and in terms of length and width they were. But new cars are tall, from hood to taillights make older stuff look more and more oddly proportioned the more time goes by.
If you park your XBox in a modern parking lot it probably looks like a microcar among the big boys. My Fit looks teeny in today’s parking lots.
When I was searching for parts and accessories for my 1G xB, I found it listed under varying body types, dependent on what website I was looking at. I saw hatchback, station wagon, MPV and even micro van.
Swallowed a good-sized chest freezer once; I swear that thing is a Tardis.
It uncanny how much the 1st gen xB looks like a mini Astro. I liked the 1st gen much better than the 2nd gen. I think the second gen Xb would qualify as a deadly sin for Scion since it contributed to the ultimate demise of Scion.
Despite Scion attempting to market the vehicle to younger car buyers, the average buyer was 46 years old. Sales peaked in 2006 with 61,306 and started falling with the 2nd gen redesign. Towards the end of the Xb’s life they sold 16,583 units. Conversely Kia Soul sold 145,316 units.
How many of those Kia Soul units were sold to fleets. I always seem to get one when I rent from Alamo.
Soul is wildly successful around here as a consumer-owned vehicle. I would get one from Zipcar sometimes, and I found the first gen to be extremely competent if a bit bland in the driving department. Which, for the target market, is probably not a bad thing at all.
My wife doesn’t like the styling so it wasn’t on my short list last year, but if we (god forbid) ever needed a second car, I’d think about one for myself.
I think you also had a picture of the xB next to a Ford Flex? I always liked that one because it showed how similar they look when right next to each other.
Yup. Twice. actually! I just added a couple of that encounter. And I’m quite convinced Ford was looking at the xB when they designed the Flex. It’s basically a longer xB, and lots of similar details.
Thanks for posting the pics! I think you’re right. The front and rear fascias of both cars are extremely similar.
If your better-half enquires what you want for Christmas, may I suggest some five-spoke alloys for the xB – but no bigger than 15 inch please……..
Aftermarket alloys are so…20th century! Since almost every car on the road has alloys, I chose not to. 🙂
And there are practical reasons too: I often drive on very primitive forest roads at higher than typical speeds, and invariable hit massive potholes that threaten to knock my fillings out. My steel rims show a few minor bends, but I worry what it might do for alloys. They’re more brittle.
I think the steel wheels look good with Paul’s Xb. It gives it a nice retro look. Maybe some dog dish hub caps would improve the look, ones like the old Mini has. Cheesy alloy wheels would not look as good.
I like the steelies! I think they fit the car and the owner (or at least his persona as CCChief) quite well.
Flex designers were looking at the modern Mini Cooper as well, particularly the straight-line roof with blacked-out C-pillar.
True. They were looking at both of them.
Seeing these pictures again (especially Caddy vs xB) makes me want to find some lower/longer/wider specimens and park my Buick Encore next to them. As much as I like my car, I’ll be the first to say its proportions are a bit… odd. I believe C&D called it a “luxury potato.” What I have noticed is that people think it’s a much larger car than it is because of its height. Even my garage neighbor, who has a 2000s Accord, says “oh wow what a big SUV!” when her car literally parked 6 inches away is like 18 inches longer.
CC effect, I just pulled my ’76 Peugeot 504 (white) out of the garage this weekend and parked it behind my 2004 Xb (not white), I’ll take a picture and post tomorrow. The Xb is MUCH smaller, a good 20 inches shorter.
2004 Xb vs 2004 Ford Ranger
Xb vs 1973 Peugeot 504GL
The overall roofline of the xB appears similar to that of the Astro’s; everything else except the color is different. And the Astro is DEFINITELY taller than most CUVs & minivans (& even SOME full-size pickups & SUVs!); just ONE drive around town confirms this. Yes, taller than the Ford Aerostar as well–75″ vs. 72.9-74″ (depending on rear-vs-AWD; I think ALL Astros were the same height regardless of drivetrain). Based on Internet research, I believe the Mercedes-Benz Metris is about the same height as the Astro, but around a foot longer (202″ vs. 190″) while 2″ narrower (76″ vs. 78″). Interesting info indeed.