GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Scion xB
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SPEX

Year: 2003 
Class: Subcompact 
Type: 5-door MPV
 
Country: Japan ``````````````````````````````````` Host: GT4 & GT5
 
Price: $15,780 (GT4), $12,755 (GT5 used car lot)

GT5 mileage: 28,822.6

Construction: unitary steel

Length: 155.3" // Width: 66.5" // Height: 64.6"
Wheelbase: 98.4"
Overhang: 4 feet 9 inches
Track: 57.3" [F] 56.3" [R]
Ground Clearance: 6.5"
Body Construction: unit steel
Weight: 2,295 pounds (GT4), 2,358 (GT5)

Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
Tires: 185/60R-15
F. Suspension: M. struts / coils / anti-roll bars
R. Suspension: trailing beam axle / coils / anti-roll bars
Brakes: vented discs [F] drums [R]

* The GT5 car was given an oil change but no other maintenance
 
Engine: 1.5 liter DOHC inline-4
Aspiration: normal
 
``````````````````````````GT4``````````````````````````````````GT5`````````
Tested HP:   
114 @ 6,000 rpms             112 @ 6,000
Tstd Torque:
109 @ 4,000 rpms             108 @ 4,000

Fuel System: EFi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 2.95 x 3.33"
Compression: 10.5:1

                           GT4                        GT5
Credits per HP: $120.88                 $113.88
Lbs per HP:        20.13                     21.06
Hp per Liter:        76.2                      74.9

GT4 Idle Speed: 525 // Redline: 6,500 // RPM Limit: 7,000
GT5 Idle Speed: 625 // Redline: 6,500 // RPM Limit: N/A

Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Differential: open type
 
GT4 testing done with N3 road tires (not stock)
GT5 testing done with comfort medium radials (stock) & oil changed


                        GT4                             GT5
0-60 mph: 11.533 seconds                  11.279
0-100mph: 40.533                               42.439

400 M:
18.669 @ 76 mph                18.478 @ 75
1 KM:
34.142 @ 95                         34.064 @ 94

Brakes 100-zero: 4.167 seconds       5.817

Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: N/A

Test Track: N/A  (GT4)
Daytona Lap: 1:29.854
 
GT4 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 36 mph
2nd: 71 mph
3rd:
109.69 @ 6,400 rpms (drag limited)
4th: Nil

GT5 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 35.9 mph
2nd: 68.4 mph
3rd: 107.5 mph @ 6,5000 rpm (drag limited)
4th: Nil
 

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------------------------EXTERIOR---------------------

In an attempt to capture the cravings of today's youth, Toyota started their off-brand "Scion". Clever slogans to describe the xB, by far Scion's oddest model include: "The Box that Rox" and Scion/Toyota also challenges us to "Think inside the Box"
 
.....well there goes MY two clever slogans to start this review...
 
Anyways. The xB was originally released to (as I said) attract younger buyers--the so-called "Generation Y", who were born just as Nirvana and Pearl Jam were edging toward stardom. It is a funky vehicle. The xB was meant to be different. Expressive. Thru a huge variety of options, such as an assortment of sound equipment, ground-effect kits, and odd paint schemes, Scion released their "Box" to flashy commercials accompanied by a deep-voiced dude who I'll assume was supposed to represent the very spokesman of Gen Y.
 
...Little did Toyota/Scion know the xB would become popular, but half the buyers proved not to be young. Instead, most xB customers are older folks (at least in America this is true) attracted to the xB's low price and roomy interior. No, these baby-boomers won't be getting a giant Scion logo super-imposed on their MPV!  I'm not sure who Japan's version of the xB (the Toyota bB) attracts. Probably it actually is a vehicle for the youths of Japan.
 
In GT4, the Scion xB weighs-in at 2,295 pounds ... 130 pounds lower than a real-life version (in case you doubt me, I checked many websites, 'kay? I know what I'm talking about). In GT5, it's now slightly heavier at 2,358 pounds. Still below real-life, but at least PD finally tried to correct one of their many errors. We can find this one as a new car in GT4, but a used one in 5. In this latter game, the xB can be hard to find, but not impossible to find.

We unfortunately can't get our xB totaled out with some flashy Gen Y material (other than some colored rims and new paint in GT5), but it still looks dope (if a bit out of place) in replays as it copes along with smaller, sportier-handling vehicles.
 

------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------

Scion may have included all the treats for those who want a vehicle that's def, along with those who just want one that'll heft...options, options, options...
 
...but one thing they seem to have forgotten is the engine; or specifically, its lack of power. Let's have a show of hands: how many real-life customers (not to mention gamers) have purchased an xB looking for perhaps Civic-like gusto?? Hee hee!! The small-bore 1.5 liter engine packs just 108 horsepower before oil-change!! Oooh that hurts!! GT5 versions (all of which can be found in the used car lot) can possibly start with less than this. 

There's also the transmission, which is a very tall automatic 4-speed. 4th gear never got used during my testing in either game this MPV appears in, and later on when I was racing with about 175 horsepower at Route 246, the tranny hung in 3rd (even as I drafted another car down the length of 246's longest straight area), and then very begrudgingly lurched into 4th. That was one of the saddest moments ever in GT racing history.  
 
But honestly...if you've got a bit of skill, the xB can and will dominate such lowly races as the Sunday Cup, and with just a few more credits spent on a Stage 1 tuning or turbo in GT4 (GT5 will require some better exhaust or intake parts), the FF Challenge becomes very doable as well, especially when we mate the engine to a closer gearbox. Unfortunately, close gearing is a bit short....there's only a few tracks it's useful at. The wagon's stock gears (all four of them) tend to bog down a bit at some tracks when power is low.
 
Real-life customers may be stuck, but in the game we do have many choices: 3 levels of natural-tuning, 2 turbos, and even a supercharger can be conveniently bought from Scion or the tuning village in GT4. GT5 adds an extra high-speed turbo kit, and in either game, a full-custom transmission becomes our best option, if we're looking for some 'all-purpose' sort of action.  

But ultimately, the xB doesn't last long in either game. Power can be raised just over 200 hp, which means some Kei cars might have a longer career than this 5-door!
 

 

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-------------CHASSIS / HANDLING------------

GT4
Believe it or not, when I drove my blue Scion xB nearly stock in the Sunday Cup, I was surprised. This MPV (when it's young and powerless) is all handling.  So long as brakes are applied in a timely fashion, the steering that follows is genuinely precise, and only in the tightest corners will the front-drive system start to protest with bits of slow-corner exitness.
 
What I was expecting of course was a lot of understeer, but also oversteer as well. Yes there is some of this recalcitrance, but only if you mistreat the xB. Heavy braking? Yes ... but not necessarily early braking that is needed 100% of the time.
 
It seems that perhaps this wagon's squatness and lack of body overhang helps in this regard. Real-life xB's turn .83 g on the skidpad when equipped with Toyota-warrantied sport-handling parts and tires; absolutely amazing for what is supposed to be Generation Y's star multi-purpose vehicle. The best thing about SCION as I hinted is all their options (the body kits, the silly paint jobs) are warrantied.
 
And no, I don't work for Toyota or SCION. :0

GT5
Not much to report here. Like the xB of GT4, in this game the xB always does what it's told at first, with some understeer happening only if the driver forgets what the brake pedal is. Otherwise, this one always feels grippy into turns, and has loads of traction out of them, even with the crappy medium-grade radials equipped and no TCS. It helps that the xB has a rather car-like center of gravity, rather than a minivan-like center of gravity. The xB sometimes feels a little slow in turns with such tires equipped, and we can't always use the gas-pedal at the exact moment we'd like, but otherwise the xB does fine. 
 
...All of this assumes lower-speed turns are being tackled, though...during GT5's long list of easy racing expeditions.

Now, if we take a gander at the tire monitors, we can actually see the xB is often at the very edge of disaster! Those front tires especially are constantly heating up to red. A track like Madrid or London is an example here. Such shorter tracks have cramped, tighter turns, and the xB survives these turns with any complaints being rare ones. Only once this bulkmobile happens to driving thru some longer curves (Route 246 for example) during which longer moments of punishment are being dealt, will the xB finally start to understeer mid-turn more heavily.   

I drove an xB recently in the Clubman Cup. My yellow box (see pic) had medium-sport tires now, which is like trading a pair of off-brand shoes from Payless for a pair of Air Jordans. The Scion (in this set of races, and on these tires) has handling traits that are still mostly desireable than they are awful. Late braking can be used reliably as a tool to get by others, for instance. The Box also still grips, and displays also major traction out of slower areas, even without a limited-slip device. The only complaint here is a very minor one.

At Route 246, my Box had about 175 horsepower. Out of the final sharp turn, it started to display a few seconds of smokey wheelspin as I got onto the long "straight" area. This could have been cured with some LSD. But I still won the race (and with the stock 4-speed automatic transmission still in place!), so it can still be said that a limited-slip device is still very secondary.

Another complaint isn't so minor: understeer. It was encountered mostly at Tsukuba and Route 246, but it was just as easy to avoid this understeer as it was to explore it.

I like that word ... "explore". This is a really safe car to drive in this game. For somebody who is a new to GT5, the Scion xB makes a great beginner's vehicle. This green driver can learn about all the fun intricacies of understeer: how it starts, and what we can do as drivers  and tuners to avoid it. The xB is not the most understeery machine on the market, surprisingly enough, and for this reason it's a great teacher without being too demanding of a tyrant.  
 
Summary
So overall, not bad. The xB is not a sports car by any means, but compared with a Caravan, Kia Sephia, or some other such vehicle made for soccer moms? The xB stacks up mint baby. 
 


PROS----------------------------------------
 
1). Some fresh styling. Dopey Fresh!
 
2). Surprisingly lightweight.
 
3). Surprisingly tight handling, too...at least while the power is low.
 
4). What a low, low price. Great to start GT4 or GT5 with if you got some skills.
 
5). Power options on all three sides: NA, supercharger, and turbo. Torque band remains nice and flat, meaning power is generally guaranteed anytime (as meager as it is).

6). Great vehicle for beginners, and I think many beginners will choose an xB over Beetle or a Prius.
 

CONS----------------------------------------------

1). Honestly. This is not really supposed to be a race-car! There's a long, long line of us who'd prefer a long line of other cars left out of GT4 & 5 to the odd & boxy xB.
 
2). 4-speed tranny stock? Close gearing can only be used at the tightest of tracks and slowest of racing, meaning full-custom gears are eventually in this car's future if we're to pursue a fuller career with it.
 
3). Poor aerodynamics. The Box does fine with racing till it's hurdling down some straight with a hungry aero-coupe on its tail.
 
4). When power is stock, the front-drive system works like a devil on those tracks, mostly in a good way. But understeer and body-sway oversteer (especially in GT5) begin to steal these advantages as power gets upped.
 
5). The acceleration of a mailbox. Perhaps Scion was hoping real-life xB customers would be too stoned on extacy to notice.
 
6). The best power ups (Stage 2 turbo, Stage 3 na-tuning, and supercharger) take the xB a bit over 200 hp. Then the tuning is done. In GT4, the expensive Stage 3 natural tuning is your best way to go for $65,000. No intercoolers for turbos in GT4.
 
7). The Scion xB starts us off with a bang in the Sunday and Beginner's FF Cups, but ultimately has a shorter career than a PT Cruiser.
 

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