Last post on Dec 06, 2008 at 6:40 AM
You are in the Scion xB
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Scion xB, Performance Mods, Wagon
#3 of 25 Re: Performance upgrades--worth it? [dctalk]
Jul 14, 2006 (6:11 am)
The manual is geared lower. It accelerates faster, but does more RPM per MPH and gets worse mileage. At 80 MPH the manual is doing 4000 RPM vs the auto at 3500 RPM. The manual mileage is 1-2 MPG less per the EPA. However, the biggest factor in MPG is the driver, and while my city average is 35, some get less than 30.
The automatic is one of the best around, shifting well and learning shift points from the driver's habits.
The manual has a light clutch and shifting, very good for city driving. The clutch and synchros are a joy to use, but do not hold up to hard, abusive driving. Such people report gear clashing and clutch slipping as soon as 5,000 miles.
The stock shifter is fine unless you want a tighter feel and shorter throw, in order to shift faster. Faster shifting will soon cause problems. I had planned to buy a TRD shifter before the car arrived, but after getting the car, I soon decided the stock shifter was just fine. I upshift deliberately and do not apply power until the clutch is released. I don't downshift unless I want to use the lower gear to maintain or increase speed.
The stock clutch is fine unless you do burnouts and power upshifts, which will soon cause it to slip. The TRD clutch has stronger springs, but I think the lining is the same. Some people favor competition clutches of Stage 2 strength. My clutch is fine and I expect it to last a long time, but if I was to need another, I would use the TRD.
The most important thing to do about the suspension is to replace the hard KYB rear shocks with softer SensaTracs, made by Tenneco and sold by NAPA and Monroe. You can do this for $75 in 20 minutes with the car on the ground, and it will make the rear feel the same as the front. I think the TRD items are merely a little softer than OEM, especially the rears.
The front strut bar is useless except possibly theoretically in competition driving over very twisty or bumpy roads. It is supposed to keep the strut towers from flexing and affecting camber which affects steering. Older limber sport cars used these bars, but the xB strut towers are very close the firewall bulkhead and look very rigid. In any case, I feel no difference with my strut bar, and it does interfere with servicing the air filter and brake fluid, so I will remove and sell it 15K miles.
The rear sway bar does work and can be felt in daily driving. I got the TRD because it was said to be the least rigid. A very rigid bar will affect the ride of the rear suspension. The sway bar makes the xB corner flatter and also feel better doing it. Without a sway bar the car "oversteers" in a violent turn - the back end wants to swing out and maybe come around. With the sway bar the steering is neutral.
I don't favor the loud mufflers. The stock muffler has a nice purr or growl, especially audible with the windows down, yet does not drone at cruising speed. People with loud mufflers eventually want to add lead sheeting to the rear hatch and floor.
The single easiest performance upgrade is to use high octane gas. The high compression engine can use it. The 2005 xB was rated at 108 HP on premium gas, while the 2006 xB is rated at 103 HP on regular. Scion was told to rate the power based on the regular gas that was recommended in the Owners Manual. There is absolutely no ned to use premium unless you want that little extra power. I do.
#4 of 25 Re: Performance upgrades--worth it? [aatherton]
Jul 14, 2006 (6:20 am)
Thank you. This is exactly the sort of insight I was looking for and would help anyone who is looking to make a decision on these type of options.
#5 of 25 Re: Performance upgrades--worth it? [dctalk]
Jul 14, 2006 (7:22 am)
You asked about performance. Car & Driver tested the manual xB at 9.6 seconds 0-60 mph. This is decent, and the car is peppy to drive. The engine loves to rev, and the VVT allows it to pull hard from under 2000 rpm in 4th gear and still sing at 6000 rpm. But driving peppy means using heavy throttle and lots of RPMs, and that will push the MPG down into the high 20's.
Likewise, the manual is good at high speed, having the RPMs and power to hold speed on Interstate hills at 80, where the auto cannot. But at 80 mph, the manual transmission's high RPMs and the car's boxy shape, plus constant aggressive jockyeing, will combine to again push the MPGs down into the high 20's.
On the other hand, at a steady 60 in the Interstate, I get 43 mpg.
#6 of 25 Re: Performance upgrades--worth it? [aatherton] NOT THE HOST HERE
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jul 18, 2006 (2:29 pm)
If it's any help, I've driven both xB and xA with front strut bars and it's true the difference is subtle...what you'll notice is faster "turn in" on corners taken at high speed.
The rear sway bar is a definite good thing.
The sport muffler is one of preference. It won't give you "power" but if you like hearing the engine a bit more (like for downshifting feedback, etc.), it's fun to have it.
I also installed a keyless entry from Best Buy for only $129 vs. dealer ripoff price (without alarm).
I don't recommend the short shifter unless you are really doing some spirited driving...the stock shifter is easy to use and shifts softly in heavy traffic. I can just lay my elbow on the arm rest and shift.
The manual transmission cars are geared lower but definitely help performance 0-60. I found the automatic xB to be a little too anxiety producing in certain situations.
BETTER TIRES -- this is one thing I plan to do with my xA at some point. The OEM tires on xAs and xBx are too soft in the sidewall.
SYNTHETIC OIL --- with synthetic oil, premium gas and a manual transmission, my xA really scoots from the stoplight. There is no sense of "not enough power".
#7 of 25 TRD Muffler?
Dec 27, 2004 (11:28 am)
Anyone have the TRD (Toyota Racing Design) muffler designed for the Scion xB/xA? The stock muffler on my xA is restrictive, but the after market (Dynomax, Magnaflow, Walker, etc.) ones I have tried so far drone a little too loud for me. The Customer Service rep at TRD claims the tone is lower, but not louder, with the TRD muffler, which is designed for the car and not interchangeable. On the other hand, the TRD muffler costs about as much as all the other mufflers I have tried to date, combined.
#8 of 25 cold air intake system...
Jan 12, 2005 (6:54 am)
I am in the market for a new car, but was planning on purchasing a matrix. However, this little car caught my eye (cargo space and price), so now, it is a consideration.
About the CAI...Dealer wants around 300 or so for it. Are there any pros or cons to having it? Will it make this car perform closer to a Matrix engine? Will it improve gas mileage?? By how much? Thanks.
#9 of 25 cold air intake...
Jan 13, 2005 (5:02 am)
I went to the Scion dealership and got approved for an xb. I test drove the Matrix again as well, and found that I liked the styling and the roominess of the xb better. One thing I didn't like about the xb (and the Matrix too for that matter) is the lack of power. Not that I need THAT much, but too me, the automatic was a little sluggish.
The salesman is trying to tell me that the CAI will give me 15 more horsepower without gaining gas mileage. From reading the posts on this forum, it seems the opposite is true. Any comments on this...
Jan 13, 2005 (5:54 am)
Ask if you can drive one equipped that way. Some CAI systems create a lot more noise, and my concern would be that might get tiring on a long drive.
Jan 13, 2005 (8:59 am)
Most sports compact magazine tests of CAI on comparable sized engines indicate a very small increase in horsepower, about 1-2 horsepower, in exhange for which there is considerable noise increase, arguably poorer filtering (the oil soaked gauze cloth vs. a paper element), and a risk of wetting out the exposed filter element in heavy puddles etc. The one caveat to their dyno tests is they are on a dyno with no airflow (air pressure from freeway speeds) which might help the CAI; on the other hand they are comparing to stock airboxes with the same set up.
The biggest improvement in performance with the Scion, in my personal experience, comes from just breaking in the car; after about 6,000 miles of break in, the engine loosens up and drives well with a lot more power. In my experience, the engine also responds well to mid-grade gasoline, though it will run without obvious problems, like pinging, on regular.
Finally, try driving another xB. I was recently considering trading my stick shift xA in on an xB or xA automatic, and I took both out for a test drive. The xB was fast and responsive, WITH AN AUTOMATIC, while the xA with an automatic felt sluggish. The xB felt about responsive, in normal driving, as my stick shift xA. Later I realized it was how the automatic transmission was shifting in the two test drifes. The xB's held each gear a little longer to hit higher rpm, and downshifted more readily (one reasonable gear, not the usual "drop it too gears to hear it scream" that most automatics do), while the xA shifted a little earlier on the way up and a little later on the way down. So, based on two test drives within a few days of each other, I'd say the "tuning" on the automatic has a lot to do with the responsiveness of the car. And, yeah, no matter what, you'll have to work the engine harder, give it more throttle and make it stay in lower gears longer, if you want more performance.
BTW, I don't know if its true, but a friend told me today that how you drive the car initially is how the computer will learn your driving style. I do know the electronically controlled transmission in the Scion is supposed to be adaptive, learning when you are driving hard and when you are taking it easy and adjusting the upshift and downshift points on the fly. You could always try disconnecting the battery to reset all the computer modes and "retraining" your car, but I suspect the difference in the two Scions I test drove has more to do with variations between factory units than the way it was driven (don't all test rides get driven relatively hard?).
Another bit of personal experience. I recently had a PT Cruiser with auto and the non-turbo 2.5, and a Neon with auto and the stock 2.0 engine. Both have the same Chrysler 4 speed automatic. On the PT, the automatic upshifted early, unless I gave it a LOT of throttle, and if I gave it enough throttle to downshift, it would often drop two gears, leading to a lot of racket and an almost immediate upshift to the next gear up, the one it should have been in in the first place.
The Neon, on the other hand, is a peach, it throws easy downshifts, just one gear, with just a hint of more than normal throttle, and it stays in lower gear during acceleration longer with just a hint of more than normal throttle.
Apparently the first year out on the 4 speed on the Neon, people griped how sluggish the car was, so the retuned the automatic - no gear changes, just told the computer to respond to throttle inputs differently. I suspect the sluggish PT was the result of its older demographic (older drivers) and the desire to preseve quiet in the cabin and fuel economy (fuel economy on the PT stinks).
Anyway, try another xB, and try different throttle styles. I find that if I give the throttle a more aggressive start, I can trick the car into delaying the upshift, but if I want to save gas, I can back off the throttle slightly after I hit a certain rpm and the tranny will still delay the upshift (if you back off the throttle too much, it shifts immediately). In otherwords, tip in the throttle aggresively to alert the computer you want a delayed upshift, then back off slightly. Driving thse adaptive automatics requires learning how to use the throttle not only to govern the throttle body, but also to govern the shift points on the auto.
Good luck - I found the xB I test drove to be plenty zippy, and by the time I traded in my xA at 12,500 miles, it had gotten quite fast, with the stock muffler and stock intake - not even a K&N airfilter!
#12 of 25 Re: Performance upgrades--worth it? [aatherton]
Aug 09, 2006 (3:50 pm)
Monroe Sensatracs #5987 for an Echo are $82 and some change right now at Sears. They are offering free installation, so of course, I jumped on it and special ordered the shocks. Should be here in 2-4 days. I believe that the free install ends this weekend or August 12th. After reading all the posts on how these shocks change the ride I couldn't resist and bought them. My car only has 126 miles on it. Thanks for all the info.