Scion xB

The first time I encountered the boxy little Scion xB, I couldn’t help admiring how unashamedly proletarian it seemed. Painted dark green, it looked a little like a military vehicle, and what it sorely lacked in Hummer-style “hooah,” it made up for in offbeat style—as if Doc Martens, rather than Don Rumsfeld, had a hand in its design. That’s when it hit me: “What a perfect gig rig for a musician!”
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Fast forward a year or so to a warm spring day when an xB Release Series 2.0 ($13,730 base/$17,494, as tested) in solar yellow was dropped off at the Guitar Player offices for testing—not to determine its 0-to-60 performance, or how well it cornered, but to find out how much guitar gear it could carry.

With five doors, the xB offers great access to its interior space, which is quite generous. Fold down the rear seats, and the area is tall enough to accommodate a 4x12 cabinet on its side with plenty of length remaining to place amp heads and other stuff behind it. And even with two 4x12s in place, there was ample room for five guitars! The rear foot wells easily absorbed a large toolbox, and a couple of more amp heads, and a hidden compartment next to the spare tire proved ideal for keeping cords, strings, pedals, and other accessories. If we had wanted to, we could have kept piling in more junk, using the supplied elastic net to keep everything stable.

Loaded with all the equipment you see here, our xB still had room for a passenger, and it handled in a tight, positive manner—thanks to its sport-tuned suspension. The acceleration wasn’t head snapping, but it had no problem pulling 70 mph up a steep grade when fully “gig” loaded. The xB’s creature comforts are satisfying, and its large, waist-high rear hatch makes loading-in and loading-out easy on the back. The only additional option I’d desire would be blackout windows to hide the gear when the band goes out for some after-show eats. Bottom line: The xB is a fun, funky, and environmentally sensitive little sled that’s near-perfect for gigging musicians.