My Scion xB -- The Saga

Continued below...
It's so nice, i bought it twice THRICE.

Chapter 2 - Rude Awakening
Dec 4, 2008, i woke up to find that my 2004 Scion xB had been stolen -- leaving only a pile of glass from the left passenger window in my parking space.
It was one of the rare nights that i had not used my club-style steering wheel lock. I got a free unlimited mileage rental car and waited 21-days for State Farm to declare the car "unrecovered". January 5, State Farm declared the car unrecovered - total loss -- and using NADA prices, they paid us only $500 less that what we bought it for 13 months ago.

Chapter 3 - Deja Vu, xB [image coming]
Dec 25, 2008. It turns out my Dad's electric wheelchair will not fit in the Honda Fit -- we actually tried loading the wheelchair into Eliot's Honda Fit (last year, i had used just the wheelchair's measurements, not the actual wheelchair). There is plenty of room inside the Fit, but the hatch opening is just a bit too small and the wheelchair can't be tilted for loading the way i thought it could. So that left the tried and true Scion xB, but CarMax didn't have any local xBs with automatic transmission. Amazingly, after 9 pm Dec 25, CarMax Dulles, VA posted a 2006 Scion xB automatic. So from the CarMax web site i reserved a test drive at Dulles early Friday Dec 26 and Linda came, too. That 2006 Scion xB is every bit as nice as my old 2004, with a better radio (with auxiliary input jack on the console for an XM Radio or MP3 Player, etc) and only 26,000 miles (vice 80,000 on my 2004). So we bought it right on the spot -- the sticker price was $400 lower than the CarMax web site price. Laurel CarMax will "repair" the front windshield due to a crack in the driver's field of view, found during the delivery inspection.

Chapter 1 - Finding The Perfect Fit
Errata - See for EPA's revised MPG ratings -- not corrected here for hysterical reasons.

After almost buying a new 2007 or 2008 Honda Fit because the Fit gets 34 mpg and is bigger on the inside than on the outside (like Dr. Who's Tardis) so i can haul around Dad's electric wheel chair (36" high by 25" wide by 30" deep), i finally settled for a very much cheaper, but fully adequate 2004 Scion xB for its capacious cargo area. The 2004 through 2007 xBs get 34 mpg, but the 2008 xB gets only 28 mpg due to the xB switching to a Camry engine. The Fit and xB are the only two non-hybrid station wagons or SUVs that get such high mpg.

Anyway, i bought the xB on Nov 5, 2007 at CarMax Dulles, VA with the option to bring a credit union check in 3 days. Linda wasn't with me, so they drew up the contract and title under just my name, saying they could easily add Linda when i gave them the check in 3 days.

On Nov 6, 2007 I returned with Linda and the check -- oh, they said, we were wrong, we can't do that. So i had to officially "return the car" -- wait 15 minutes for the computers to catch up with that reality -- and then re-buy the car, with all fresh paperwork. No biggie, until we noticed that the credit union mispelled the payee CarMax on the check as "CarFax" . A quick call to credit union's 24-hour glass-enclosed nerve center resolved the problem -- following the credit union's instructions, i just corrected the spelling of the payee on the credit union check, added my initials, and voila.

On Nov 7, 2007 i called Laurel CarMax/Toyota to schedule the Maryland Safety Inspection required to get Maryland tags and they told me my VIN number was not a Scion xB but a Toyota Sienna and they would not do service on the car until that was resolved. Scion's "Customer Experience" center confirmed that the VIN is correct for my Scion xB. The problem was that someone at CarMax Laurel had typed in only the last few digits of the VIN instead of the full VIN, resulting in a false match to a Toyota Sienna VIN.

Dec 5, 2007 (Continued): Well, Maryland sent me metal license tags with a multi-purpose vehicle number xxxMxxx instead of a regular passenger car number, because somehow the title and registration say Toyota Truck instead of Scion 5-door Wagon. CarMax Dulles is retitling and re-registering my xB. They will ask for a passenger vehicle tag number but they don't hold out much hope for Maryland MVA correcting the Make and Style to Scion Wagon vice Toyota Truck.

Only two items needed correction during the 30-day warranty period. A missing plastic cap for the nut that holds on the rear window wiper, and the rear window itself will be replaced because the defogger heating elements were damaged. Otherwise the car is in fine shape and delivering 34-mpg as promised.

Dec 15, 2007 (Continued): Somehow, Karrin,
the title manager at CarMax Dulles, VA managed to intervene to get Maryland MVA to re-title, re-register, and re-tag my xB properly as a passenger class "Scion Station Wagon" vice "toyota truck". I have happily attached the new "substitute" metal tags to my xB.

Dec 29, 2007 (Continued): CarMax Laurel replaced the rear-window under the 30-day warranty, but i had to bring it back to fix a leak in the window seal. They also replaced the entire rear window wiper arm (including a new wiper blade) under the 30-day warranty. The wiper arm/blade unit is a Toyota/Scion proprietary design -- so you can't buy a replacement wiper blade anywhere. A Toyota/Scion original part replacement blade is $60 (vice $15 for a standard wiper blade). So far, this is the only aspect of my 2004 Scion xB that is not wonderful.