NEW YORK (
) -- We have had several cars during our 35-year marriage, but I'm certain my wife would tell you that my favorite, by far, is our current ride, a 2005
(TM - Get Report)
Scion xB, the color of a Dr Pepper can or (to be perfectly honest) an old Barney dinosaur doll.
I tell people the xB stands for "Xtra Boxy." I fell in love at the test drive. The seat feels like you're driving a truck, but the body starts just inches off the ground so the interior gives me a ton of headroom.
2005 was the first year for the Scion in America, and by the end of my first year with it I felt like a Toyota salesman. People were constantly stopping me at the market, or on the street, and asking to sit in it. I developed a patter about the circular speedometer, the way the back seats folded down to yield enough room for a $400
run, and the mileage -- better than 30 mpg on the highway.
Katrina hit soon after we got the Scion, and I had to go to North Carolina on business. Gas prices had shot up, and the roads were fairly empty. I filled the tank on leaving, completed my mission, and still had gas left when I returned to Atlanta. I was jazzed by that.
The turning radius on the xB is spectacular. When you're living in town, where parking places are at a premium, and often tiny, this is no small thing. I fit into places no car of mine had ever fit into, certainly not the Toyota Previa minivan the Scion replaced.
The 1992 Previa was the kids' car. They loved having three banks of seats: a back seat and a "back-back" seat. We could toss in a cooler, throw blankets and toys around, and take 3,000 mile trips in it. But when the kids became teenagers, the Scion did that same job. It's been to see my wife's family in Texas at least 10 times now.
Of course, the Scion has a strange time in Texas. Everyone there seems to have an SUV or a monster pickup. You can't see our xB in a parking lot. You have to turn on the "panic button" from the key chain and listen for where it is. When driving down the freeway you feel like a midget in a land of giants.