2008-up Scion xB
2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013
Jon Paulette is a veteran automotive writer who has spent a fair portion of his life hanging out at racetracks and talking to amazing people who make extremely loud cars reach ridiculous speeds. Despite all that, he still has enough hearing left to enjoy a stupidly large music collection. A native Virginian, Jon lives in the Charlottesville area, roots for the Nationals and would like a good BBQ sandwich right about now.
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2008 Scion xB (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The original Scion xB was a small, quirky box of a car that quickly found a loyal following in a crowded U.S. marketplace. When it was time for a revamp, Scion (okay, okay, Toyota) stayed close to the original concept by making a bigger box. Still quirky, mind you, just bigger. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but for whatever reason, the longer, lower, and wider xB never sold as briskly as the car it replaced. That doesn't mean it's not a good car, it just means…well, we honestly have no idea what it means. We do know that we have several of these xBs in our company parking lot these days, and their owners are quite happy.
The second-gen xB might not have matched the original model's breakout success, but it's still a practical, reliable people-mover with just enough of Scion's trademark Scion-ness to keep things interesting. The center-mount gauge cluster remains, and it remains an acquired taste. If you've been driving an older xB or a MINI, you'll feel right at home. If not, it'll feel as though someone snuck into your house and moved your television two feet to the right. It's different, and quite purposely so, but that's just part of the xB's charm.
If you think an xB is the car for you, you're probably right. And if you're a music lover, giving your bigger box a bigger boom is easier than you probably think it is.
Factory stereo system
The xB's factory Pioneer radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The xB's standard system was a 6-speaker set-up centered on a Pioneer AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA/AAC receiver. Aux and iPod® inputs were located on the center console. Improvements along the way included a new faceplate, an extra RCA output for a subwoofer and, in 2012, a built-in HD Radio™ tuner.
One of Scion's most interesting selling points has always been the vast array of dealer-installed options available. This arrangement allows the buyer to customize their xB with all sorts of appearance and entertainment options, including a premium Alpine system, touchscreen nav, and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
We have not fully researched an xB equipped with the optional gear, but our fit and compatibility recommendations still hold true.
Replacing your factory radio
The xB's Pioneer receiver is relatively easy to remove and replace. A variety of 2" single- or 4" double-DIN models will fit with help from the mounting kit that's available at a deep discount with most receiver purchases made at Crutchfield. If you're installing a 4" receiver, you'll need to use the factory radio's mounting brackets in order to install your new receiver. If you don't have the brackets, you can obtain them from your dealership.
You'll need to remove this trim panel (Crutchfield Research Photo)
To remove the old stereo, pry out the edges of the receiver/vent trim panel to release the retaining clips, then remove the panel. Next, you'll pry out the rectangular trim panel above the heater controls, release those clips, and remove that panel, too.
With the radio exposed, you can remove the four 10mm screws that hold it in place, disconnect the wiring harnesses, and remove the receiver.
When you replace the factory radio, you'll lose your factory XM satellite radio capability and AUX input connection. Thankfully, both features are available on a wide variety of aftermarket stereos.
You'll need a mounting kit to secure the new receiver and wiring harness that will connect your new stereo to your vehicle's electrical system. If you purchase your new receiver from Crutchfield, the harness is also available at a deep discount with most receivers.
Tools needed: Panel tool, socket wrench and extension, 10mm socket
Steering wheel audio control
If you want to continue using the steering wheel audio controls with your new stereo, you'll need to install a special adapter. Of the two available, we recommend the Axxess ASWC-1. This adapter plugs straight in without splicing, with the help of Metra's 70-8114C harness adapter.
Replacing your factory speakers
Upgrading the speakers in your xB will make an already-decent sound system into something special.
Front door speakers
The xB's factory system isn't bad at all, and the component speakers in the front door are a big reason why. That said, a set of aftermarket component speakers will sound even better. A quality set of separates will bring the soundstage up to your ears and let you hear all the details of your music.
The Scion xB's front door – the tweeters are in the sail panel (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The stock 6-3/4" woofers, which are wired in parallel with the tweeters, can be replaced by a variety of 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" component speaker woofers, all of which come with free mounting brackets from Crutchfield.
The overall process is reasonably straightforward, but you will need to drill out the rivets that hold the factory models in place, then drill new mounting screw holes for your aftermarket speakers.
If you've ever successfully drilled a hole in anything, you're probably equipped to do this. The major difference is that you're drilling a hole in your car this time, so be careful. Double-check your measurements before you drill and always be aware of things like wiring, windows, and safety devices. We're not your Mom, but we're still going to remind you to wear eye protection.
You'll need to remove the door panel first, and you'll start that process by prying out the sail panel assembly that houses the tweeter, then disconnecting the wiring harnesses. Once the tweeter assembly is out of the way and you've removed the power window switch panel, work your way around the sides and bottom of the door with your panel tool, gently prying it away from the door to release the retaining clips. Once the panel is loose, disconnect the door lock and release cables and remove the panel. We're painting with a broad brush here, but you'll get all the detailed instructions you need in the Crutchfield MasterSheet™ that's free with your purchase.
A vast number of component tweeters will fit into the factory assembly, but you may need to trim the cutout a bit to fit a new tweeter in the space. You'll also need to fabricate a bracket to hold the new tweeter in place. Our universal backstrap can help with this. A wiring harness is not available for this location, so you'll either have to cut off the factory connectors and splice the speaker wires, or use a set of Posi-Products speaker connectors.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, drill with 5/32" bit
Rear door speakers
The xB's rear door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The rear door speakers are also 6-3/4", 4-ohm models, and you can replace them with 6-3/4", 5-1/4", or 6-1/2" aftermarket speakers.
You'll need to drill new mounting holes in this location as well, and you'll also need brackets(available at a special price with with your Crutchfield order) to install your new speakers.
The removal and replacement involves essentially the same processes you used up front. All the details can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, drill with 5/32" bit
Bass in your xB
Bazooka's 8" sub enclosure
As you might expect, the xB has plenty of rearward room if you're thinking about building a subwoofer enclosure. The available space is 38" W x 19" H x 20"/27" D, which will hold a pretty impressive box.
If you're concerned about cargo space, which, since you bought an xB in the first place, you might well be, you can choose from a wide variety of powered subs. Bazooka offers an 8" sub enclosure that comes with a built-in 100W amp and custom brackets designed especially for the 2008-up Scion xB. The installation is of the enclosure is relatively simple, but the subwoofer will have to hardwired, just like installing any other powered sub.
You can also opt for the JL Audio Stealthbox. This custom enclosure, which fits behind the rear seat on the passenger's side, houses a 12" JL Audio sub. You'll lose some storage space, but the cargo area will still be usable.
Here are some other upgrade ideas for your Scion xB:
iPod® and satellite radio adapters
If you don't want to replace the factory receiver, you can still add versatility and great sound to the system. We offer several adapters that will allow you to use an iPod, MP3 player, or satellite radio with the factory system.
The Dynamat 10435 Xtreme Door Kit is the perfect way to seal in sound. This heavy-duty insulating material is easy to install, and it really makes a difference. One kit will take care of the front doors in your xB.
Installing a security system in your Scion isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's less complicated than it could be. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.
Good, better, best
Good: The factory Pioneer speakers in your xB aren't that bad, so your audio upgrades should start with a new receiver. The added power of a new receiver will make the stock speakers sound even better, plus you'll enjoy new features like Bluetooth® connectivity and a USB input for your music.
Better: For your next step, you can swap out the speakers or hold onto them a little longer and add a subwoofer instead. The extra bass will add warmth and depth to your music, making everything sound better.
Best: If you haven't done so yet, now's the time to pitch the factory speakers. Add a component speaker system up front to take advantage of those excellent tweeter locations. Then, power them with an external amplifier. A 4-channel amp will give your speakers the juice they need to bring out all the details in your music.