A funny thing happened on the way to the skate park. Launching the Scion brand was a bold step for Toyota. It's goal: to appeal to Generation Y consumers by offering funky Japanese box styling and dozens of customization options. But it turns out that Gen Y had something in common with the Greatest Generation after all, because the practical and efficient xB scored just as well among retirees as current and former juvenile delinquents. Looks like the really great generations know to love a functional aesthetic when they see it.
Original Equipment Tires
both the 2005 and 2006 left Scion's factory doors with rims measuring 15 inches in diameter and about 6.5 inches wide, and Goodyear Eagle LS Grand Touring tires sized 185/60R15. That means a 185 mm -- 7.28-inch -- wide tire tread, and tire sidewalls measuring 60 percent of the tread width, or 4.3 inches tall. This tire had a max inflation pressure of 44 psi, weighed 18 pounds and was biased primarily toward traction on dry roads at the expense of treadwear and traction on water, snow and ice.
Cheaper and Better
The Goodyear LS was a decent enough tire, but there are better options for about two-thirds the price. The General Tire Altimax HP is another grand touring tire offering excellent traction on both dry and wet roads, decent traction in snow and on ice, and superior ride comfort, noise levels and increased treadwear; all for about $75 per tire, as of 2012, or a whopping $37 cheaper per tire. That's $148 saved per set -- or one 12-inch subwoofer and a small amp, in Scion-xB-speak -- and you get a far better tire and performance for the money.
The Economy Tire
The Altimax is a fine tire for xB's younger drivers, but older drivers have slightly different standards in terms of what makes an ideal tire. The Continental Procontact with EcoPlus technology costs $3 more per tire, as of 2012, than the Altimax -- still $34 less than original-equipment Goodyears -- and trades off a bit of the Altimax's dry and wet grip to increase fuel economy. Since these tires use a harder tread compound to reduce rolling resistance, you can expect a bit more road noise and a stiffer ride -- but you get a higher treadwear rating in exchange.
So you can get a good performance tire for cheap, or you can take the "mature" option to teach those backwards-cap-wearing, stereo-banging whippersnappers something about the value of long-term savings. Or, you can dump those 15-inch rims and their truck-like 60-series tires and get the best of both worlds. The Scion xB will fit a set of 18-inch rims, allowing you to use far lower-profile tires. Low-profile tires offer lower rolling resistance for increased fuel economy, and less sidewall flex for increased steering response. That's what can happen when great generations work together.