Scion announces new iPod-ready stereo for xB

Scion updates the standard Pioneer stereo in its xB model for the 2010 model year.

Scion xB stereo
Scion's new stereo looks well-designed for iPod browsing. Scion

In a response to tough economic times, Scion announced a new stereo for its 2010 xB model and a price unchanged from the current model year. The new stereo head unit is by Pioneer, and comes standard with the xB.

We've been impressed by Scion's early adoption of standard iPod connectivity, which continues in the 2010 model. The new stereo features a redesigned interface to the one it replaces, with controls that seem more appropriate for browsing music on an iPod and a better-looking display.

Scion xB stereo
The outgoing xB stereo looks drab compared to the new one. Scion

The sound system output, 160 watts, remains the same as the previous electronics. Beyond the improved interface, the major change seems to be new sound processing technology from Pioneer called Advanced Sound Retriever, which tries to restore depth to compressed audio tracks.

Scion also offers a new premium audio system, this one from Alpine, with an optional navigation component. The 200 watt Alpine stereo offers HD radio, Media Expander sound processing technology, and a 4.3 inch color touch screen.

Unlike other automakers, Scion's reliance on aftermarket stereo makers gives it an edge in upgrading its model line-up. Instead of major changes on the production line, a new, standard double-DIN stereo can be swapped in more easily.

Scion announced that the base price of a manual transmission 2010 xB will be $15,750, the same as the current model. With upcoming competition from the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube, Scion needs to keep up. But the new technology availability gives prospective buyers an incentive to hold of on an xB purchase until the 2010 models come out.

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