I’m interested in the xB because, believe it or not, I like its styling and the functionality. But, I prefer to get more eco-friendly gas mileage than is currently available on the standard package. Is there a relatively straightforward way to get significant performance gains on this vehicle?
No. It already gets excellent fuel mileage for it’s size and shape. Be happy with what you have. As someone who’s daily driver get’s about 17 MPG (Mustang GT) and whose other vehicle struggles to get 10 MPG (Bronco). I am always amused with folks who buy econoboxes and still complain about fuel mileage.
The xB is basically a box, and pushing it through the air requires a certain amount of power, which means it has to burn a certain amount of fuel. Toyota has already maximized the fuel mileage of its vehicles. Anything you change will probably REDUCE the mileage.
Proper vehicle maintenance and gentle driving will maximize fuel mileage, but unless you can somehow streamline the xB, you won’t significantly improve the mileage.
If you want good gas mileage in a spacious vehicle, get one less boxy such as the Honda Fit with a stick shift or a Suzuki SX.
In spite of the xB’s boxy appearance, the front surfaces are actually curved, making it pretty aerodynamic.
If you want to increase the fuel economy, you could reduce weight by tearing out the interior and removing things like seats, the spare tire, and the jack. However, don’t expect the improvement in fuel economy to be measurable. These things are pretty light weight already. This might not give you what you call “significant performance gains.”
Like the others said, no, it’s fairly large, with a large 4-cylinder for decent performance. If mileage is important, look at the Fit, same general layout, but smaller, slower, and better mileage.
Take a look at the latest Car and Driver, they have a summary article on their long-term xB. One thing they did was put on the Toyota high-performance shocks, struts, and springs, which made the car handle much better.
so, instead of handling like a brick, it handles like a rock?