More than four years ago, Scion introduced the xA, an efficient and practical subcompact car to satisfy the needs of commuters and city dwellers looking for efficient transportation. But it didn’t deliver the style and drivability that all young buyers—Scion’s primary market—often want. So the Toyota off-shoot brand went back to the drawing board and developed the xA’s replacement. It’s called the xD. It’s still small and efficient, but offers an edginess its predecessor lacked.
If you’re thinking about buying a Scion xD, you might also consider a Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris. Compare these vehicles.
The xD’s presence is defined by a boxier silhouette, and more chiseled lines from front to back. Though it is virtually the same length as the xA, it has a wider stance and shorter overhangs, giving the car a more athletic look.
To that end, the xD is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rating at 128 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, a 15 percent increase over the xA. The new engine’s variable valve timing contributes to both more power and higher efficiency. Government fuel economy is 27 in the city and 33 on the highway with a manual transmission, and 26 city/32 highway with an automatic. The xD’s fuel economy falls pretty much in the middle of the pack within the subcompact segment.
On the road, the xD has the plenty of punch and power to contend with the bigger, stronger beasts roaming the urban jungle. Off the line, it launches in a hurry, especially with the manual transmission. The four-speed automatic is a tad slower, yet still adequate enough for all types of driving conditions. Due to its power-to-weight ratio, passing and quick lane changes will rarely be an issue for this car.
Ride and handling are far superior to any of the small car offerings from Detroit. Yet, it still falls short to stalwarts Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris with respect to agility and road comfort. Not to say the differences are enormous, but they are no doubt noticeable.
The tiny xD’s four-seater cabin offers ample passenger and cargo space. There is a surprising amount of headroom and legroom in both rows. And the rear seat is more versatile than any other in its class. It reclines, slides back and forth depending on the need for cargo room, or folds down flat to open up almost 36 cubic feet of storage capacity.
The xD comes very well equipped with standard amenities that surpass most in its segment. This is one of Scion’s claims to fame. Included in the base price are features ranging from a premium Pioneer audio system to six airbags to anti-lock brakes. Tire pressure monitoring also comes standard. And though Electronic Stability Control is optional, most of the xD’s subcompact competitors, including the Honda Fit, do offer it at all.
The Scion xD is an obvious step forward from the xA. With Toyota build quality, a stylish design, and good fuel economy, the Scion xD is a smart choice for anyone looking to split the difference between budget ride and fun commuter.