By on August 31, 2007

08scion_xd_01.jpgThe Scion brand has turned to face some strange ch-ch-changes over the last model year. The bento-box-on-wheels xB was re-fashioned for American tastes, exchanging hip Nipponese style for porky gangsta chic. And now the xA, the mini-minivan-shaped thingie that somehow (unfortunately) captured the spirit of the orthopedic Toyota Echo, has been axed. In a break with ToMoCo’s tradition of maintaining model names, Scion has decided to replace the xA with the xD, a mini-CUV-shaped thingie with bad ‘tude. Go figure.

I suppose the best thing that can be said about the xD’s looks is that they’re not nearly so bad in person. The four-door’s evil Pokemon bumper isn’t quite as offensive as it appears in photos. The teeny rear window isn’t really as small as an Electra-Glide’s windscreen. The flame-surfaced sides aren’t as dopey as a Bimmer’s. And the overall effect isn’t nearly as revolting as it could be.

That said, the xD’s grossly distended C-pillar, which links it with the hideous xB, is worse than it appears. Why Scion decided that this visual obstruction should be the brand’s new visual signature is beyond me; unless they’re secretly in cahoots with the insurance industry. I digress.

2008_scion_xd_a.jpgThe xD’s interior is surprisingly swank for one so affordable. Thankfully, the dash ditches the xA’s heinous center display for a more user-friendly central speedo; albeit one housed in a plastic surround reminiscent of a Kohler urinal. The xD’s climate control dials were lifted straight from the Camry, but their tactility doesn’t induce instant recoil. Even better, all the hard bits are sparkly and shiny. And the xD’s sporty-looking chairs are firm and supportive, despite their cuddly-soft covering.

More to the target demographic, the xD’s standard Pioneer-branded audio system offers wheel-mounted iPod connectivity (take that VeeDub). For an additional $389, you get six sick speakers and wikkid graphics. Pony-up $1950 for the Alpine sat nav audio system and you’re looking at backlit blue buttons, touch screen, hidden DVD player–  enough bling to satiate all but the crunkest of pimps. While that’s well over 10 percent of the car’s purchase price, the F&I guy’s got a deal for you…

On paper, the interior of the xD is smaller than the xA it replaced. Yet it manages to feel bigger inside. That’s because the rear seats are well off the floor and set back farther into the trunk, affording rear-seat passengers the kind of legroom xA passengers dreamed about/prayed for. You can slide the xD’s rear seats forward from the hatch, adding an extra four to five inches of length. The seats also fold flat, providing plenty of cargo space for college-bound rug rats or yard sale-haunting retirees.

08scion_xd_11.jpgStart ‘er up, put the pedal to the metal and you’ll know why this car costs $16k. The xD’s 1.8-liter, Corolla-sourced engine squirts out 128-horses. First gear is woo-hoo fun, second gear is a crushing disappointment, and third and fourth are totally forgettable. To help compensate, Toyota offers an automatic setup whereby you can quickly downshift into third gear for passing. At which point the four cylinder mill starts thrash talking, providing nothing particularly helpful in the way of oompf. Hey it’s the thought that counts.

The steering is light and nimble, if predictably numb. The xD rolls through corners like a drunken frat boy, but there is little understeer (a non-speed-related bonus) and dealer-sourced sway bars and a handful of other performance mods will make it, uh, better. Anyway, get a grip (so to speak). At its heart, the xD is an economy car for economy-minded buyers. And that leaves only one real beef with the car’s “performance:” the astonishing amount of wind and tire noise whilst underway. This baby needs some Lexus DNA, stat.

The xA’s 2300lb. curb weight and minuscule engine deliver 27/35 miles per gallon (EPA new method, automatic transmission). Big bruddah xD weighs 300 lbs more, and sports a larger engine, leaving drivers with a slightly less miserly 26/32. But if you like extra grunt– OK, any grunt– it may be worth sacrificing the extra gas for your pleasure.

08scion_xd_06.jpgIn driving for the cheap, urban hipster segment with the first round of Scions, Toyota managed to nail the cheap, middle-aged set square between the eyes. The xB and xA were hits with the gray-hairs, selling in surprising amounts to people who just wanted something small and versatile with great gas mileage. Now that the new xB and xD thoroughly alienate that set of purchasers– due to their shoddy gas mileage and menacing sheetmetal– what’s left?

Most of the cool kids are driving Hondas, after all. But the xD is an amazingly cheap deal. In base trim, the xD doesn’t feel that cheap to drive (take that, Versa). In the end, it speaks better to Scion’s target audience than the xA ever did, even if its more aggressive demeanor disappoints prior fans.

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65 Comments on “Scion xD Review...”


  • avatar

    Looks like what the Matrix shouldawouldacoulda been… still… I don’t get the Scion bland brand.

  • avatar
    blautens

    I can’t even think about the xA to xD conversion…I’m still grieving over what happened to the xB.

  • avatar
    jpc0067

    Thanks for the review, I’ve actually been waiting for it, just to see if this is just an uglier five-door Yaris. $16000 seems like too much to me. I guess it’s that Toyota brand premium. And that’s exactly what a Fit Sport goes for, so maybe not. But I think I can stretch just a little bit and get a new, stripped Mazda 3 on Z-plan (prolly want those airbags in the Mazda, though).

    Glad to see the dial is in the right place. Someone needs to tell Mini theirs looks like a Safeway produce scale.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    While the original xB was a cool little box, it has morphed into one of the ungainliest vehicles on the road. Simply odious.

    The xD is at least inoffensive, but the huge drop in gas mileage will surely alienate the people who really buy them (parents- for their kids, and grandparents – for themselves).

    I’d much rather have a Fit (I am SO witty)than be seen in this penalty box.

  • avatar
    chanman

    Oddly, I don’t think the xD needs to appeal to the old folks anymore. The original xA and xB seemed to come across as a new way to sell Echos in the US – Echos sold fine in Canada, and we didn’t get any Scions of our own.

    Now that the Yaris is selling in the US, wouldn’t that overlap with the xD enough to satisfy the gray-hairs looking for simple transport? Similarly, won’t the Matrix (and the next Corolla-based wagon/5 door hatch) be enough of a substitute for the new xB to satisfy the other demographics not originally targetted by Scion?

  • avatar
    shaker

    I looked at one of these (didn’t drive); the interior quality seemed quite nice for the price (not Caliberesque in the least); but like the Fit, the ergonomics are a bit goofy for 6+ footers, and not as much elbow room as I’d like. Nicer stereo, but the Fit’s guage cluster is cooler.

    It’s a wash if:
    You want better mileage, “open”, “cute”, more useable room –Fit.
    You’ll give up a little mileage and room for a more aggessive style/performance: xD.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I admit that the new car look of today is totally different during the 90′s.

    They have more Aerodynamic look and futuristic in style. I think the consumer behavior again is being judge. If you noticed trucks, cars and suv’s have sharper front end nose or flatter with grills and more on the hood scoop or scoops, tarmacs,spoilers and body kits.

    I think if you are 45 and older you wouldn’t like the Scion Xd or other cars that look more like the Delorean style but not with teens and twenty-something boomerang generation they love this kind of a car.

    Even my father who is only 40 yrs old loves the new style of cars out there. He said if they can only make trucks more futuristic like the Isuzu Vehi-cross.

    He will feel more 20 something but he is part of the Generation x crowd that are getting older but still have taste for new car design.

  • avatar

    Hurry up Nissan and bring out the cube to the US and sell to the old Xb market. I’m interested in seeing how many they can sell in comparison to the new Xb

  • avatar
    Jonathon

    The xA’s 2300lb. curb weight and minuscule engine deliver a fantastic 31/38 miles per gallon.
    These numbers appear to be from the pre-2008 test, while those for the xD are from the new test. Under the new test, the auto xA gets 27/35. Not quite as drastic of a difference.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Under the new test, the auto xA gets 27/35. Not quite as drastic of a difference.

    I call that drastic. Especially since the xD now gets the same gas mileage as my GTI. Which has a larger engine, a turbo, and much more power. And then consider that everything else in its class gets better gas mileage — yes, it’s got a more powerful engine, but most people in the small car segment expect better. I think even the Corolla squeezes out better mileage than this.

    Shaker, I didn’t have too much trouble fitting in the front or rear seats, and I’m 5’10″. I suppose you can take that with a big grain of salt, but i have super long legs and managed to do pretty well. Wished it had a telescoping steering wheel, though.

    I’ve driven the Fit, and the xD, and the Versa, and of all three, I’d take the xD, despite its vomitous appearance. The Fit just wasn’t as fun, and the Versa had the cheapest interior imaginable. For $16,000, you’re getting a pretty dang decent car with the xD.

  • avatar
    partsisparts

    How did this car get 4 stars? The review did not say to many nice things about it.

  • avatar
    Jonathon

    Megan: That’s why I said not AS drastic. Losing 3 mpg on the highway is still pretty significant. I was just pointing out that the current comparison in the article is not fair because the numbers were obtained with different tests.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    The GTI eats a lot of gas compared to the XD with a GTI turbo and 2.something liter or V6 engine is not going to save you some gas.

    that’s impossible.

    Compared to Honda 16 Valve DOHC 4 cylinder engine that will give you a lot of mileage for a gallon.

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    xD manual is rated at 27/33
    08 GTI manual is 21/29 (and uses premium)

    The highway mileage could be better though, considering the 08 Corolla gets 37 highway and only weighs about 100 lbs less.

    I have been interested in this car, but I have my doubts that it has enough power. On the other hand, I felt that the 1.8l in the Corolla was more than adequate, so this shouldn’t be much worse.

    I can’t find one to test drive though; none of the Scion dealers near me have one, or really anything else for that matter. Maybe the production cap on Scion is a bad idea. It’s like they’re turning down free money all in the name of exclusivity.

  • avatar
    zoltiz

    Great review, BUT:

    Comparing xA and xD gas mileage was just way too far from truth.
    ’06 EPA standards and ’08 EPA standards are vastly different. Old EPA 31/38 = new EPA 27/34.
    So xD fuel economy is at most 1MPG worse than xA. Please research next time ;)

    Also xD comes with 6-speaker stereo standard. $389 gets you a snazzier looking radio with pre-outs and nothing else. Sound stays the same.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Two questions, one rhetorical, one not.

    Rhetorical: What is it with Toyota and C-pillars? First it was the FJ Cruiser, then the XB, and now the XD. Does somebody at Toyota think blind spots are “cool?”

    Non-Rhetorical: Didn’t Suzuki try this already with the Aerio? Only the Aerio had the advantage of being available with AWD.

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    But it had the disadvantage of being a Suzuki.

  • avatar

    The fuel mileage figures originally cited for the xA in the article were derived from the old EPA testing method. That’s what was in use when the xA was for sale new, and is what’s cited in reviews of the xA. The EPA has recently posted mileage estimates for the xA computed using the new method.

    To make it more of an “apples to apples” comparison I have updated the xA figures to the newer numbers. Mileage figures for both are cited for the automatic transmission model.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Somehow this one reminds me of a 3/4-sized Dodge Caliber. With the Big Three’s current discounts, it sounds like you could save a few thousand dollars by getting a Caliber and put that towards the more expensive fuel costs.

  • avatar
    blautens

    SunnyvaleCA -

    But then you’d have a Caliber…surely the interior of ANY Scion (and admittedly, I haven’t been in the xD) has to be light years better than the Caliber (which I have suffered through). And it can’t be too hard to drive better than a Caliber, either…

  • avatar
    seldomawake

    Great, throughly enjoyable review! I do wonder ho it compares to the Fit; in affect, why would I buy one instead of a Fit?

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    My real world mileage with the GTI is much closer to its old method EPA rating which was 26/32 or thereabouts. There is a big diff between the corolla’s gas mileage figures and the xD, I suspect the xD has a steeper torque curve and better throttle response. Regardless, in a country with no end in sight to high gas prices and other automakers consistently squeezing better gas mileage out of their small cars (not worse, even with new EPA methods), the drop in mileage b/t the xA and xD is an ill advised move and one I chose to be critical of.

    Why buy this instead of a fit? I liked it better for the iPod integration and the power, and I like the fit better for the looks. If you don’t mind the squashed loaf of bread visage, the xD is a pretty fun car.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    Thanks for the 3/4 scale Dodge Caliber, about ready to bring back my Celica yet?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Beyond trying to transition the old Matrix/Vibe owners into a Scion, there really is no point to this car.

    It’s an ugly design. I’m not talking about an Aztek-ish type of ugly but more like the “I’m going to try to be all things to all people” type of ugly.

    It’s a big company ugly.

    It’s a little bit SUV-ish
    A little wagon-ish
    A little hatchback-ish
    A little compact-ish
    A little ergonomic-ish

    and yet really none of the above…

    It’s an ugliness built out of a thousand compromises that pleases virtually no one. In otherwords, it’s a marketing study gone awry with every scintilla of soul removed in the process.

    If I want an SUV, I’ll buy a Jeep
    If I want a wagon, I’ll buy a Subaru
    If I want a hatchback, I’ll buy a VW
    If I want a compact, I’ll buy an Audi A4
    If I want ergonomics, I’ll buy a Honda

    If I want something that fails at all 5 of theparameters, I’d actually bypass the Xd and instead buy a heavily discounted Mazda 5. At least the Mazda has a level of design cohesiveness and driver involvement that makes it worth buying.

  • avatar
    wibblywobbly

    Is it some kind of law now that cars have to have turn signals in the mirrors….

    I checked one of these out while I was getting an oil change at the dealer. It continues the Scion tradition of being a great value for the money. While the interior is nice enough, the whole car looks and feels like there is something missing. That, “too cheap to pay for the EX/SE/Limited” vibe. Maybe it’s the hubcaps…or the missing set of windows.

    Despite being a cheap car, I never got that feeling with the first xB.

    I would still take an first gen xB over this or a new xB.

    On a related note, Funkmaster Flex, the New York DJ (and sometime Ford spokesman) is bad mouthing Scions regularly on his radio show. Talking about how your “soft” if you drive a Scion. You gotta drive the Tahoes, Escalades and “big trucks”, even Hondas are “strong” cars…

    There is definitely some back story here – maybe Toyota didn’t pay him? Regardless, backlash is inevitable when you try to be “down”. Scion is the nerdy kid at school who shows up one day with a backwards hat and a fake gold chain. Whoever came up with the idea to sponsor rap concerts and DJ battles must be squirming.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    wibblywobbly, nobody really cares what Funkmaster Flex thinks.

    And I don’t see why we should be comparing the xA to the xD. The xD has a bigger engine with much more power and a considerably better torque curve and torque response than the xA. Plus it’s heavier than the xA. With that in mind, the mileage drop is not bad at all. Most reviews call the xD a fun car to drive. Could you say the same about the xA and it’s tiny engine?

    As for the GTI, Fit, and Corolla, we are comparing apples to apples here, which means 2008 EPA estimates. The GTI easily falls short of the xD.

    Comparison of Fit, xD, and Corolla (based on 08 EPA numbers)

    Corolla (MT, AT)
    28/37, 26/35

    Fit (MT, AT)
    28/34, 27/34

    xD (MT, AT)
    27/33, 26/32

    Something to consider: both the Corolla and xD have 1.8L engines with similar power, but with the xD having better torque response. The xD (along with the Fit) is also taller and thus has to deal with more air drag than the Corolla diminishing the fuel economy a bit. The Fit has a 1.5L engine, with less power and certainly less torque than either the Corolla or xD. Corolla gets an advantage as it weighs ~100lbs less than xD. The Fit weighs ~200lbs less than the xD.

    So with a smaller less powerful engine, and being a lighter car, the Fit just barely beats the xD in fuel economy.

    All things considered, the real loser here is the Fit, not the xD.

  • avatar
    shaker

    The Fit is basically underpowered, which is why the fuel mileage has “hit the wall”. I’d be willing to bet that the Fit’s MPG would increase if it were fitted (ahem) with the Civic’s 1.8 liter mill.
    Thanks, Megan — this car is firmly on my “oh crap, I’m broke but need a new car” list…

  • avatar
    rudiger

    As someone else quickly pointed out, the xD has Yaris written all over it. If the Scion brand didn’t exist, it would be known as the Yaris 5-door (or station wagon for you old school types).

    Even with the power/mpg issue, for the same money, the Honda Fit is still the better deal. This probably explains why it’s still hard to find a Fit while there are lots of xD’s on Scion lots.

  • avatar
    chanman

    Of course, that also means we probably won’t be seeing the xD anywhere where the Yaris 5 door is being sold. I keep forgetting that the US doesn’t get the 5-door Yaris, so the xD isn’t directly competing with it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to Johnson :
    So with a smaller less powerful engine, and being a lighter car, the Fit just barely beats the xD in fuel economy.

    All things considered, the real loser here is the Fit, not the xD.

    It’s hard to understand your reasoning. Lighter, smaller engine and more efficient, sound like a very nice car. Let compare the two point by point:

    1) Fit is more efficient. Your data acknowledged that. Advantage: Fit.

    2) Fit is lighter. It’s a neutral quality. But it could lead to:

    2a) Fit handles better. Many people prefer Honda handling over Toyota handling. That’s is a fact. Advantage: Fit.

    3) Fit is less powerful. Again, neutral quality. But it could lead to:

    3a) Fit’s acceleration is worse than the xD. If that’s true, advantage: xD. But since you didn’t provide any valid performance data, there is a chance that the xD is slower due to the extra mass. Call it a draw before you can prove the xD is faster.

    Overall a final model year Fit beats a first model year xD. Wait to see the new Fit.

    Conclusion?

    Engine output, car mass, and sweet point for efficiency are engineering concerns. You do not make design decisions for Honda or Toyota.

    Acceleration, handling and operating cost, on the other hand, are drivers’ concerns. You should focus on these.

  • avatar

    I also find it a bit odd that they’ve chosen to make both the xB and xD larger and heavier, and so similar in appearance. Maybe the xD will attract former xB intenders who find the new one too large?

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    For those discussing the Fit and xD comparison, you may be interested (or not) in the Edmunds comparo test.

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=121117

    Personally, I’m not interested in the Fit because of the lack of power. The supposed lack of straight line stability and choppy ride is disconcerting as well for someone who drives on the highway a lot.

    The silver lining for the Fit is that this is an old model. The new Fit is being revealed in Japan this Autumn. I’m hoping for a bigger engine. I want a small car, it’s just that there’s some kind of rule in place that they have to be slow.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    shaker, the xA was also under-powered, and a lot of xA owners complained about that. That is why Toyota upped the power on the xD. I find it funny that some people are criticizing the xD for having less fuel economy compared to the xA even though many feel that the xA is under-powered.

    wsn,

    Fit also has a 5 speed auto while the xD makes due with a 4 speed auto. Both also have 5 speed manuals.

    You missed my point. The Fit is lighter with a smaller engine yet it barely beats the xD’s fuel economy. If the Fit weighed the same as the xD, it would at best tie the xD. That is why the xD’s fuel economy is impressive considering it’s weight and power. So sorry but in this case advantage goes to the xD.

    Nemphre pointed out this Edmunds comparison:
    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=121117

    You might want to take a look at it. You’ve made a lot of assumptions (apparently without reading any reviews) of the xD.

    The xD is faster than the Fit in that comparison. Advantage xD.

    The Fit has less straight-line stability and highway comfort than the xD, and also has a firmer, less comfortable ride than the xD: advantage xD. North Americans drive on highways a lot and they like to drive comfortably. The Fit seems to suffer from an indentity crisis; it has a firm, stiff suspension with good sporty handling but it’s a slow car with a miniscule engine and has a hard time being on the highway.

    The xD is also more refined and quiet compared to the Fit: advantage xD.

    The xD has more standard safety than the Fit: advantage xD.

    And please don’t tell me whether or not I can discuss fuel economy, efficiency, or weight of a vehicle. It’s awfully narrow-minded to only focus on acceleration, handling, and operating cost. Comfort, refinement, power/performance safety and other things also concern the driver.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The Xd looks like a deformed guppy. The Xa was not a strong seller for Toyota and likewise this model simply does not have a look that will make people want to buy it.

    Toyota may have to re-introduce the Xb in a couple of years to stem the decline of the Scion brand. The redesigned Tc looks like it’s barely been touched and the other two models simply don’t have the styling needed to make it in those segments.

    Oh, and for all those who are badmouthing the Fit… all most customers will do is look at it and the Xd will continue to languish. It’s just not a good looking car.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I know… it’s comparing ducats to dollars when I look at the xD and my Chevy Silverado but I DID look at Toyota and Scion over and over and again then a few more times when I semi-impulsively surprised myself and bought the Chevy.

    Currently, I am comparing the price. For $4,000 more I obtained a vehicle I can live in if the economy plummets as I expect it to do. With an 8-foot bed and a camper shell to keep the wind and rain off I can, if need be, live in the pick-up. Something that can’t be done with the xD.

    All-in-all, I view the xD as being way overpriced for what you get. With reasonable care, I believe the useful life of the Chevy is at least twice that of the xD.

    Of course, my circumstances are likely different than many others and the xD may be perfect for them. As much as I like Toyotas and Scions, it seems to me that the “price premium” for these two brands is just too high for what is received in return.

    For the record, placed many miles on a 1978 Toyota pick-up then a 1991 Toyota Previa van. Excellent vehicles!!! The ’78 truck didn;t have the “price premium” I saw with the Previa and other later year Toyotas. I believe it may have been around 1985 or so (just guesstimating based upon memory) that Toyota (and later, Scion) began charging extra just for their reputation, though that reputation WAS earned.

    Still, on the whole, in my individual case, the Chevy gave much more for the money (though I must admit that timing and honed vehivle buying skills brought the out-the-door price to the bare minimum, at least $3,500 dollars less than what the avarage buyer paid for the same or nearly-same Chevy truck).

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I just sold a 1991 Toyota Previa with 268k miles last night. It actually drove very well and I was surprised by the features that were available at that time. ABS, Dual Sunroofs, Rear Air… 16 years later and the only thing that it really alcked vs. a 2007 minivan is the airbags (and arguably engine power).

    I bought it for $500 at an auction I did up in North Georgia. The maintenance was exceptional on it and the interior looked virtually brand new. I sold it for $1500 to a fellow who had just crashed the very same model year vehicle with nearly the same miles. From what I understand, his insurance company gave him far more than his purchase price.

    I’ve actually bought quite a few perfectly fine vehicles over the past month for $500 or less. They include.

    1994 Volvo 850 Wagon (124k with 32 records from the dealership. It was listed as ‘transmission needs service’. All you needed to do was press the shift override button when going from park to drive)

    1993 Subaru Legacy LS (driver’s door had numerous dents on it but the rest of the vehicle was absolutely perfect. Only had 140k, FWD version and owned by a college professor who accidentally left behind a book about Abe Lincoln’s depressions. )

    1991 Toyota Previa (One owner, spent it’s entire life in Cumming, GA which is in North Metro-Atlanta. Needed a $10 a/c charge and nothing else. I’ve actually seen many of these models with 300k at the auctions.)

    1989 Volvo 240 Wagon (Second navy blue 89′ Wagon I’ve had this year. Interior was full of lawn debris and the guy used the back to transport the dogs. The powertrain is absolutely perfect and the Volvo has spent it’s entire life in Atlanta and has less than 150k.)

    1995 Subaru Outback (actually bought for $650, nothing wrong at all. Paint was still beautiful, did have some undercarriage rust. Everything was perfect on it. Even the battery came from Subaru.)

    but this has been my favorite…

    1997 Mercedes 350SE (Bought it for $250 from a friend of mine who knows I have a very soft spot for W116′s. Silver, very well maintained, seriously considering keeping it and putting a screamer of an engine into it. Engine and tranny work perfectly, it’ll need a/c work. Overall if I keep it, it won’t be cheap for long. But I doubt I’ll ever seen anything quite like it in my lifetime.)

    There have been others as well but those are the ones that most people here would find interesting (no one cares about Saturns or Escorts). Half of these vehicles I bought at public auctions and although many public sales are the equivalent of ‘red light districts’ (everything is AS/IS for a very good reason) there are a few public auctions that are worth their time. I get plenty of late model inventory as well but buying older cars like the ones mentioned above is what helps keep my car buying skills sharp.

    Besides, I generally find certain older cars are far more interesting to drive than their late model progeny. Unlike a new car, an older vehicle always has a history and a story to tell.

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    “Oh, and for all those who are badmouthing the Fit… all most customers will do is look at it and the Xd will continue to languish. It’s just not a good looking car.”

    The Fit is ugly too, probably even more-so from these near-sighted eyes of mine. The only new sub-compact that I sort of like the look of is the Yaris hatchback. Once people started buying the PT Cruiser in droves, I decided that there was no universal definition on what is ugly or not.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    You guys still struggle with 128hp?

    I’m not sure you should write about economy cars at all.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Toyota is fact becoming another GM. A shotgun sell anything to everyone approach. At least Toyo has the quality GM sorely lacks.

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    “You guys still struggle with 128hp?”

    Not if it’s light enough…

  • avatar
    buickgrandnational

    Scion used to have two cars that were on my short list for when I’ll be in the market for a new car next year.

    Now they have zero.

    (The tC is a nice car, but my last one was a coupe and I want to move into a 4 door or hatchback.)

  • avatar
    shaker

    buickgrandnational:

    The tC is a 2-door hatchback; if it weren’t for that two-panel sunroof locked to the decent trim levels, it would have been on my “short list”.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    You guys still struggle with 128hp?

    I’m not sure you should write about economy cars at all.

    Did you not see the 4 stars I gave it for performance? My main gripe is the fact that the tranny only has 4 gears, when it really could use five (and many of its competitors have 5 gears now). Plus the general lack of grunt in the higher gears, which is understandable to some degree but may be frustrating to people who spend a lot of time on the interstate. But compared to other economy cars, I thought it was quite fun to drive and rated it accordingly.

  • avatar
    buickgrandnational

    shaker:

    Sorry, should have said “5-door” as opposed to “hatchback.”

  • avatar
    davey49

    Cheezeweggie- GM has better quality than Toyota People should be forced at gunpoint to buy manual transmissions. Then you wouldn't get all this criticism about underpowered cars.

  • avatar

    Anybody choosing either of these cars over a Fit (or even a base Civic) is out of their minds.

  • avatar
    ThresherK

    “I keep forgetting that the US doesn’t get the 5-door Yaris, so the xD isn’t directly competing with it.”

    One fun way to determine if you’re watching a TV show filmed in Vancouver or Toronto (but with a US setting) is to look for 4-door hatchbacks sold in Canada but not in the USA. It’s quite a tell.

    On “Psych”, I believe there’s a 5-door Yaris. Every week. Since the show debuted.

  • avatar
    CoffeeJones

    These cars are HIGHLY dependent on where they’re used.
    Last weekend I’m around Wrigley Field in Chicago, where the Cubs play and there’s a game on right at that time.
    No parking anywhere, any way, any how. Cars verge on impractical, people bike everywhere or take trains.

    You still need a car for transportation; you can’t carry everything in handheld bags.
    You need a car that’s small enough so it can maneuver through crowded streets. There’s a lot of stop and go traffic so the gearing needs to be there for quick acceleration from a stop, but doesn’t need to be too fast, because you’ll be stopping in about 100 feet.
    Suddenly the full size sedan that was great for running around on the highways becomes an utter drudge here.

    I think that they had the even more crowded streets of Tokyo in mind when they designed the xD.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Davey 49:

    I test drove all of the Scion offerings near the end of their first model year including both a manual and an auto xB. The auto xB bordered on frightening when entering the freeway using one on-ramp in particular. Took the same route in the xB with the manual and had no problems getting up to speed. As long as you know what you are doing, you should always get better overall performance from a small engine mated to a manual than mated to the auto, because a human -using their brain-can see what’s ahead and adjust accordingly.

    While I ended up passing on the Scions, I would not have hesitated to recommend an xB with the manual transmission to anyone looking for a cheap people hauler. In my opinion, it’s voluminous interior space, good gas mileage, and relatively low price made it a winner as an every day driver for a lower middle income family. The new xB misses the boat entirely. It is uglier and less efficient. Drive away your current customers in pursuit of a demographic you’re just not going to win over. Brilliant. I haven’t seen an xD locally, but hopefully it is a better redesign.

  • avatar
    tysenn151

    I’ve sat in the xD (too tiny), I own a 2005 xB… I’ve no gray hair yet, but I am 35 now… Funny, but reading this review is like finding out that I just played a bit part in someone else’s game.

    Megan, I liked your review… and I can only agree that the xD and the new xB are well aimed shots at pushing out my demographic (and older). They’ll say it was a two purposed shot… 1. shed the price conscious geezers, and 2. pick up more young hipsters that can’t afford anything more. I think they could have kept everyone and garnered more new buyers leaving the specs alone. Sure, if you’re going to offer a bigger engine, then add a little itsy bitsy weight to flash up the skin a little if it evolves the model, or just put a lower price tag on the TRD Supercharger for the kids that want it so badly… and in that, you’d keep the grays and get the newbies. More market share for all…

    Instead, when my xB’s tour of duty is up… currently, Scion is not where I’m headed. Nor Toyota, sorry Toyota if that was the plan. And no one driving a Scion today is seriously considering switching out to a Lexus tomorrow… you may like them, but that’s about it.

  • avatar
    Scott

    I bought a Fit. Being a (former) Scion fan, before my purchase, I read every comment for and against it when compared with the xD. The small shortcomings were not enough to outweigh the strengths. Yes, it has less power, but the fuel mileage is better (marginally), it handles very well (Straight line instability? In what universe?), and has a fuller feature set (if you buy a car based on iPod compatibility, you need to surf elsewhere). Finally, and perhaps the largest nail in the xD’s coffin – it’s downright fugly. Hadn’t seen one before I bought my Fit, but had not a shred of regret after spying one of the heinous things on a dealer lot. Ick.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    The engine in this car is not the same one that is in the Corolla (although both are 1.8 liters). In fact, it’s never been used in any American-market vehicle before. Basically, the engine is designed to give a lot more power with little cost to fuel economy (which is what happened; there’s a gain of 25 hp with a loss of 1 MPG or so).

    I have a 2006 xA, so I’m looking forward to test driving this to compare. The xD gains standard (as opposed to optional) side air bags, optional traction/stability control, standard cruise control, optional nav system, and 25 more hp, for about the same price. Sounds good to me. I don’t like the huge blind spot in the rear from the wide C pillar, though.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The xD seems like a nice car by the description and pictures. I figure a manual trans is worth 40-60 HP over an auto so the 128 HP engine is really a 170-190 HP engine. Personal observation really- no science involved. I seem to able to accelerate my 140 HP Saturn faster than a lot of mid size sedans when merging on the highway.

  • avatar
    drifter

    Most of the cool kids are driving Hondas, after all.

    Which ones? Blanda has some of the blandest looking designs, from a mini-minvan looking Fit to goofy Civic to fugly Accord. In my neck of woods, cool kids drive Mazdas and Subarus.

  • avatar
    ex-dtw

    I think the analogy/joke of Toyota in cahoots with insurance companies is off.

    If Toyota was is cahoots, they would probably make cars safer and take a cut of the profit made by paying less out for accidents.

    But, if Toyotas are causing MORE accidents isn’t that a boon to people who would profit from that? Possibly, insurance fraud rings/cartels?

    As for Honda being bland, either that or way fugly. Civic and CRV are nightmares of styling.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Sat in the xD today. It is kind of cramped, width wise and the steering wheel is too close. Seems nicely put together.
    Honda maybe bland or fugly but they are nice cars. Kind of hard to say much bad about the way they run and drive.

  • avatar
    jdmxA

    looks like a good little car- sorta like the xA.. but not quite! Hey, its a Toyota, and built well- esp. for the $$. Go to http://www.scionlife.com , for some REAL information on the subject on xD, other Scions, the people who bring Scions/Toyotas to life, and some good down to earth home cookin collaborations between Scion owners! Tell everyone Adam w/ the PW Scion xA 2006 sent yea!

  • avatar
    Jason

    The whole Scion thing is stupid. Why not concentrate on Toyota products and making them BETTER? (as in less boring) Look at all those kids tearing the Scion badges of their cars xBs and sticking on the Toyota Bb badges for that JDM flava? American Toyotas suck, but I think youth can love the JDM Toys.

    That the xD is the best Scion is f’d up. xD seems like an American Yaris, rather than a Scion.

    The embarrassment trifecta will continue with the tC coupe’s replacement. The Fuse concept may be uglier in production than the 2 gen xB, we’ll see.

  • avatar
    snipe

    I traded my FJ Cruiser a couple of months ago for an XD. I really hated giving up the FJ, but gas prices were killing me not to mention the car payments. I drive about 70 miles a day to work from Orange County into LA County in some of the worst traffic in the country. So in about two months of driving I’ve had some reality-time road testing of the XD.
    Power – No problems with getting up to a fast freeway merging speed from an on-ramp. I can get up to and cruise at 80 with no problem when traffic allows.
    The dreaded blind spot – If your outside mirrors are adjusted correctly and you use them there is no blind spot.
    Gas mileage – After getting 17-18 miles per on premium in the FJ, the XD’s has cut my fuel costs in half. Me happy wiht the gas mileage.
    Interior- All the basic gauges are there and you have a tach. The odometer has several menu options that you can choose from. You can see your avg. MPG or even how many more miles you have before you run out of gas. I haven’t taken a trip to Vegas yet so I can’t tell you the comfort zone of the seats after a few hundred miles. I have taken the car up to Big Bear Lake and it did just fine with the climb and handled the mountain curves well enough, though I think I am going to add the optional rear stabilizer bar for a little more flatting out on the curves. The road and tire noise is there, but I just crank up my plugged in IPOD with a little Led Zeppelin and I can say what road noise? Though I haven’t ridden in the back seats there seems to be enough leg and head room for an average size person. The rear seats fold down flat which makes it nice for carrying a weeks worth of groceries or six 50 lb. bags of gravel.
    Exterior – You know beauty in the eyes of the beholder. Personally I think it has cool lines and if you squint your eyes it kind of looks like a poor man’s BMW sports wagon. My XD is white and I had the windows tinted and added some black 17” after market wheels. This in my eyes kicked up the cool factor. I have gotten a number of compliments on the looks of the car.
    All in all I’m very satisfied with the car so far and have always had very good luck and satisfaction with Toyota products.

  • avatar
    ralphgros

    I purchased the Xd in Nov ’07. Most of my driving is city, short trip driving. First of all i’m old so consider that when reading this. I’ve owned a lot of new cars. My last car was a mazda 6 sport wagon. I wanted to get better milage because of the fuel cost. I like this car a lot. The motor has plenty of power and the auto shifting is the smoothest ive ever owned, much better than the Mazda. I got it with the stability control. This is my first experience with VSC and I would not do without it in the future. I live in the Chicago area and this has been a bad winter. It is the best vehicle i’ve ever owned for the snow. Don’t get me wrong it will slide but it is still the best i’ve owned. The fit and finish is also excellent but have had a few vibration noises at low speeds. It needs a rubber dead pedal and a center console. Overall all a great small car, probably better that the Fit, which I looked at, but it has no VSC. I’m 64.

  • avatar
    literaturelover

    I’ve been researching and driving every conceiveable car in the under $20,000 range to see if I could find a gas-sipping hatchback to replace my 2002 Chrysler Voyager van (that I REALLY have enjoyed.). Every car I drove had at least two characteristics that eliminated it, and I was beginning to think I’d never find a vehicle that would meet my needs. Today I drove one that made me grin like a Chesire cat as soon as I drove away from the dealership on a test drive — remarkably enough, it’s the least expensive of all the cars I’ve tried (given comparable equipment), and yet it’s got what I would call the highest quality index, the most power, and the best gas economy. What is it????… the last car this 65 year old would have imagined: the Scion xD!
    The vehicles I anticipated would be at the top of my list were:
    Honda Fit — underpowered, over-priced, and UGLY! How could anyone leave a Honda dealership in one of these when you can get a Civic with better mileage, more comfort, and incredibly better looks for a few dollars more???
    Kia Spectra — four year old design that still hasn’t caught up in the quality race, not good enough mileage
    Toyota Matrix — absolutely NO vision to the sides and rear with TINY windows and the passenger headrest blocks what little vision there is. The new one is uglier than the old one.
    Nissan Versa — it’s built on a RENAULT chassis… enough said! Any doubts about this car not living up to expectations should be resolved with a quick scan of the Consumer Reports review of it.
    Saturn Astra — a re-badged Opel that is probably the worst car I’ve driven since the Yugo. My test drive of this thing was by far the most disappointing: I really thought it would be something I’d like. It’s not beautiful, but it’s certainly not ugly like most budget-priced cars. It’s noisy at idle and deafening on the road, the air conditioner is inadequate, it shakes like a freezing dog above 50 mph, the paint job is not up to our standards, the controls are absurdly confusing… well, you get the picture.
    In summary, the xD FEELS like a bigger, quality vehicle than it is (I’m 6′ tall and had no issues with roominess), has a tight, responsive feel to it, and the manual transmission is accurate and affords better acceleration than the automatic. The ONLY complaint I had about the car was the silly speedometer/tachometer arrangement that will take a good deal of getting used to.
    From what I’ve read about the 2009 Fit it may well be more competitive with the xD than the current model is, but the thing that most posters here ignore is that dreaded Honda price add-on of about $1,000 (it will probably be even higher with the new one) that is a real deal-breaker. While I relish putting dealers through the wringer in negotiating new car deals and will miss doing so on the Scion, the posted price IS the price — there are no padded secondary windshield stickers.

  • avatar
    tysenn151

    Hey literaturelover, thanks for the overview of the cars you tried out.

    I’ve commented here a while back, really to express my frustration with the direction the ‘xB’ model was taken by Scion designers. To me, the xD is a reformed xB… spec wise for mileage. Since that post over a year ago, I’ve been tracking my 2005 xB mileage, and I’m averaging 29.5 mpg. The sticker said 30 to 34 for my automatic trans. Since car review mags have tracked the newer xB into it’s position in it’s car class, it basically went from BEST gas mileage to WORST IN CLASS!

    So, the xD certainly sounds like maybe a re-visit is in order after your review, literaturelover.

    Thanks again.

  • avatar
    scomeau

    It’s a cool car, one that I am considering for my daughter, but I’m disappointed in Toyota’s “larger” car attitude lately with diminishing gas mileage. We have an ’03 Corolla that is getting, on average, 33 MPGs! On a trip to Montreal, we got 41 on the highway! Why can’t they just keep that good MPGs? I mean, yeah, I like offsetting the crap mileage I get on my Durango, but it seems every year they make it bigger and lower the MPGs. Go back to the 03 engine and keep the car cool looking, then I might consider it more for my daughter who will be driving soon. Until then, I’m leaning toward an older Corolla – safe with great gas mileage. heck, I’ll paint it fucia with the money I save on gas.

  • avatar
    literaturelover

    I understand your concern, but in all fairness I think you’re missing several important points:
    1. With the 2008 models the EPA adjusted the mileage standards, and most cars are now AT LEAST two mpg below their 2007 figures with the EXACT SAME CONFIGURATION.
    2. Many owners of the new Scion are reporting 40+ mpg on the highway, and most are getting well over 35. Many are getting 30+ around town!
    3. If I were buying a car for my daughter, I would NEVER consider an older Corolla to be anywhere nearly as safe as a new Scion. Have you seen the air bags on this thing?

  • avatar
    ralphgros

    As a six month owner of the Scion xd i’d day its a great car. Plenty zip and the trans and engine work great together. One thing if you live where it snows get the stability. Its great in the snow.


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