Short Take Road Test: 2008 Scion xD
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Michael Austin of Car and Driver
Don't call it an xA. A badge on its butt clearly says xD. Nonetheless, anyone who remembers the rounder version of the bean-and-box duo that launched Scion in the U.S. will be hard pressed to see the xD as anything but a replacement for the xA.
The two cars are close in size. The length of the xD has increased a mere 0.6 inch over the xA, and the width has gone up 1.2 inches. The xD shares its underpinnings and 96.9-inch wheelbase (up 3.6 inches over the xA.) with the three-door Toyota Yaris. The three-pod instrument cluster from the Yaris is familiar as well, but the interior plastics are more upscale in the Scion.
The good news, at least for the lead-footed, is that the engine has not been carried over from either the xA or Yaris. The xD is fitted with a 1.8-liter inline-four from the Toyota parts bin. In this application, it makes 128 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, improvements of 25 horses and 24 pound-feet over the xA, and it's good for a 7.9-second 0-to-60 time. We didn't test an xA, but it had a similar weight and an identical powertrain to the first-generation xB that required 9.6 seconds for the 0-to-60 run.
Another feature not carried over from the xA to the xD is the chuckable, fun nature of the first-generation Scions. Some of the loss of this fun is probably due to the increase in curb weight. The xD is about 200 pounds heavier than the xA., a forgivable amount considering the 582-pound increase the xB has undergone. In exchange for that extra weight, the xD feels more solid than the xA.. Its doors close with a reassuring thunk, and bumps don't rattle through the cabin.
But similar to the xB we tested in August, the xD is more boring than its predecessor. The steering, for example, is more isolated, lacking feel to the point of numbness. The same goes for the soft suspension, which is good for a modest 0.76 g on the skidpad and plowing understeer around real-world corners. In short, parent company Toyota has done the same thing to the xD that it had done to the xB: made it competent, composed, and mostly dull. In other words, they've turned it into a Toyota.
A Polarizing Design
The mid-level stereo and its multifunction knob were pure frustration to everyone in the C/D barracks except for our youngest part-timers, who were keen on the programmable OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display. The stereo upgrade does not improve the speakers, which lack clarity.
Cargo space behind the rear seats, at 11 cubic feet, is down a foot from the xA's. With the rear seats folded, the xD's 36 cubic feet of storage bests the xA's by four. The rear seats also recline for more comfort or slide forward to squeeze in space without folding. But here the Honda Fit plays the spoiler, with greater cargo capacity and more-versatile cargo space.
The xD looks a lot less boring than it is. That, combined with the multitude of accessories Scion offers for owners to individualize their cars, should be enough for some people. We just wish Toyota would remember that cars can be fun.
C/D TEST RESULTS: