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2008 Scion xD Review

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2008 Scion xD

Model: Scion xD
Engine: 1.8-liter I4
Horsepower/Torque: 128 hp @ 6000 rpm/125 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 96.9 in.
Length x Width x Height: 154.7 x 67.9 x 60.0 in.
Tires: P195/60R16
Cargo volume: 10.5/35.7 cu. ft. (2nd row seat backs up/down)
Economy: 26 mpg city/32 mpg highway/29.0 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 11.1 gal.
Price: $17,957 (includes $620 delivery processing and handling fee and $1,787 in options)

The Bottom Line The new xD is a replacement for the original xA and offers the same great features – Scion-ish styling, compactness, excellent use of space and economy. But, being a subcompact, it does require some planning before entering, especially if you’re a senior citizen.

Toyota’s Scion division is, if anything, predictable. While its cars may not appeal to most senior citizens – or to anyone over 30 for that matter – you have to admit they are creative, stylish and fun. The xB, for example, is one of the unique vehicles on the road today, with its boxy styling and creative use of space.

The original xA was similarly creative in its use of space. That model has been replaced by the xD as Scion continues its relentless trip through the alphabet. The xD retains much of the xA’s styling in that it is a smooth subcompact coupe, aerodynamic with the practicality of a four-door hatchback. While not as iconic as the xB, the xD will soon take its place among Scion fans who are less avant garde.

Like its mates, the xD makes innovative use of the space available. For example, there are cup holders in the door pockets, a fold-out cubby by the driver’s left knee, a small shelf under the instrument panel on the driver’s side, and a huge second glove box over the standard box.

There’s no center console, but there is a huge overhead console with two sunglass holders. Below the center stack there is a cell phone/iPod holder that’s in a good location. Since Scion is marketed toward a younger generation, the availability of connections for iPods and other MP3 players is important.

So is a good sound system. While we liked the “Scion Pioneer” audio system, it was difficult to learn with regard to tuning, setting memory stations, and even finding what you wanted. I even checked the owners manual (granted, quickly) and still couldn’t figure it out. I was searching for a satellite radio station that wasn’t rock and eventually switched to a CD because I got lost too often.

Under the hood is a relatively small 1.8-liter DOHC inline four that’s rated at 128 horsepower. This is good power for a car that weighs a mere 2645 pounds, even with the 4-speed automatic transmission in our tester. The car does require some advance planning when entering highways that have shorter entry ramps.

The instrument panel consists of a small driver-side-mounted dial that is a combined speedometer and tachometer.

Front seat comfort is decent. The cloth-covered seats offered good side support. In the rear, knee room is tight with the front seats pushed back. There are cupholders in the rear doors for the rear passengers. A feature that surprised some passengers back there was the head rests that lower and “disappear” when they’re not needed. This removes a visibility problem for the driver. They’re easy to raise up to working position. The rear seat backs “recline” a bit and the seats slide forward and rearward, again slightly.

Cargo capacity is a reasonable 10.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up. Fold the seat backs down, however, and you end up with a capacious 35.7 cubic feet, all of it useful.

Handling is decent, although it’s somewhat bumpy thanks to the short wheelbase and light weight.

Our tester had, as options, vehicle stability control ($650), the overhead console ($279),carpeted floor mats ($155), a cargo net ($55), the premium Pioneer sound system ($389) and XM satellite radio ($449).

Standard were ABS, dual stage front air bags, front seat-mounted side air bags, front and rear side curtain air bags, active front head rests and a direct tire pressure monitoring system.

As a more “normal” styled sedan, the Scion xD is a welcome addition to the subcompact market. It replaces the popular xA, and should do well.

2008 The Auto Page Syndicate