When you hear the name Scion, you probably think about the “stylish” Scion xB. The xB was such a success, with over 60,000 xBs sold in 2007; it outsold its smaller sibling the xA. Apparently, the xA just wasn’t cool enough. That is probably the reason why Scion decided to stop production of the xA back in 2007. However, the xA was quickly replaced with a newer and nicer model- the xD. The 2008 Scion xD was first introduced to the public on February 2007 at the Chicago Auto Show, and production started that same summer. The new xD wants to be fuller, sportier and more playful than the defunct xA, let’s see if that is the case.
The new xD is built on the Toyota Yaris’ platform. However, the design is vastly inspired by the best selling Scion xB, while featuring more conventional volumes, a wider slanted windshield and regular sized windows.
Although the front of the xD is small, it was designed in such a way that it gives an impression of spaciousness. The xD is a bit of a show off too. It has a large front bumper, accented with an extra wide grill and two over sized (fake) side air inlets, located under the aggressive headlights.
From the side, the xD presents a slanted windshield and high shoulder line, further pronounced by wide and flared fenders. The bottom part of the doors is also flared, giving an impression that the car has already been fitted with an after-market body kit. Thus, projecting a much sportier look than its engine can pretend to. While the Scion xD windows are large, larger than the almost chop top Scion xB, they still look small from the outside promoting a compact feel.
Towards the rear, the xD continues the mixed design between square angles and smooth curves. The rear window is vertical, accented with a body integrated spoiler that stretches into the C pillars. Vertical tail lamps duplicate the same protruding style as that found on the head lights. The bumper sticks out even further and is accentuated with two low mounted stop lights, and an oval-shaped chrome exhaust tip.
Overall, the exterior of the Scion xD is very playful, but borderline busy. The successful Scion xB style, with its sharp edges and boxy style, is giving birth to another cute compact car that will appeal to the young and design minded buyers.
Inside the Scion xD, the first thing you notice is the extremely basic instrument cluster. It almost feels as if something is missing. The cluster is composed of three compartments, but only the center is equipped with a dial. The speedometer and the rev counter are fashionably integrated in this dial, showing off Scion’s skills in transforming a cost saving solution into stylish niceties. A digital gas gauge and odometer can be found respectively on the left and right of the main compartment. In front of the driver, the steering wheel, as in all other Scion models, includes embedded audio controls on the left branch and a dedicated cruise control arm on the right.
The center stack features a metallic black cover that sticks out from the console, bringing in another needed touch of refinement in the overall basic interior. This same painted cover accents the steering wheel, and all four door arm rests. Located on top of the center stack is the Scion Pioneer audio system, offering full Ipod connectivity and nice punch through for its six speakers/tweeters. Below the audio system there is a basic digital clock and the climate controls that are operated by three large knobs. The knobs are easy to reach and use.
The xD comes standard with two sound inputs located on the lower center stack. Allowing a media player to be plugged into the auxiliary port or an iPod to be plugged into a dedicated iPod port. Using the iPod port allows navigating through your music directly from the steering wheel or from the main deck buttons. Between the two sound inputs is a small compartment, which is great for placing your iPod, MP3 player, or even a cell phone. But to prevent theft or having to unplug and hide your device at each stop, it would be better if the connections were located in the glove box or another closed compartment.
The small Scion doesn’t offer any armrest, but the seats are comfortable. The cloth cover is pleasant to the eye and to the touch. Surprisingly, the rear seats slide and recline, offering larger cargo space or more comfort for backseat passengers. This slide and recline feature can be accessed while loading the trunk, thanks to a clever lever location on top of the seats. This is a small detail that makes a big difference in providing convenience and facilitating ease of use. Other details show Scion Engineers’ attention to the details, such as providing few small compartments, under the rug in the trunk. In this, Scion took advantage of any empty space around and in the middle of the spare tire, to provide storage for small items. In these bins, one can store an emergency kit or even little gps tracker (to see where the kids are).
Overall, the interior of the xD is true to the Scion brand. It looks basic at first, but after a few minutes inside the car, you will notice the smart design. The xD is a well thought out car, where all practicality and cost saving solutions have been taken over by designers, thus making the purchase of this entry vehicle not only a no-brainer, but possibly an impulse buy for car shopper on a budget.
Under the hood, the xD is powered by a 1.8-liter in-line 4-cylinder engine, with Dual Variable Valve Timing. This engine delivers 128 horsepower, and pushes the 3,600 lb xD from 0-60 in 8.4 seconds. Not enough to glue you to your seat, but the playful power plant will keep you entertained. The automatic transmission is quick as well, and adds some nice punch especially when you have to switch from drive to reverse multiple times. The best part about this engine is its MPG, rating at 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with a manual transmission, and 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with an automatic transmission.
Driving the Scion xD, summed up in one word, was FUN. The new Scion is light and responsive. The steering and suspensions definitely make the drive sporty. Although the engine is not the most powerful, the xD is still a joy to drive. This car will be a perfect fit for enthusiast drivers who don’t want to spend a fortune on their ride. Of course, the stiff suspension can make the ride bumpy at times.
The best thing about the xD is that you can have tons of fun, feeling like a rally car driver, but when you look at the speedometer you realize that you are not really going that fast. This ride is perfect for keeping parents happy and from staying out of trouble with our state’s finest.
Overall, the 2008 Scion xD is a fun five-door hatchback made for the younger crowd. The exterior is much more appealing than the previous xA. The interior is simple but the added niceties make the xD an easy ride.
As for the price, the xD competes well against the Chevrolet Aveo, and is a great alternative for the slightly higher priced Mazda3 and Volkswagen Rabbit. With a starting price of $15,350, Scion delivers once again an affordable solution for enthusiast car buyers. Make sure to put it on your test drive list.
attention to details
slide & recline back seat
spacious for a compact
noisy at high rpm
ipod connector placement
no center glove box
gas pedal can be twitchy (too sensitive)
Gallery Scion xD
Special thanks to Prestige Auto and Scion for the loan of this vehicle.