January 30, 2008 > Auto Review
Scion designed the all new 2008 xD to replace its xA model. The xD comes with a 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 128 HP and 125 -foot pounds of torque. The power is transmitted to the front wheels by either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission xD delivers 27/33 EPA mileage estimates on regular unleaded fuel. The automatic car's numbers are 26/32.
The xD comes with a full load of safety features for an inexpensive car. Air bags are placed in front and on the sides of both the driver and passenger and as side curtains for the front and rear seats. Anti-lock brakes are fitted to all four disc brakes. Both Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist systems are standard. The xD even comes with a first aid kit.
The xD uses disc brakes on the front wheels. Then drums are used in the back. Most of today's cars have disc brakes on both ends. I think Scion should have spent a few more $$ for the disc setup on the rear.
The xD is one of the shortest cars in its class. This means parking is easy, but there really isn't much room for the back seat passengers. Three large adults would not be comfortable back there for long trips.
Scion uses a good Pioneer sound system as its base unit. It is rated at 160 watts and uses six speakers. Naturally, you can plug your iPod in to the system. They have even added a built-in pocket to hold the iPod. The upgraded Pioneer unit is only $389 more and gives you the ability to download background pictures and change the color of the faceplate lighting.
I only had two negative comments on the xD. First, the driver's seat was too high. I almost felt like I was sitting on top of the car instead of inside it. Many inexpensive cars have the ability to raise or lower the seat and the xD needs this. My other issue was that the brake and gas pedal were too far apart to be able to heel-and-toe when down shifting. It would take very little design effort to correct this.
If you want to upgrade the handling of your xD, Scion has just the options to do it. Toyota Racing Development (TRD) suspension components are available installed from the dealer. The front struts and shocks are $500. TRD springs are $250 and the rear sway bar is also $250. This sounds good, but I would want to drive an xD with them before I purchased them.
The MSRP for the manual transmission xD is $15,170 with the automatic starting at $15,970. Electronic traction and stability control can be added for $650. The Scion electronic navigation system is a $1,950 additional cost option.
The basic bumper-to-bumper warranty is for 3 years or 36,000 miles. The powertrain warranty is 5 years or 60,000 miles.
We found the xD very peppy and fun to drive. It rides well and the handling is good. It's a great small, inexpensive car. As with their other models, Scion delivers a great package of values with the xD.
By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists