2011 Scion xD Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 1, 2011

The 2011 Scion xD offers an impressive list of features and sporty accessories, but it's not as much fun to drive as its image suggests.

The 2011 Scion xD shares some parts with the Toyota Yaris, but it has an entirely different reason for being; while the Yaris is aimed at those who want a cheap commuter device, the xD focuses toward fashionable young buyers who are on a tight budget but want a high level of features and accessories—and a more aggressive look inside and out.

The xD succeeds in delivering those parts of the equation. It's a small hatchback, but there's something a little taller and tougher about its design. From the outside, the 2010 Scion xD can seem slightly menacing. Some liken it to a bulldog-meets-Mack-truck look; others have compared it to blocky footwear. The standard 16-inch wheels sit inside flared wheel arches, with alloys ranging up to 18 inches offered as options.

The payoff of the design is inside; such an upright profile provides lots of interior space. Front seats are a weakness, though; while they're supportive for quick drives, taller drivers will find the lower cushions just too short, a common complaint in small cars. The backseat slides six inches back and forth, and the rear seatback, which is split 60/40, can recline 10 degrees. And there's impressive cargo space in back; folding the seats expands the volume to almost minivan size, an impression reinforced by the numerous interior storage bins and cubbyholes.

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While the 2011 Scion xD is Scion's youth-oriented model, with definite tuner and aftermarket cues, it's surprisingly not very exciting to drive. A 128-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder provides plenty of power and works well with either the four-speed automatic or the five-speed manual transmission, with the combination providing plenty of pep to keep up with traffic, even when hauling a full load of people and gear.

Electronic stability control isn't yet standard on all 2011 Scion xD models, and its performance in crash tests has been good, but not top-notch. Otherwise, the 2011 Scion xD sports a vast array of standard equipment, including quite a few features that aren't usually included in this class. The optional Alpine Premium Sound System adds HD radio and a 4.3-inch touch-panel display, and it provides for up to three amplifiers: front, rear, and subwoofer. But as with any Scion product, that's just a starting point. Buyers can order from more than 40 dealer-installed upgrades and accessories, as well as hundreds of aftermarket parts. Many dealer add-ons for the 2011 Scion xD are cosmetic enhancements, but they also offer a wide range of TRD performance accessories—including items like quick-shifter kits, larger brakes, shorter springs, or a performance exhaust system.

Oddly, considering the xD's extensive features list, it doesn't include a Bluetooth hands-free interface, and there's no factory Bluetooth option; it's only available as an add-on.

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