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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.
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.
- Strong value
- Long standard-features list
- Available accessories
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- Short, uncomfortable front seats
- Minimal rear headroom
- No standard stability control
- Steering doesn't telescope
- Subpar sound from premium system