That said, the Scion xD comes with no manual shift mode for the automatic, and this small car simply lacks the crisp, responsive handling and tossable feel that distinguish the fun-to-drive small cars—like the MINI Cooper, Honda Fit, or Ford Fiesta—from the rest of the crowd. The xD is quite maneuverable, but when pushed hard its rather soft suspension wilts, with a rubbery, not-confidence-inspiring steering feel. The xD also feels heavier than you might expect such a small car to be. Inferior rear drum brakes also cement the impression that this is a sporty car only with respect to appearance and marketing.
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.