Shopping for a new Scion xD?
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
the xD is more boring than its predecessor
Car and Driver
The automatic transmission can be slow to downshift
its torque curve is robust compared to that of engines in most twerp-class runabouts
plenty of front-wheel drive understeer at freeway speeds
The 2010 Scion xD may appear to be a fun, youth-oriented model, but while it has plenty of pep to get people and gear around, something may have been lost in the refresh; many reviews say it performs more as a transportation appliance. The 2010 Scion xD has only one engine option. It offers both more power and better gas mileage than the smaller engine in the Yaris, and it works well with either the four-speed automatic or the five-speed manual transmission. And its fuel economy is on a par with that of the smaller, slower engine in the previous xA: 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway. The xD's automatic isn't quite as fuel-efficient as the five-speed automatic in the Honda Fit, and it forgoes a manual shift mode, a strange omission.
Edmunds finds the engine, "a 128-hp, 1.8-liter four with variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts," to be "neither particularly loud nor particularly quiet about its work." Reviewers appreciate its power, with Car and Driver posting a "7.9-second 0-to-60 time," a big improvement over the xA's mill. While the engine develops 125 pound-feet of torque, more than its predecessor, the higher torque fights "a car nearly 300-pounds heavier," comments Kelley Blue Book, "so the difference isn't very noticeable." MyRide.com notes "the xD's acceleration isn't going to set the world on fire, [but] the xD is capable of getting up to speed at a comfortable pace for every day driving." The New York Times proclaims the "engine feels perky and frenetic."
"The automatic transmission can be slow to downshift," notes ConsumerGuide, while "the manual transmission has a smooth clutch and shifter." Edmunds points out that while the shift action of the manual "isn't particularly clean, it makes the xD feel quicker than the Honda Fit." Ignore the automatic option if you "want ample acceleration from stop lights and on freeway on- and-off ramps," warns Kelley Blue Book. And MyRide.com observes that the automatic "lacks a manual sport shift mode."
"Another feature not carried over from the xA to the xD is the chuckable, fun nature of the first-generation Scions," laments Car and Driver of the 2010 Scion xD's general verve and chassis dynamics. "The steering, for example, is more isolated, lacking feel to the point of numbness," they continue. ConsumerGuide notes the "somewhat floppy suspension tuning" and attributes the "early onset of tire squeal and plenty of body lean in fast turns" to the suspension's "soft damping." But when driven appropriately, "it's a nimble car with a strong emphasis on daily usability," according to Road & Track, though Automobile cautions, "Above 65 mph, the suspension is floaty." Brakes are a high point, with reviews read by TheCarConnection.com describing them as "strong" and "responsive." Car and Driver bestows the 2010 xD with backhanded praise: "[Scion] has done the same thing to the xD [it did] to the xB: made it competent, composed, and mostly dull. In other words, they've turned it into a Toyota."
The EPA rates the Scion xD at 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway with the manual transmission; the ratings fall 1 mpg with the automatic. In ConsumerGuide testing, "manual-transmission xD models returned 28.8-29.2 mpg in mostly city driving. An automatic version averaged 28.8 mpg in city/highway use."
The 2010 Scion xD's performance is less exciting than you might hope, but it will get you to your destination competently.