Performance » 6
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
agile and easy to drive
It is relatively light (about 2,500 pounds), so the small engine feels perky and frenetic.
New York Times
decent acceleration along with average fuel economy
The engine and transmission are thoroughly average.
Driving dynamics are generally underwhelming in the econo-class segment, but these two Scions are exceptions.
Road & Track
The xD is targeted at younger buyers, and has tuner overtures and cues built into its profile and its accessories sheet. Yet the surprising part is that the xD really isn't that entertaining to drive, at least not in stock form.
The powerplant's a 128-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder--which should provide rapid takeoffs and plenty of passing reserves in a car this small and light (the Yaris makes do just find with a smaller engine). That's mostly true with the five-speed manual, but the four-speed automatic's rather wide gaps between gears makes it feel less than responsive out on the highway--and that's also the reason why its gas mileage falls to the back of the subcompact class, at 27/33 mpg, no matter which gearbox you choose.Even if you want to try to make the most of it, the xD is lacking the right details and tuning for the mission. There's 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. 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. Aftermarket and dealer-installed bits help the xD handle a bit better, but mostly at the expense of ride quality.
If you think that Scion's tuner image, as well as a buff appearance, hint that there's strong performance in the xD, you're going to be a little disappointed.