Saturday, October 22, 2011
2011 Scion xD
Unlike its xB and tC siblings, the 2011 Scion xD lives a life of relative obscurity. Perhaps it's because this economy-minded hatchback has more sedate styling, or maybe it's due to its focus on reliable and solid transportation. Certainly, that's nothing to sniff at. But these days most competitors offer a lot more than just basic transportation.
To its credit, the xD features a gutsy 1.8-liter engine, one of the strongest in its class, and good manners whether in the city or on the freeway. It also has plenty of standard features and can be fitted with more than 40 dealer-installed options. That extensive list of customization options is one of the xD's strong points; the range of choices includes everything from shift knobs to performance suspension parts.
Scion is also offering the xD RS 3.0 as part of its ongoing Release Series, a limited-edition xD fitted with a four-piece body kit that includes a front airdam, rocker-sill skirts and rear spoiler, plus carbon-fiber-like trim. Rear seat passengers will appreciate the xD's reclining/sliding backseat, which is a rarity in this segment. One other factor to keep in mind as you consider an xD is Scion's no-haggle pricing.
But these days, many other competing hatchbacks offer even more. The Ford Fiesta boasts a more engaging driving experience, better fuel economy and the innovative Ford Sync system, while the sporty Honda Fit offers more passenger room and utility. Kia's Soul is another solid pick, as are the eccentric Nissan Cube and well-equipped Nissan Versa. The 2011 Scion xD is a worth a look, but these days you can get a lot more style and fun to go along with your reliable transportation.
The aesthetic appeal of the Scion xD cabin lies more in unconventional elements rather than clean, elegant design, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. From the functional perspective, the xD interior works well.
Materials used inside the xD are generally good for a car in this price range. The expansive plastic that covers the dash and door panels has a woven-grain, matte finish, and it's more appealing than the glossy hard stuff in some inexpensive cars. The shiny black plastic trim pieces look like piano lacquer, and better than fake wood or metal.
The seats are covered in dark charcoal fabric and are quite handsome, especially when compared to the cloth that comes with some other cars in this class. The upholstery isn't plush, but it feels sturdy. The front seats are firm but not too firm, and provide decent bolstering, which is good because some xD owners might be ripping around corners after they add Toyota Racing Development suspension components.
Switches are well placed, with the audio system above the air conditioning controls in the center stack. All the knobs are big and easy to find, though those for the climate controls have a slightly loose, jerky feel.
The gauges are a mixed bag. The primary display, which Scion calls a concentric combination meter, is a speedometer and tachometer in one package, centered over the adjustable steering column. It's designed to be different, but in this case it's not better. With the tachometer and speedometer needles moving in opposite directions around a circle, it's hard to process the information at a glance. The gas gauge is a bright, easy-to-read LED to the left of the steering column, and the xD comes standard with a multi-information display that allows the driver to toggle between the odometer, trip meters, instant fuel economy, average fuel economy, distance-to-empty and average vehicle speed.
The 160-watt Pioneer sound system with six speakers is loud and clear, and plenty for a car this size. Dealer-installed upgrades are available for buyers who want more. The standard system is wired for iPod, MP3/WMA, and satellite, and includes an auxiliary input jack. Like the trip computer, the redundant audio controls on the steering wheel spoke are the exception in this class.
The rear seat is quite roomy when rear-passenger space is maximized. The rear seat easily slides forward or backward six inches, adding space for either cargo behind the seatback or passengers in front of it. With the rear seat moved full forward, there's enough legroom for a 12-year old; with the rear seat moved back, there's room for medium-sized adults. Head room is expansive, and with the front seat set for a 5-foot, 10-inch driver, there was enough rear legroom for a 5-foot, 9-inch rear passenger. Moreover, the rear seatback reclines 10 degrees, which remains a rarity in all cars. The rear-seat headrests rise a long way from the seatback, allowing more comfort for passengers when the seat is occupied, and better rearward visibility for the driver when the seat is empty.
Cargo volume is good, which is important if it's stuff you carry more than passengers. The rear seat folds totally flat, opening 35.7 cubic feet of space behind the front seats. That's substantially less than in either the Honda Fit (57.3 cubic feet) or the Nissan Versa hatchback (50.4). Small compartments under the xD's cargo floor hold the jack tools and leave some extra room, though not enough to hold and hide a laptop. A cargo blind to cover whatever is behind the seats is available from Scion dealers.
Small storage areas are plentiful in the xD, or at least in the forward half of the interior. There's a 5.3-liter upper glovebox and 5.7-liter lower glove box. There's a box in the center console between the seats, a small compartment for change, a small storage tray that slides out of the dash, and five cupholders, including two molded into the hard bins at the bottoms of the doors. There are no pockets on the seatbacks, so it's a different story for rear passengers. They get a cupholder molded into each door and a third at the rear of the center console.
We found the air conditioning works well. The interior is airtight. With just the driver's window slightly open, there's a thump in your ears, so you have to crack a second window to let the air out, common in many cars nowadays. Much sound-deadening material has been used in many places. The xD is not the quietest small car around, and it's one of the noisier Toyota products we've tested. But with that excellent Pioneer stereo blaring, you may not notice.
The Scion xD is a bit shorter and wider than the Honda Fit, its most obvious competitor. It's quite a bit smaller than the Nissan Versa and Dodge Caliber.
The xD has a fairly long wheelbase for its overall size, which should contribute to a smooth ride and good interior space, and the short overhangs help with maneuverability in tight spots.
The xD roofline is boxed in at the rear corner with a wide C-pillar, and its hood is long and quite bulbous. The halogen headlights are sleek, but they're pinched in a shape at odds with the roundness of the hood, which has a chrome Scion emblem stuck on the front.
The standard steel wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, and the wheelwell gaps have been tightened, which is good. But none of the three wheelcover styles do much for the car. A sharp set of wheels goes a long way toward bringing the xD alive, and that's part of Scion's personalization platform. We've seen xDs with the six-spoke, 18-inch polished alloy wheels available from Scion dealerships, and they totally change the bulky looks of the car. The 17-inch black alloys look great too, and those who don't want to spring for new tires can choose 16-inch alloys. With wheels and a rear spoiler to extend the lines of the roof, the xD looks more like something worth showing off.
A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine powers the 2011 Scion xD, putting its 128 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque to the ground through a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission. That's enough to zip the xD to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds in Edmunds testing, faster than the Fit by about a second. The xD's fuel economy is only average for a subcompact, however: 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined with either transmission.
The 2011 Scion xD features antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints.
The 2011 Scion xD has not yet been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash tests. According to its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 scores) the xD received four stars for frontal impacts and a perfect five stars for side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the xD was deemed "Acceptable" (the second-highest score) in frontal-offset crashes and "Good" (the highest score) in side-impact crashes.
The 2011 Scion xD’s standard safety features include: Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Antilock Brakes, Electronic Brake Force distribution, driver and passenger seat-mounted side airbags and advanced airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system.
While the federal government and the insurance industry have not tested the 2011 Scion xD, scores for the highly similar 2010 model are available. The federal government gave the 2010 xD four stars in front driver, front passenger and rollover crash tests. The xD received the highest score of five stars in side driver and side rear passenger crash tests.
The insurance industry handed the 2010 Scion xD its top score of "Good" for safety side impact crash tests, but gave the xD the second highest score of “Acceptable” in front offset crash tests. Scores for roof strength are not available. reference :www.edmunds.com, autos.aol.com, usnews.rankingsandreviews.com