2014 Scion xD

Easy driving, hard riding

BYJim Prueter

Scion is supposed to be Toyota’s hip and trendy division. But other than the new FR-S, Scion's cool points seem to be fading.
 
Still, we came away favorably impressed with Scion’s second-least expensive vehicle, the xD. Whether it’s hip or trendy is a matter of taste, but this hatchback is practical and a great value for the money.
 
At first glance, the xD may appear too small or too light, but it’s the perfect four-door urban car that gracefully slips through city traffic; trundles away from stop signs; and corners and brakes with ease and confidence. It is not, however, a car we want to take on a long trip.
 
As your speed rises, the car feels steadily less assured, and on a less-than-perfect two-lane country road the xD gets downright jittery and bouncy. There’s more body lean and cabin noise (at highway speeds) than desirable.
 
The xD is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder 128-horsepower engine and a standard 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic. Power in city and suburban driving was sufficient, but the xD struggled when passing on the highway or negotiating hills.
 
Simply Scion
When it comes to style, the xD is the opposite of hip and trendy. There’s nothing outrageous or fashion-forward about this Scion.
 
Inside, most of the materials looked pretty cheap. The front seats are small, don’t adjust much, and are not all that comfortable. Conversely, the rear seat is quite a surprise: There’s lots of room, plus, the seats recline and slide fore and aft.
 
As for safety, the xD earned an impressive Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, contradicting the notion that bigger is safer.
 
Overall, we think the xD is a pretty good car for commuters who don’t need big or brawny and don’t need to drive a status brand. You may find hatchbacks that are more fun to drive, but few can match the xD for overall value.
JIM PRUETER, an automotive writer based in Phoenix, has provided reviews and advice about cars for more than 20 years.

2014 Scion xD

Base Price: 
$16,675
Price as Tested: 
$17,475
Fuel Economy: 
27 MPG City
33 MPG Highway
Likes: 
  • Excellent safety score
  • Perfect for urban drivers
  • Strong value
Dislikes: 
  • Cheap interior materials
  • Bumpy ride
  • Needs more power
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