This week, we test drive the 2014 Scion xD, a sporty and affordable little hatchback that delivers everything a consumer could hope for in a less than $20,000 package.
For those who read my column on a regular basis, you might remember the last time we drove a Scion “x” model, specifically the similar but slightly larger xB. It was back in 2011, when my son and I were hit from behind on a freeway by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.
With his foot fully planted on the accelerator, this hapless driver impacted us at over 100-mph, and luckily my son’s emergency driving skills and Scion’s structural integrity not only allowed us to see another day, we were both fully OK sans a minor bruise on my right arm.
The other driver’s mid-size car was totaled, he was OK, and we actually drove our Scion home after the accident. As they towed away his much larger vehicle, even the state police were impressed how well our Scion took the brutal hit. All in all, and thanks to the good Lord, everything turned out OK.
As for the 2014 version of Scion’s smaller xD, I’ll admit up front the car is probably more attractive to the younger demographic, but don’t rule out the car if you happen to be a baby boomer. Overall, I had a lot of fun taking the xD on two extended business trips, enjoying the many advantages of this boxy compact hatchback and the advantages it offers.
Matter of fact, when you couple together Scion’s low price, current dealer incentives, roomy interior, reclining back seat, 29-mpg EPA average and safety record, it all points to Scion xD appealing to every age group, not just the youngsters. Additionally, a five-speed manual is also available with a similar EPA fuel mileage average.
Powered by corporate Toyota’s trusty 128-horse, 125-torque 1.8-liter inline four cylinder, you’ll appreciate some peppy performance thanks to Scion’s lightweight build and a well geared four-speed automatic. Be it ease of parallel parking, enjoying a curvy country road or driving the freeway, Scion xD’s suspension is a “middle of the road” arrangement that offers more than acceptable results on all highway surfaces. Of course, if you climb a steep hill with three passengers inside, you’ll know there’s only 128 horses working for you. The cabin is more business than lavish, yet conveys a nice charm for the price.
Situated in a competitive sub-compact market where challengers come from just about every manufacturer, Scion xD excels best in price, as it is one of the lowest priced hatchbacks available (along with Kia and Hyundai). However, when you add the Toyota stamp of mechanical approval (Scion is a marquee of Toyota) to the mix, you end up with a pretty snazzy little car for a very competitive price.
Built only as a one model four-door hatchback, there’s a long list of options that allow xD individuality by each consumer. Our tester came with a BeSpoke Premium audio for an additional $1,198, which I do not recommend as the standard Pioneer six-speaker stereo with 6.1-inch touchscreen and CD/USB/iPod interface sounds and works just fine. Our tester also had upgraded alloy wheels, which cost $795 more. When adding in a few other lower price options, xD’s price came in at $19,876.
Standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, cruise, all the powers, Star Safety system with traction control, 4-wheels ABS, stability control, Smart Stop ability, all the airbags, tilt steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and much more.
The Scion sales team in your area will explain that Toyota Racing Development (TRD) has many dealer installed options available, from stiff springs and sway bars to TRD badge oil caps. They’re waiting to explain everything when you visit.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 96.9-inches, 2,665-lb. curb weight, 10.5 cu. ft. of cargo space (expands), 11.1 gallon fuel tank, 27 city and 33 highway mpg and a 37-foot turning circle.
Overall, Scion xD may not offer the best fuel mileage or the most performance in class, but it is comes delivered with proven safety items, low price and good reliability.
Likes: Fun to drive, multi-task vehicle, looks, Toyota reliability, easy to park, cheap transportation.
Dislikes: No rear safety camera, options push car away from a “good buy,” lack of horses, MPG uncompetitive with rivals.
(Greg Zyla writes weekly for BestRide.com and other GateHouse Media publications).