2011 Scion xD Review

Scion's least-inspired model does the job, but doesn't fit the part

2011 Scion xD Review

Toyota’s entry-level brand is under fire. After seven years of relatively easy pickings, a combination of poor corporate decision making and increasingly laser-accurate competition, Scion is scrambling. Sales are down sharply and apart from the 2011 tC, there’s little really new until next fall when the cute iQ micro-car debuts, and there’s a real sense that the company is quickly losing its relevancy amongst the youth buyers it’s aimed at.


1. According to the latest Consumer Reports reliability survey, the Scion brand is the most reliable in America, with the xD being the highest rated model in the brand.

2. A 1.8L 4-cylinder makes 128-hp.

3. Fuel economy is rated at 27/33-mpg, city/hwy.

4. An extensive list of Scion accessories includes everything from 18-inch wheels to suspension upgrades, to unique interior accessories and a touch-screen Navigation system.


Perhaps the vehicle most under fire is the entry-level xD, a poor cousin replacement to the poor cousin xA hatchback that although mechanically identical, couldn’t hold a candle to the original square-box xB in terms of perception. Still, there are very hot products coming from rival manufacturers in this very price-sensitive and trend-creating class, and barring some minor updates in 2010 and for ’11, the xD is already four years old.

The exterior shape hasn’t dated all that poorly. There are shades of Yaris in the profile, but the xD is happy to play its own tune. It shares the same wide-set headlamps and rectangular lower grille that’s now honeycomb with the rest of the Scion family… all the better to fit an intercooler for an aftermarket turbocharger, they say.


Changes made for 2011 include a rear spoiler that implies sportier handling than before, and changes to the ride height and shock absorbers that better support that implication. The xD is not an overt performer, especially with its 16-inch all-season tires on steel wheels, and relatively modest brakes (including rear drums).

The tradeoff for the new cool looks, though, is a jiggly ride, especially on broken pavement. Maybe Scion’s trying to attract all those old Honda Civic owners bouncing around on cut springs?


Either way, the xD does nip through traffic quite well for its size. The 128-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder isn’t especially athletic, but it is more powerful than the small cars coming from Ford and Mazda. The standard five-speed manual is definitely the one to choose since spending the extra dough on the four-speed automatic is a real buzz-kill. The slush-box is slow to shift, blunts the already meagre acceleration and is just no fun. Either way, the xD gets acceptable fuel economy numbers – 27/33 mpg (city/highway) – which is equal to a Honda Fit, but worse than a Fiesta.

However, the xD’s boxier shape has some positives. It’s easier to see out of, and despite the huge rear pillars, the blind spots are not terrible. Cargo room is generous for this class, although the Honda Fit is perhaps a thousand times cleverer. It also feels well built, like it’ll pass into fourth-generation college student car very easily, and survive burnouts and hand-brake turns and all the other stupid stuff we did when we were young.


The one thing the little Scion has going for it is its relative value. While a starting price of $14,900 is middle of the pack, it’s certainly not a stripper model… there’s standard power windows and locks, air conditioning, a good Pioneer stereo, expensive side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, split-folding and reclining rear seats, and a full load of safety systems like ABS, traction and stability control, six airbags, and active front headrests. And that’s it. Other than choosing model, color and transmission, you’re done.

Until you get your hands on an accessory catalogue. Scion offers over 40 different style, convenience and performance parts that owners can roll right into their monthly payment. Everything from a rear spoiler and carbon-fiber B-pillar appliqués, to TRD-branded brake pads, shift-knobs, sway bars and exhausts can be had. Larger wheels are another obvious choice, and there are three choices for larger 18-inchers. While the standard 160-watt Pioneer head-unit is predictably good, the upgraded Alpine premium audio system adds a touch-panel screen with optional navigation.

One Scion exclusive in this class is that all models get their first two services – at 5,000 and 10,000 miles – performed for free at the dealership. While that might only add up to a couple hundred dollars saved, when you have the youngest average owner age in the market, that equals a lot of take-out or bucks better spent at iTunes.


So is the xD worthy of praise and recommendation? Not without some big consideration of what else is out there. There are too many smart, sharp, satisfying vehicles now on sale in the xD’s backyard to recommend it without serious consideration. Unlike the xB – or even the sexy 2011 tC coupe – the xD is not the emotional choice in the Scion showroom.


2011 Mazda 2 Review 2011 Ford Fiesta: First Drive 2010 Honda Fit Review 2009 Chevrolet Aveo5 LT Review 2009 Toyota Yaris

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked