Full 2011 Scion xD Review
What's New for 2011
The Release Series 3.0, a limited-production model, debuts for the 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 2011 Ford Fiesta boasts a more engaging driving experience, better fuel economy and the innovative Ford Sync system, while the sporty 2011 Honda Fit offers more passenger room and utility. Kia's Soul is another solid pick, as are the eccentric 2011 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.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Scion xD four-door hatchback is available in two trim levels: base and Release Series 3.0.
Standard equipment for the base xD includes 16-inch steel wheels with a choice of three covers, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel with integral audio controls, and a six-speaker Pioneer CD/MP3 audio system with iPod/USB connectivity and a subwoofer RCA output.
Available in just one color ("Xpresso"), the Release Series 3.0 trim adds exterior enhancements, including a body kit, carbon-fiber accents and an individually numbered production badge. Production of this trim is limited to 1,500 units.
While the xD isn't offered with factory-installed options, a long list of upgrades may be installed at the dealer. Available options include a navigation system, a premium sound system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, illuminated door sills and TRD performance parts.
Powertrains and Performance
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.
In Edmunds braking testing, the xD stopped from 60 mph in an impressive 123 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
The xD's interior is cool and minimalist, all shades of dark gray and matte metal. Entertainment and climate controls flow logically down the center stack to a nesting space for phones and iPods (with a USB/aux port close by). The xD's gauge cluster is a curious design, divided into three partitions with a disorienting speedometer/tachometer sharing the same circular pod. As the speedo needle spins clockwise, the tach needle climbs toward it from the opposite hemisphere.
The optional Alpine audio system features six speakers and a touchscreen that mimics an iPod's functions, which is a nice touch. The Alpine system is also available with navigation. The optional Scion Navigation System combines the Alpine multimedia package with a 7-inch display, Bluetooth, audio amplifier outputs, and connections for a back-up camera.
The xD's seating position is upright, but taller drivers might suffer from a legroom shortage, further compounded by a steering column that doesn't telescope. Headroom is generous, though, and rear passengers will enjoy ample space thanks to a reclining seatback and sliding seat bottom. But relative to its competitors, the xD stiffs you on cargo space. Its 35.7 cubic feet falls short of the Honda Fit's 42 cubes (and nifty fold-flat floor), and the more than 50 cubes offered in the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul.
The 2011 Scion xD won't tempt you to take the long way home, but its 1.8-liter engine offers uncommon zest for this segment. The electric-controlled power steering feels artificial at lower speeds, but it's fairly precise and weights up nicely during cornering. While the ride around town is compliant and comfortable, the flip side of that coin is that the xD will be no one's first choice for energetic cornering. If you want an engaging drive, this isn't it -- but if your priorities lie elsewhere, the xD's driving character should prove satisfactory.