I recently purchased a new Scion XD after looking at the Ford Focus and Kia Soul. After giving it a thorough test, I have found the XD to be an excellent value for the money. It has good power for the relatively smallish engine, excellent handling (especially after installing new 17" wheels), and a relatively quiet, comfortable ride for a small car. The aspect I like most about this car is the ability to customize just about anything on it which gives me the ability to differentiate it from all the others on the road. Compared to the other two cars I test drove, the Scion fared better in power and performance to the Soul and looks, price, and customiziation to the Focus.
The stock stereo is good but an upgrade to an Alpine (aftermarket) system made a huge difference.
Gas milage is excellent (average around 33mpg).
Good cargo space with the rear seats folded down.
Has a sporty feel to it in city driving while also handling high speeds well.
Recommended upgrades: 17" wheels and performance tires (aftermarket- the factory custom wheels are lame), Rear spoiler (aftermarket- the factory spoiler is way overpriced), Gear shift knob (stock knob feels terrible), Mudguards (should come on every car)
Typical of Toyota made cars, adding just about any accessory is easy to do.
The all black interior is a bit much- would it kill Toyota to make something a color other than balck?
At speeds above 45mph, the interior cabin has bad wind flutter when the windows are down. This can be corrected by opening one of the back windows.
Accessories to be avoided: TRD brake pads- no real difference over the stock pads. TRD suspension package (for hard core enthusiast only). Center armrest is useless in manual transmission cars. Auto dimming mirror- use the money to tint the windows instead. BLU Logic Hands free system- this is available on just about any good aftermarket radio head unit. Satellite radio package- again is available on any good aftermarket radio for alot less.