Full 2013 Scion xD Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Scion xD sees minor updates for 2013. Inside, there are updated instrument panel trim pieces and a newly optional BeSpoke premium sound system. The exterior gets smoked headlight housings along with an available two-tone paint scheme with a blue body and black roof. There's also a limited-edition "10 Series" trim level that commemorates Scion's 10th anniversary.
Bookended by the hipster xB and the tC sport coupe and put in the shadows by the attention-grabbing FR-S, the lowly 2013 Scion xD hatchback is the forgotten model of Scion's lineup. But although the xD isn't particularly stylish or a blast to drive on a back road, it still has worthy qualities for the conscientious economy-car shopper.
For example, its 1.8-liter engine produces 128 horsepower, which is strong for the class. And the xD's ride quality is pleasant both around town and on the highway. Furthermore, this Scion hatchback comes with plenty of standard features and a dizzying array of customization options. The dealer-installed accessories range from merely cosmetic to genuine performance upgrades. Parent company Toyota's strong reputation for reliability is another draw for this affordable compact.
But compared to other small hatchbacks, the xD's positive points aren't really enough of a draw. The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic and 2013 Ford Fiesta deliver a more spirited driving experience and return better fuel economy. The 2013 Honda Fit, with its unique folding rear seat, is a better choice if utility is what you desire. The Kia Rio or funky Kia Soul might also be of interest. Among these choices, the middle-child Scion xD struggles mightily to get noticed.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Scion xD four-door hatchback is available in two trim levels, base and 10 Series. Standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker CD sound system with an iPod/USB interface.
The 10 Series gains unique headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels, an illuminated rear badge, an illuminated "Scion" panel above the audio system, a solar-powered illuminated shift knob (only available with the automatic transmission) and a 6.1-inch touchscreen for the sound system.
Instead of factory options, you can order a trailer load of dealer-installed accessories for your xD, including a rear spoiler, remote engine starter, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a cargo cover, a center armrest, a navigation system, a premium sound system with a 5.8-inch LCD touchscreen interface, satellite radio, carbon-fiber trim and a host of TRD performance parts.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2013 Scion xD is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 128 hp and 125 pound-feet of torque. Buyers may choose either a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission.
In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped xD accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, making it considerably quicker than most competitors, with only the turbocharged Sonic nipping at its heels. Fuel economy is below average, however, at an EPA-estimated 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined with either transmission.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Scion xD include antilock brakes, stability control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front active head restraints.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the xD was deemed "Good" (the highest score) in both frontal and side-impact crashes. In Edmunds braking testing, the xD stopped from 60 mph in a respectable 123 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
The xD's minimalist interior features shades of dark gray with lots of matte-finish metallic trim. Entertainment and climate controls are arranged logically on the center stack and flow down to a nesting space for phones and iPods (with a USB port close by). The optional BeSpoke audio system is designed to run an iPhone app that consolidates Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Internet radio.
We can't say we're fans of the xD's odd instrument panel, which is divided into three partitions with a disorienting speedometer/tachometer sharing the same circular gauge. As the speedo needle spins clockwise, the tach needle climbs toward it from the opposite hemisphere.
The seating position is very upright, and taller drivers might suffer from a shortage of legroom, not to mention a steering column that tilts but doesn't telescope. Headroom is generous, though, and rear passengers will enjoy ample space thanks to a reclining seatback and sliding seat bottom. The xD stiffs you on cargo space, though, its 35.7 cubic feet falling short of most rivals; the Honda Fit, for example, offers 57.3 cubes.
The 2013 Scion xD's 1.8-liter engine offers uncommon punch for this segment and is the highlight of the driving experience. The outdated four-speed automatic does it no favors, however, so we'd recommend going with the manual transmission if you can. On city streets, the xD is satisfactory in terms of ride comfort, but there's little to this car overall that engages the driver.