2008 Scion xD Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive audio choices, long standard features list including safety items, Scion's dealer-installed customizing features.
  • Comparatively small cargo space, bizarre gauges, short on front legroom.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$2,961 - $5,526

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Edmunds' Expert Review

A stylized exterior and an impressive features list should attract buyers to this cool compact hatch, but some competing models offer more utility, driver comfort and fun.

Vehicle overview

No, that's not a rhinoceros, it's the 2008 Scion xD. Not exactly the ideal animal to be compared to (wide-mouth grille, Scion logo instead of horn), but at least the xD is distinctive. After all, being different is the raison d'etre at Scion, Toyota's spin-off brand known for its youth-oriented focus and long list of dealer-installed customizing features for the Pimp My Ride generation.

Just as the boxy xB captured a certain type of buyers' hearts when it first debuted, Scion hopes that the xD's interesting visage will collect its own cult following. All-new for 2008, the xD has been designed with American customers in mind. In both price and lineup positioning, it replaces the xA hatchback, a vehicle that never seemed quite cool enough for the Scion brand.

Heavier and more substantial-feeling than the xA, the new xD shares its basic underpinnings with the latest Toyota Yaris hatchback. One significant difference, however, is that the xD comes with a more powerful 128-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. In testing, we've found that this is enough to allow the xD to out-accelerate competing subcompacts from Honda and Nissan while also returning similar fuel economy.

In addition to its engine and National Geographic front end, the 2008 Scion xD distinguishes itself with a lengthy list of standard equipment and dealer-installed extras -- especially the audio options. While other automakers have made auxiliary input jacks standard equipment, Scion has gone one step further with a regular aux jack and a dedicated iPod port that provides power and stereo head unit control. We haven't had a chance to test the regular head unit, but the upgraded stereo provides a user-friendly interface and large screen to toggle through playlists, artists and songs. The xD is also one of the least expensive vehicles to currently offer an integrated navigation system.

There are some downsides to the 2008 Scion xD. Compared to popular choices in this segment like the Chevrolet Aveo, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa, it falls short in terms of maximum cargo space (with both the rear seats raised and lowered). Its interior is also hampered by odd-looking gauges and a lack of front legroom. Nor is the xD particularly engaging to drive. But it does have a clear advantage in the intangible X-factor category. Its "unique" styling, customizable features, impressive stereos and overall funky character are the types of things that will attract plenty of buyers in their teens and 20s. And for that reason, we think the new xD is certainly worth checking out.

2008 Scion xD models

The 2008 Scion xD is a four-door subcompact hatchback available in one trim level. Standard equipment is plentiful for this price range, with 16-inch steel wheels with a choice of three covers, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel and a thumping six-speaker Pioneer stereo with single-CD/MP3 player and both an auxiliary MP3 jack and a dedicated iPod port that allows one to control iPod playback through the head unit controls.

Naturally, the xD is available with a long list of dealer-installed extras for those who want to personalize their car. These include multiple alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, LED taillights, a silver-leather-wrapped steering wheel, a variety of shift knobs, a security system and interior mood lighting in a choice of four colors. An optional premium audio system has a more user-friendly control interface that allows for downloading images and video onto the head unit display. Other options include TRD performance parts, a choice of satellite radio providers and a touchscreen navigation system.

2008 Highlights

The 2008 Scion xD is an all-new model that replaces the xA at the bottom of Scion's lineup. This four-door hatchback features distinctive styling, peppy performance and an impressive list of standard features and personalization options.

Performance & mpg

Scion's new xD is motivated by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 128 hp and 125 pound-feet of torque. Estimated fuel economy is a very competitive 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway with the five-speed manual and 26/32 mpg with the four-speed automatic. In our testing, an xD with the manual went from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, while stopping from 60 in a short 123 feet.


The 2008 Scion xD comes loaded with an impressive array of standard safety features including antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints.


In a comparison test of the xD and the Honda Fit, we found that the Scion feels like a more substantial car than the tiny Honda, despite being slightly smaller on the outside and significantly smaller inside. Credit the xD's high beltline, heavier curb weight and stronger engine for making it feel less like a toy -- particularly on the highway when large SUVs and big rigs can make compact hatch drivers feel like they're in a paddleboat stuck in the Norfolk Navy Yard. The xD's electric steering feels very much like the Yaris's -- extremely artificial at lower speeds -- but it does weight up nicely and offers decent feel at higher speeds. No one will ever confuse the 2008 Scion xD for a hot hatch (in looks or performance), but its comfortable ride, solid feel and reassuring stability control make it a good choice for those who don't put a premium on driving fun.


The new xD sports a functional, well-built and certainly hip interior design. Unlike the new xB and the outgoing xA, the gauges are where they belong -- in front of the driver instead of in the dash center -- but the speedometer and tachometer are placed in the same circular pod and run toward each other. Imagine a clock where the minute and hour hands move in opposite directions. The tach in particular is hard to read and we once again must say to Scion: "We understand being different is your thing, but just leave the gauges alone." Other controls are the model of simplicity.

The optional navigation system makes audio control even simpler (and safer) by utilizing the touchscreen to create crystal-clear functions that mirror those on the iPod itself. The standard speakers aren't fantastic, but Scion makes it simple to take them out and replace them with aftermarket units.

The xD has the same upright seating position as the Yaris and a driver seat that's short on legroom. Plus, the steering column adjusts only for rake, and when released, drops to its bottom-most position like an anchor. Headroom is quite good, though, and two rear passengers should find plenty of space with a seatback that reclines. Although not as voluminous as other compact hatches, the xD provides enough cargo room (35.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded) for the active lifestyles Scion envisions its customers leading.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 Scion xD.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love my Scion xD!!!
4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
I was in the market for a fuel efficient vehicle with a college student budget. I had looked at several popular cars (Corolla, Civic, Impreza, etc) and hadn't thought about Scion. I caught sight of it on a used car lot and before I knew it I was signing the papers. The xD is a reasonably priced car that has great fuel economy. I typically will get about 28-32 around town and 32-36 on the highway. This car has excellent visibility and handles really well on the road. It doesn't accelerate as quickly as I would like, but it's not bad for a four cylinder. I love how much legroom/headroom there is inside-and not just in the front, but as well as the backseat. The back seats fold flat creating a large cargo space, but even with the seats up there is plenty of cargo space. Easy to park, low maintenance cost, extra compartments, plenty of cupholders, the list just goes on. For such an affordable price, it has a lot to offer. The driver seat does not rise/lower which could be an issue for some drivers but the steering wheel can be adjusted. The speedometer/tachometer takes some getting used to as it is sideways-it took me a little while to adjust. Overall I have been pleasantly surprised with my Scion xD and I think I might keep it around for awhile.
Loved This Car
4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
This was my first brand new car. I stumbled upon this car when it first came out. I think I just got lucky with it. didnt know anything about the car but i had been wonderfully happy with this car. it was fun, sporty. had some get up and go. and there were alot of customizable features that you could add to the car. radio was great. love the ipod hook up feature. I was able to get 40 highway and high 20's city. this car was the love of my life. unfortunately it got squished in between a ford f150 and a ford E150. The car actually held up alot better in the accident then I would have expected from the impact, but the car was a total loss. RIP scion XD
Compact, fuel efficient and great value.
4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
I stumbled upon the Scion Xd while looking for a Honda Civic and Mazda 3. The Scion is most different from the Mazda, but is similar to the Civic in the following ways: reliability, fuel efficiency, and compact size. The car is decently built for a compact car. It shares many components from the Toyota Corolla (engine, tranny, etc) and knobs and other items from the Rav4. For any 4-cylinder car that doesn't have a turbo, I recommend the manual for better control and performance, especially when merging onto the freeway. Overall, I'm very satisfied with my Scion and glad that I found it.
be prepared for fuel evac canister $1000 a pop
4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A)
Bought this car brand new, so cute. Gas mileage winter 26/28 summer 32/34. Very reliable! I clean houses and all my equipment fits, great storage! Lots of road noise and bumpy ride but didn't bother me. The only tires that worked in New York snow were $700 Blizzaks, you're going nowhere with all seasons. My husband hated that it didn't have arm rest on the right and the left is too short. 9 years later and 157,000 miles so far very few repairs. At 111,000 miles repairs started, 3 wheel bearings, water pump, alternator, oil pressure gauge($7). Also replaced light bulbs in headlights about every 50,000 miles, weird. The big issue is the fuel evac canister. 62,000 - 103,000 and again at 156,000 miles it needs to be replaced to pass inspection. This same part in the xB is $250 but the xD is $870! I don't top off the fuel tank and even stopped the undercarriage wash at carwashes trying to keep the charcoal filter from getting wet! Car runs fine but won"t pass inspection until fixed. Such a reliable car, but another $1000? I just don't know. Might buy another scion xD if i can find a warranty to cover that part.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2008 Scion xD
More About This Model

The new 2008 Scion xD doesn't have much of a legacy to overcome. The Scion xA, its predecessor, has always been the other car in the three-car Scion lineup, not as shocking as the iconic xB box and not as smoothly successful as the tC coupe.

Up to now, the small Scion has been the one that no one cares about and most people don't even know about, a collection of mundane mechanical pieces buried under a molehill of amorphous sheet metal and indistinct plastic.

The 2008 Scion xD, on the other hand, is nothing if not distinctive. Its profile is a unique mix of hatchback and Mack truck, and it features a rambunctious four-cylinder engine that Toyota has never before offered in North America. Even the interior is both versatile and cleverly detailed.

Unlike the xA, the 2008 xD will be tough to overlook. Particularly if, as expected, Scion keeps the car's base price down near $14,000 when it goes on sale this August.

Bulldog Look, Bulldog Character
Scion says the Japanese-designed xD has a "high beltline with powerful front bumpers [that] give it a substantial presence." OK, whatever. What the xD looks like to us is the classic, snub-nose 1916 Mack AC truck that gave rise to Mack's well-known bulldog mascot. Like that ancient truck, the xD looks pugnacious and utilitarian. Though the Scion xD measures out much like the Honda Fit, from its 96.9-inch wheelbase to its 60.0-inch height, the xD seems far less self-conscious. It's also more aggressive than the Nissan Versa, more substantial than the Chevy Aveo, and simply better than the Toyota Yaris.

The four-door xD's closest relative is in fact the two-door Yaris hatchback, and both cars share the same basic unibody structure, MacPherson-strut front suspension, torsion-beam rear suspension, front disc and rear drum brakes, and electric rack-and-pinion steering. The xD is 4.1 inches longer overall than the Yaris hatch and 1.2 inches wider, but both cars are the same height and both have a 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder engine positioned transversely under the hood that drives the front wheels.

But in place of the Yaris' wimpy 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder with variable valve timing on the intake cam, the xD gets a 128-hp, 1.8-liter four with variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. Backed by either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transaxle, the xD's engine is neither particularly loud nor particularly quiet about its work, but its torque curve is robust compared to that of engines in most twerp-class runabouts. The shift action of the five-speed manual isn't particularly clean, either, but it helps make the xD feel a bit quicker than the 107-hp Honda Fit.

Though the xD's 195/60R16 all-season tires don't seem impressive, relatively aggressive suspension tuning helps the car corner more tenaciously and with less roll than the Yaris. At the same time, the steering lacks the strong feeling of precision and stability that you find in the Fit, while the xD's combination of ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and supplementary brake-assist pressure can't help compensate for the lack of pedal feel that comes with the use of rear drum brakes. Stability control is standard equipment and it's quite effective, but you can switch it off if you're looking for fun.

The xD deserves a more expressive exhaust note to reflect its engine's relative muscularity. But while power gives the xD a contentious character, this is not really a sporting machine in the manner of a Honda Civic Si or VW GTI. It may be a bulldog among lapdogs, but it doesn't have the might to take on the big dogs.

It Has Dimples
What the xD lacks in ultimate sporting ability it significantly compensates for with the design, flexibility and quality of the interior.

There isn't a surface on the xD's interior that lacks the feel of nicely textured quality. Golf ball-like dimples cover most of dashboard and door panel surfaces, and the few switches work with easy precision. The feeling of quality is furthered by nicely shaped front seats and a surprisingly comfortable rear seat.

As you might expect, the electronics are really the interior's most interesting aspect. There really isn't much in the way of gauges, but the single element in which the speedometer needle swings clockwise and the tachometer needle swings counterclockwise is attractive, intuitive and just really neat. It gives the whole environment an avant-garde style rare in any car.

And this style is furthered by a choice of audio systems that sound great. A Pioneer system with integrated iPod port and loads of speakers is standard, but the optional Pioneer system that includes the ability to personalize the display with "skins" is even better. And if that's not enough, an optional navigation system will play DVDs when the car is parked.

There's plenty of practicality, too: 84.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, and the 60/40-split rear seat reclines slightly for comfort. Laying down the seatbacks provide ample cargo room. Some hidden cubbyhole storage beneath the load floor in back is also available. The numbers indicate that Honda's Fit will swallow slightly more total cargo, but the xD offers enough for most people.

And if the xD crashes, side curtain and seat-mounted front side airbags are standard.

Finish Yourself
With its just-plain-ugly plastic wheel covers and minimal instrumentation, the xD can seem almost incomplete, as if it's missing the finishing touches that give a car some road presence. In fact this is intentional, as Scion wants xD buyers (and xB buyers for that matter) to consider their new purchases as just the starting point in a whole program of personalization.

For instance, there will be 40 Scion- and TRD-branded dealer-installed accessories available for the xD upon its launch, including more aggressive 16-, 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels. There are also functional items like a quick-shift kit, big brakes, shorter springs, an exhaust system, a carbon-fiber engine cover and an overhead console. Beyond this, aftermarket companies like Lund, Sparco and Yakima are also committed to making personalization of the new Scion easy.

Personalization is all fine and dandy, but it helps if the car itself has some substance. And in the new xD, Scion seems to have built a car that makes it worth going through the hassle of personalization.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.

Used 2008 Scion xD Overview

The Used 2008 Scion xD is offered in the following submodels: xD Hatchback. Available styles include 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 4A), and 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M). The Used 2008 Scion xD comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Scion xD?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Scion xDS are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Scion xD?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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