SCION XD LOOKING FOR ACTION AND ATTENTION

Written by gary on August 6th, 2010
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The Scion xD is a quick, thrifty, nimble, small hatchback made by Toyota. It has more horsepower than its major competitors, and for 2010, it’s a Consumer Reports recommended car with a very strong reliability record.Scionxd

The five-door, five-passenger xD is ready and looking for some action… and its’ share of attention in the world of small hatchbacks. Sales are down 25.5 percent through the first seven months of 2010, and the xD is the slowest-selling of all non-luxury Toyota cars.

Part of the reason may be that with Scion, Toyota’s youth-oriented car brand, most of the attention goes to the boxy-styled Scion xB with all it’s aftermarket accessories and the sporty-looking Scion coupe, the tC. Another contributing factor could be that the Scion xD is built with the same high quality standards of luxury Toyota cars and therefore, is not the cheapest little guy on the block.

The front-wheel drive, 2010 xD has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $15,620 with manual transmission and 128-horsepower, 1.8-liter four cylinder. With automatic transmission, the lowest-priced 2010 xD starts at $16,420, and a recent test model with stylish alloy wheels, rear spoiler, upgraded audio and other options topped out at nearly $20,000.

The 2010 Nissan Versa, another small, four-cylinder-powered hatchback, has a starting retail price of $14,140 with manual transmission and 122 horsepower. And the 2010 Toyota Yaris hatchback, whose platform is used under the xD, starts at $13,665. The Yaris, however, gets just 103 horses from its four-cylinder engine and is a bit smaller than the xD. Even the 117-horseower, 2010 Honda Fit, whose starting retail price of $15,650 is on par with the xD, is outselling the xD by 5-to-1 this calendar year.

It’s true the xD has the lowest starting retail price of all the Scions for 2010. But the difference between the base xD and the base MSRP, including destination charge, of the larger xB is less than $1,000.

Still, the xD is a capable little car with some nifty features. The back seat slides forward and aft to help accommodate the needs of passengers and cargo. This is something not always found in this segment. Rear seatbacks also recline, Quality. The xD’s seat fabric looks pricier than buyers might expect in the segment,,,Quality again. The split, folding rear seats go down for a flat cargo space that maximizes at a decent 35.7 cubic feet.

Fuel economy in the recent test base xD with manual transmission was noteworthy at a combined 30 miles per gallon in city and highway driving. The federal government rated the test car at 27 mpg in city driving and 33 mpg on the highway, so getting 300 miles on an 11.1-gallon thankful of regular gasoline is eminently doable.

At just over 2,600 pounds and shorter in overall length than the Versa hatchback and the Honda Fit, the xD feels spunky in city driving. The gearshifter is tight. Torque peaks at 125 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm. This compares with 127 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm from the 2010 Nissan Versa’s 1.8-liter four cylinder.

The little xD gets around without a hiccup, and parking is a breeze in almost any parking spot. Yes, the xD can be an excellent, no-fuss urban car that Scion envisioned.

The upgraded Alpine stereo put out strong, clear tunes, even if the 4.3-inch color touch panel seemed small. The Alpine system includes HD Radio technology and Alpine’s MX technology that enhances the compressed audio sound of digital music.

This is the first year that electronic stability control is standard on the xD. Other standard safety items include curtain air bags, anti-whiplash front-seat head restraints and antilock brakes with Brake Assist.

The xD earned four out of five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal crash testing by the federal government. Side crash test results were better _ five out of five stars for passenger protection.

Introduced in 2007 as the replacement for the often overlooked Scion xA, the xD is still searching for an identity. Perhaps a more agressive marketing campaign is called for to make buyers more aware of the outstanding little Toyota that could…

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