2010 Scion xD

A brilliant little buffet of the works

The 2010 Scion xD five-door sport-subcompact vehicle delivers substance and value in the expanding segment where budget-minded buyers are seeking reliable, enjoyable transportation for less than $20,000.

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Styling, Customizing and Performance

Much more distinctive than its predecessor the xA, the exterior has a low-profile, aggressive-looking front end (6.5-inch ground clearance), with two horizontal black grilles, faux intake cooling vents (which can be converted to house fog lights), horizontal Halogen headlamps, and color-matched power side mirrors with turn indicators (normally seen on more expensive cars). Standard equipment also includes a matte black roof antenna, intermittent front wipers, a rear window wiper and 16-inch wheels available in three styles. The rear of the vehicle has clean lines with a modern appeal, with an overall vehicle height of 60 inches. There are seven exterior colors to choose from including a new Black Currant, Barcelona Red Metallic, and Nautical Blue Metallic.

Owners can customize their xDs with the Scion Genuine Accessories. Exterior optional factory enhancements include chrome exhaust tips, front and rear bumper ground effects kit, rear spoiler, B-pillar logo applique on black Carbon Fiber cloth, rear bumper protector applique with xD logo, 16-inch alloy wheels and LED rear taillights. More high-spirited factory accessories, 53 in all, such as lowering springs, sport mufflers and five-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels, can be obtained from Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

For the so inclined owner, opportunities to customize and personalize a Scion xD are almost endless. Scion has partnered with several aftermarket companies to offer additional parts in the Optomize Program-203 compatible accessories available to install or add on. The Scion xB and tC models also benefit from this program (www.optomizescion.com).

For some, Scion isn't just a car; it's a style of living. Scion means "decedent" or "heir to," and Scion owners have their own culture of art, music, and even their own magazine. Regional Scion dealerships produce one-day recreational events where hundreds of owners participate in free, instructor-based racing and best-of-show competitions for prizes. It's about fun and the pride of ownership. The website is www.goexposed.com/events.

Scion has produced a second "limited edition" of the xD for 2009. This version in the Release Series, (RS) is the 2.0 Electric Wasabi Green xD, featuring a touch screen Pioneer audio-visual head-unit with voice recognition and Bluetooth. Only 1600 were produced.

The 2010 Scion xD is powered by a 16-valve, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-I) matched to either a four-speed automatic, which can be manually shifted from First to Third gears, or a five-speed manual transmission. This 128-horsepower engine also powers the dependable Corolla. EPA fuel estimates are 26 city and 32 highway for the automatic. Scion dealers provide complimentary maintenance service for the first 5,000 and 10,000 miles of ownership. Scion xD has a minor increase of $150.00 for the 2010 models. The base MSRP for an automatic 2010 Scion xD is $15,600, while manual-transmission xD models are priced at $14,800.

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Scion xD's interior is comfortable and engaging. A tilt sport steering wheel has mounted audio controls, and has a good feel with an expensive look. Standard equipment includes power windows, power door locks and cruise control. The seats (five) are an attractive mixed fabric pattern but are somewhat stiff. The rear seats can tilt backwards for a more comfortable ride. When reclined fully the cargo area is 35.7 cu ft.

The modern, amber instrument panel above the driver's seat is easy to read. Gauges, knobs and buttons are easily accessible, except for the Drive Monitor. The information display, however, with average miles per gallon, trip mileage and odometer reading) is helpful. The dashboard and door panels feature an attractive black pebble textured finish. There are six cupholders, vanity mirrors, large interior lights above the console, middle roof and cargo area, two glove boxes, plus a secret small compartment on the driver's side. The center console between the front seats needs an armrest, which can be purchased for $155.00. Other interior accessories available for purchase include navigation system, security system, logo carpet floor mats, sport pedals, Sirius Satellite, Premium Pioneer Audio, cargo accessories, shift knobs, interior light kits with LED light bars in the foot-wells and illuminated beverage holders in front.

The center console on the dashboard, which surrounds the sound system, clock and climate controls, is a smooth, piano-gloss finish. The 2010 Scion xD model has a new Pioneer audio stereo head-unit, which allows the viewer to see artist and music information on a brilliant screen. The integrated USB port permits iPod users to play and recharge their unit simultaneously. The sound system has six speakers and Bluetooth compatibility.

Standard safety equipment includes driver and passenger dual stage airbags, seat mounted airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags, helping the Scion xD earn top safety ratings. A direct tire pressure monitor system is located on the instrument panel.

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Driving Impression

Overall, the Scion xD is a pleasure to drive, especially in the city. Visibility is good except around the C pillar, which can be overcome. Handling is well balanced, and steering is excellent with Electronic Power Steering. Parking and maneuvering through busy lots is simple and efficient. Freeway driving is comfortable; the ride is extremely smooth even on bad roads. The front end has MacPherson struts and the rear has torsion beam suspension as standard equipment. New for 2010 is the addition of standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).

Cornering at increased speeds on Mulholland Drive did not alter this cars’ solid performance. The xD’s ride is compliant, fun, and predictable. Our fuel consumption averaged 28.1 mpg driving the automatic through various highway and city conditions. Our only wish would be for softer, more contoured front seats for a more comfortable drive overall. Sound system and air-conditioning units work well. The hatchback door is so easy to open and close, (stable, not heavy) and has an easy-to-reach accessible latch. The cargo area is ample for transporting groceries, gym equipment, etc. Locking doors with the remote keyless entry generates a nice ring-tone instead of an obnoxious horn sound.

In the subcompact category of automobiles, we recommend the Scion xD as an impressive, yet economical car. This vehicle may be geared toward a younger generation, but it is suitable for anyone interested in an economical, contemporary, agile car. (www.scion.com)

About the Author

Sandra E. Bartley was a spokesperson for the California Association of Women Highway Safety Leaders and former PPG Indy Pace Car driver.

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