As a cheap platform, Scion models have been favorites for accessorizing. They make upgrading cabin tech easy with standardized steering wheel controls and dashboard openings. Toyota offers a line of accessories from its Toyota Racing Division (TRD) to make the Scion look good, and perform slightly better.
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The Scion xD is a recent model, having replaced the xA. Although basically a snub-nosed box on wheels, Scion gives its hood a mean-looking bulldog shape, and contours the sides nicely.
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The engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder generating 128 horsepower. It can make the xD feel peppy if you keep the engine speed high.
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The xD has a practical shape, allowing four doors plus a hatchback. We found the driver seat positioning uncomfortably high, and would have liked a seat height adjustment.
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These wheels are a TRD accessory, one of three types available. The open spokes show the disc brakes in front and drum brakes on the rears.
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The xD's suspension is typical of economy cars, with a multilink in front to accommodate the front-wheel drive and a simple torsion bar in back. But this car comes with a TRD rear sway bar, the only real performance upgrade. It kept the xD a little more stable in the turns.
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This exhaust gave the xD a noisy growl when revved, making the car sound much more powerful than it really was.
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The cargo space is reasonable in the xD, with the rear seats folding down to fit even more.
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Hard plastics cover the dashboard, giving the car a cheap feel, but Scion uses a nice texture that partially ameliorates the effect. Buyers have three head unit options, along with the standard stereo, two with navigation.
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The steering felt vague when we were traveling at speed on the freeway, but this problem was partially because of the car's light weight and the wind.
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Scion cleverly fits speedometer and tach onto the same gauge face, leaving plenty of room in the side instrument pods.
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The five-speed manual comes standard with the car. It was nothing special, and we were especially disappointed that Toyota did not include a TRD shift knob.
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This Bluetooth phone button sits behind the shifter. It is not a very good system, with virtually no features, so we would recommend not optioning it, and getting a new head unit with integrated Bluetooth.
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This Alpine head unit is the first step up on the option ladder for stereos. We weren't crazy about it, and would consider leaving it off the list and finding a better aftermarket stereo to fit into the xD.