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Roadshow Video Reviews
2010 Scion xDIs the xD edgy or safe?
-Scion is a hip brand or at least it's supposed to be. But it's struggling these days with sales plummeting quite a bit more than just the economy can explain. Let's see if this xD takes the company to the edge or to the middle where struggling car brands usually gather. And while we're at it, we'll check the tech. Now, there are so many cheap cars these days that have, I think, rather attractive interiors. There's no excuse for this one. That is one fugly dash in my opinion. These shapes make no sense. Lots of good, cheap hard plastic with a very lame attempt with that upscale texturing. And then, you've got this. The Jack Russell Terrier of the automotive world, this stick out like a sore thumb, you're bouncing and yipping and reminding you, "I'm ugly and don't look good. I'm ugly and don't look good. I'm ugly and don't look good." Shh...Sit! Sit! Here's a dog bone. This is just a nasty looking center stack and made worse by the fact that we've got this sort of after-market partnership with Alpine and Scion to make this thing that everyone thinks came from Best Buy or something, but in fact, it's a factory unit! It just looks like you got it at the flea market----not real pretty. It does have some decent functions. This is the middle system by the way. You've got AM/FM and HD radio. It's a touch screen. Not much of one, but it's a touch screen. If you've got a smart phone, you'll be quite at home with that size. Satellite radio in this guy would be XM. And here's the best button: iPod USB. Scion is very good about giving you that way down at the bottom of the lineup, let alone with a better head unit here. My port for that is down here. Standard AUX, and there's my USB, which will read USB sticks or my iPod, my iPhone, what have you. Nice job there, kudos on that. Single CD slot up here, though no video playback or anything like that. Don't be fooled by the nav button. That's just a big tease. That is actually non-functional. There's another upper unit you can get for this that has nav. It's a completely different head unit. It's all screen. The thing does move rather nicely though. I gotta say it's very responsive. No problem getting around the different settings. It is quite bright, which is good. A lot of cars that have a much higher price don't get that right. And here's interesting stuff: car type. Why would you have to set that? So the knows what it is? Wasn't it born knowing that? But by giving it a certain identity, you program the system to the acoustics of this model. They've got a bunch of this kind of nonsense in here that is part of what they call Scion Sound Processing or SSP. And there are a bunch of other silly settings you don't really need in a car, but you know, it's a Scion. They're all about that personal statement thing. Now, the other key technology in this car is Bluetooth handsfree, but it's nowhere in the head unit. It's not integrated. It's totally separate, at least in terms of interface and visuals. It's down here on the ground, arguably one of the most cryptic Bluetooth controls there is. To pair with this, to pick up a call, to drop a call, you pretty much just stand on that button, the phone button, and wait for a certain number of beeps and snorts and farts and then you know to go do something on your phone. It's actually surprisingly effective, real simple, almost refreshingly so. Our xD is a 2010. It's dolled up with accessories from TRD, Toyota Racing Development, a variety of which are quite legit. You've got the big 18-inch TRD black wheels, kind of a bigger bad ass look with bigger boots on them. You've got the wing back here which is really silly. I'm not sure this thing goes fast enough dropped out of an airplane for that to kick in. And then the one that really makes me nuts are the, I think, genuine carbon fiber appliqus here on the B-pillar. Now, carbon fiber exists in the automotive world to have great strength that's light weight. But appliqus don't impart any strength to anything. And if you really wanna save weight, you don't have any appliqu at all. Poser! In all, the car looks more special than perhaps it is. Underneath is basically a Toyota Yaris, which isn't really a bad thing. Consumer reports named the xD the most reliable new car of 2009. Cute little thing to drive, I think perky is the best word. You don't get the sense of real power. It's a gutless thing down at the low end, but it's lightweight in its handling. It's very Honda Fit-like. Rides like a drum, a little bit firm and kind of a, I don't know, too harsh, but that's because we've got these big TRD wheels and the low profile tires. This car's front wheel drive, no particular aggressive output of the drive train is available or standard. So this isn't really a sporting car. It's just kind of a sporty-ish little run about. Up front, not a whole lot to get excited about: a 1.8 liter inline 4, doing 128 horsepower on a 125 foot-pounds of torque. 0 to 60 is pushing 8 seconds, but MPG is good at 27/33. There is an upside to low ambition. But you don't buy this car to go fast. You buy it to look like you belong at an art gallery that has a DJ. Transmission choices are like something you'd see painted on a cave wall, a sort of yesterday-ish 5-speed manual or a positively fossilized 4-speed automatic. Where do they even source a gearbox like that, Briggs and Stratton? Okay, let's place this xD. They do sell them cheap. $15,600 is base. Of course, that includes almost nothing we like about the car. That head unit, which I don't even like, is $750. Skip that. Go factory dead stock and do your own aftermarket. None of the choices here are great, especially not the $2,000 higher-end nav unit; not worth the money. I would go for some of the Toyota Racing Development parts. These 18-inch wheels are kinda hot, but again, you can do after market and probably do it for a lot less. The sway bar's kinda proprietary. You might wanna get that, but there's kind of a weird middle ground here. If you're a tuner, you don't need to go to the dealer to get these parts. And if you're not, you probably don't need these parts at all.