Aptly named the xD, not the xI-ting
Teachers do it. Successful sport scouts do it. Parents most definitely do it.
It’s looking past the surface for true potential, and it’s a familiar concept for Scion buyers. Since initially launching the xA, xB, and tC, Toyota’s youth-oriented small-car brand has carved out a niche not based on long lists of standard features and high-powered engines, but instead selling the idea of a new car being a blank canvas, one that can be customized to reflect its owner’s unique personality. Plus, those canvases come relatively cheap.
For 2008, the Scion xD replaces the xA with more aggressive style, larger dimensions, a boost in power, and plenty of features for a price that should be in the $14,000 range. More importantly is the availability of FIVEAXIS body kits, TRD performance parts ranging from superchargers to lowering kits, entertainment systems, and a Pioneer head unit that plays short movie clips. Those are just the goods Scion is talking about; self-proclaimed automotive artists will surely point their canvases in directions yet to be envisioned, and talk of it all will surely creep up on websites like whyville.net, secondlife.com, and want2Bsquare.com.
Or maybe you’re a buyer just looking for an inexpensive commuter car packed with more than the usual array of compact car amenities, though providing less than thrilling driving dynamics. Fear not, the 2008 Scion xD’s got you covered, too.
There may be no better definition of basic than the entry-level compact car. In addition to what have historically been anemic engines under the hood, these budget rides have relegated popular items such as power windows and air conditioning to the options list. In fact, we’d almost dismissed manual door locks as antique equipment until spending some time with a Kia Rio5.
Scion approaches things a bit differently, packing nearly every available feature under the Standard heading, and limiting available options to two: Vehicle Stability Control (VDC) with Traction Control (TRAC) and a four-speed automatic transmission. That equates to nice smattering of desirable features on every 2008 xD built, including power outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, power door locks, and power windows. The list goes on with cruise control, air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel with radio controls, and a cool 160-watt Pioneer audio system complete with six speakers, an auxiliary jack, an iPod adaptor, and sound retouch digitalization that makes for better MP3 and WMA-CD sound. Roadtrippers will appreciate the trip computer, and a redesigned fob-less keyless entry system lessens the amount of junk hanging from your ignition.
Largely hidden behind the scenes, the 2008 Scion xD’s safety features prove to be just as impressive as the power goods and quality sound. Every xD will reward its buyer with a tire pressure monitor, antilock brakes paired with electronic brake force distribution and electronic brake assistance systems, active head restraints, not to mention front-side and side-curtain airbags which are optional on the outgoing xA.
That’s all great stuff, but a large part of Scion’s appeal has been in the area of customization. A stock Scion, especially those wearing xB and tC badges, can be hard to find, and the xD looks to enter the scene along the same vein. Body kits from FIVEAXIS will be available, as will a navigation system that plays DVDs when the xD is parked, dual DVD screens for rear passengers, and a variety of alloy wheels measuring 16, 17, and 18 inches. Three wheel cover options are available for those who don’t want to deal with swapping out factory wheels and tires, but they will have to choose between one of six available colors: Super White, Silver Streak Mica, Magnetic Gray Mica, Black Sand Mica, Barcelona Red Metallic, and Nautical Gray Metallic. A Dark Gray cloth interior is standard.
Again, great stuff, but not dissimilar to options you’d find on most other mass-produced autos. However, the xD can be sharpened up a bit with a host of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) parts, including a supercharger, a limited-slip differential, a stabilizer bar, lowering springs, a cold-air intake system, a sport muffler, and brake and shifter upgrades. Rounding out the add-ons is a premium Pioneer sound system, this one offering XM or Sirius satellite radio, additional outputs, and a customizable screen that can be programmed to display images or play short video and movie segments. So much for the xD being a forgettable little runabout.
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Pricing for the 2008 Scion xD, which goes on sale this August, hasn’t been released. For reference, the outgoing xA starts at about $13,500 with a manual transmission and the redesigned and larger 2008 xB starts at about $15,500. Based on those figures, it’s reasonable to assume the xD will carry a sticker price in the $14,000 range.
Whatever the exact price, chances are the xD will draw its share of shoppers to Scion showrooms, and that’s its primary purpose. According to company figures, nearly 80 percent of Scion buyers are new to the Toyota corporate family of vehicles, and officials claim that 80 percent of those buyers ultimately trade up into what is likely a higher-priced Toyota-badged ride.
What’s New Outside
Up until now, the Scion brand has consisted of three models: the boxy xB, the cool tC coupe, and the nondescript xA. For 2008, the xB grows and evolves, the xA fades to black, and the xD arrives to fill the void. Whereas the xA never lit any fires of passion in the styling department, the xD, which was designed in Tokyo, offers up a bit more character with greater dimensions in nearly every direction – about an inch wider and longer than the xA, and offering more than three inches of added wheelbase and nearly an inch of ground clearance. Simply put, the second-generation xA, heretofore known as the xD, is a bigger vehicle. Aside from that, observers will notice that the rear quarter glass is now a solid pillar, a raised beltline creates a shorter greenhouse, and a more upright front end, complete with redesigned and fascia and headlight treatments, serves to add some distinction to this newest of Scion models.
Less obvious is the base architecture that’s shared with the Toyota Yaris. The xA’s 15-inch standard rollers are gone, replaced on the xD with standard 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in 195/60 rubber. Keeping in line with that slight bump in tire size are the xD’s wider front and rear tracks, something that drivers should notice in handling and shoppers might accept as improved visual appeal. Style is obviously subjective, but all eyes will likely look favorably upon Scion’s claim of tighter panel gaps.