2014 Scion xD

A successor to the forgettable Scion xA, the xD also struggles to distinguish itself from the increasingly impressive competition in the subcompact hatchback segment. Mediocre fuel economy and limited cargo space limit its appeal, although a spunky engine, a reputation for reliability a relatively high level of refinement should resonate with certain buyers.

Recent Changes
For the latest model year, the xD gains a new 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen for the sound system, which lets users stream tunes using Bluetooth or plug their music device into AUX and USB inputs.

Also new is the optional BeSpoke premium sound system, which includes navigation and numerous smartphone-based apps.

Overview
Perhaps the xD's strongest point is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that boasts an unusual amount of muscle by the standards of the class. Though 128 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque doesn't sound like much, it's enough for the Scion to complete highway merges and passing maneuvers with authority.

Sending that power to the front wheels is the buyer's choice of a five-speed manual or an antiquated four-speed automatic. Fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway regardless of gearbox, putting the xD behind most rivals in terms of efficiency.

Inside, notable aspects of the xD include inexpensive but sturdy materials and an unusual instrumentation layout that combines the speedometer and tachometer into a single, slightly confusing circular space. The new touchscreen audio system provides a modern feel and enhanced functionality, while the optional premium stereo/navigation system and its attendant smartphone-based apps - including Aha internet radio, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Tripadvisor - ups the ante even further.

Wind and road noise is relatively muted in the xD, and the structure feels sturdy over pavement imperfections.

The rear seats were designed for comfort and utility and can slide forward and back up to six inches for additional leg room and cargo area. In addition, they can recline ten degrees and be adjusted into five different positions. Trunk space is limited to 10.5 cubic feet, although the 60/40 fold flat rear seats can be lowered to accommodate larger items.

As with all other Scions, the xD is a monospec affair: customers simply choose gearbox type and exterior color. A wide variety of dealer-installed options are available, however, with the highlight being the new BeSpoke premium audio/navigation and apps setup.

Standard features include air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and streaming audio, and a six-speaker Pioneer AM/FM/CD stereo system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen and iPod/USB connectivity.

Occupant Safety
The xD comes standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

Key Competitors
Scion's subcompact xD hatchback competes with the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and family member Toyota Yaris Hatchback, as well as the Fiat 500, Kia Rio 5-Door and Hyundai Accent Hatchback.