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2008 Scion xD Review - Photos, Specs, Pricing

by Martha Hindes

2008 Scion xD
2008 Scion xD Interior

Scion, according to Webster's, means heir. As the youngest progeny of Toyota, it stands to reason that, even as a relative newcomer, Scion—as vehicle—is heir to an enormous reach and appetite for customers just entertaining their first foray into car buying.

The new xD for 2008 isn't Scion's first effort meant to tempt American buyers away from other entry level fare. That credit goes to the xA (now gone) and xB pair that caught a lot of attention about four years ago. But as simple, boxy, unique and essentially very basic entrants into auto ownership they seem less radical now.

Time, then, for something new from Scion (in true Toyota fashion), and xD appears to have done the job admirably. It's yet another compact auto box in a genre that can struggle to do a lot style- and usage-wise in a small amount of space. But the next generation Scion is a little bigger, a lot nicer in appointments and quality, and feels and handles more like a real compact than its earlier siblings. (Our brief test with manual trans and 1.8-liter, 128-HP four felt lively and agile.)

Scion has loaded up the xD with a number of standard features for its inaugural year. Reclining and sliding rear seats, AC, the obligatory auxiliary jack for iPod, tire pressure monitor, remote keyless entry, power doors and windows plus outside mirrors with turn indicators, and even a first-aid kit, are items usually found on more upscale vehicles or as pricey options.

That doesn't mean they're not reflected in price. xD comes in about $14,550 base, not the bottom of the economy scale. But then it doesn't have to. Scion already proved that the young, tech-savvy buyer who's as likely to visit the internet as the local dealership, is in clear focus and willing to go the extra mile, living happily on best 27/33 MPG, in exchange for those requisite electronic touches. Econo-box indeed.