Rethinking car ownership, the 2014 Scion xD.
I imagine myself zipping up and down the streets of San Francisco, stopping to pick up wine, bread and fresh flowers, slotting them into the rear hatch, then picking up a couple of friends on our way to Berkeley for dinner. And I definitely see myself in the Scion xD. It’s a petite, zippy car that feels young, hip and fresh, even if only for a drive around the Connecticut suburbs for a week.
And while I often see people ‘of a certain age’ tooling around in a Scion, it’s a car clearly built for a younger customer: it’s social, agile, and inexpensive. All of which makes it a great car for a first time car owner.
Scion: Social on Wheels.
A car that is social? OK, I’ll explain. The xD’s square shape makes for plenty of head room and leg room in the back seat, something not usually offered in smaller compact cars. This means if you fill all the seats with friends or family, everyone is comfortable and conversation flows. Or you can just turn up the Pioneer sound system and everyone has room to dance in his seat.
If you’re alone, the premium media system, BeSpoke Premium Audio, offers Aha!, with thousands of Internet radio stations, sports updates, Yelp reviews, and if you feel like being social with people who are someplace else, Facebook and Twitter updates, too.
The xD that we drove also caters to the necessities of urban driving (where a person is more likely to be social)—tight roads, even tighter parking— and passenger-toting (again, social), with a well-proportioned, roomy cabin and well-planned flexible interior space for those times when you have to fill the car with stuff rather than people.
We can see the Scion as the perfect car for a college student: carry your friends around all semester, and your stuff back home at the end of the year. A lot will fit in this car.
Car Ownership Re-tooled: Your Salesman Won’t Have to Ask the Manager.
Launched in 2002 and built for the North American market, Scion is Toyota’s rethinking of car ownership for younger car buyers who push back from the traditional way of doing things. Scion not only retooled a car’s look and lineup, but the company stream-lined the buying and service structure, too.
“Pure Process” is designed to get car buyers in and out of the dealership quickly, and “Pure Price” is Scion’s transparent, haggle-free purchase and finance philosophy. A cursory look at Yelp reviews of Scion dealers around the country gives a sense that many Scion owners are fans of both the car and the dealer experience.
All The Basics, Nicely Arranged.
Scion is all about all you need, no more, no less. The Scion xD’s smartly laid-out dashboard console was designed to accommodate a driver’s needs more than placate with luxuries. This means that everything you need is right there, plainly designed for function. The center ‘stack’ has a touch screen at your fingertips, climate control that is large and easy to quickly manage, a small shelf below for storage of your phone, two power ports—USB and a standard cigarette lighter port—and two cup holders. There are control buttons on the steering wheel that allow you to adjust music volume and change the music source and station.
The interior has a resilient feel to it. with a mix of hard and soft surfaces. The soft nylon seat covers give the feeling that anything can be easily cleaned up, and the harder surface of the dashboard and door panels have a modern carbon fiber graphic look to it. The steering wheel, though, is soft, easy to grab and comfortable to hold.
The center armrest—there is only one—is a hard plastic armrest covered with a nylon cover that removes for cleaning. The armrest hovers over the emergency brake, and it can be moved up and down so you can set a handbag on top of the emergency brake. I found this to be one of my favorite features: easy and accessible handbag storage.
The rear folding seats and lift gate also allow for plenty of cargo; you can put the seats down and create SUV-like space. With the rear seats up, there’s plenty of room behind for a few grocery bags, small suitcases or weekend bags.
What We Loved
- Dashboard designed with simplicity
- Space between front seats is perfect for a handbag
- Small size allows for tight parking situations
- Lots of headroom for back seat passengers
- Two years service and Road Side Assistance
- BeSpoke Audio: Aha Radio, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and more
- Pioneer audio system
What You Need to Know
- Few luxury options (no leather seat option in this model)
- 27MPG city/33 highway (we averaged about 30)
- 3 year/36,000 mile warranty
- Rear view camera not included on on the model we tested
- Price of the model we tested: $19,876
- Options were few, but included a center armrest ($155) and Bespoke Premium Audio ($1,198)
Disclosure: Scion provided the xD for our test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own.