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#13

in 2011 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,975 - $12,221
Original MSRP: $15,110 - $17,705
MPG: 27 City / 33 Hwy
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2011 Scion xD Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Scion xD may not have the speed of a Mazda3 or the handling dynamics of a Honda Fit, but it's a steady performer and works well as a daily driver. 

  • "While the ride around town is more compliant than the Fit's, the flip side of that coin is that the xD will be no one's first choice for back-road romps. If you want an engaging drive, this isn't it -- but if your priorities lie elsewhere, the xD's driving character should prove satisfactory." -- Edmunds
  • "The engine buzzes under acceleration, and there's lots of tire noise on all except smooth asphalt. Wind rush is modest." -- Consumer Guide
  • "As with many small cars on the market, steep hills will not really showcase the engine's power." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

Reviewers say the 2011 Scion xD’s manual transmission offers the best performance, and you won’t have to compromise fuel economy for fun. The EPA says the manual and the automatic transmission have the same fuel economy ratings of 27/33 mpg city/highway. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 128 horsepower is mated to either transmission.

Test drivers report that the Scion xD can hold its own on the freeway and in the city, but there are other affordable small cars with better performance and higher fuel economy ratings. Among these are the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Fit and Kia Forte. The xD’s boxy counterparts -- the Kia Soul, the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube -- have lower fuel averages, and their performance doesn’t match the Forte, Fit or Cruze.

Also, if you live in a hilly area, the Scion xD probably isn’t your best option. Reviewers say the car struggles up steep slopes.

  • "Acceleration from a stop is adequate at best with either manual or automatic transmission, but hills noticeably slow progress. Passing power is OK around town but modest at highway speeds. Throttle action is soft, which frustrates smooth driving. The automatic transmission can be slow to downshift. The manual transmission has a smooth clutch and shifter." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Scion's little hatch zips to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds with the manual transmission, a solid performance that even bests the Fit's sprint by a few tenths." -- Edmunds
  • "As with many small cars on the market, steep hills will not really showcase the engine's power. Those who want ample acceleration from stop lights and on freeway on- and off-ramps may be happier with the standard five-speed manual transmission than the optional four-speed automatic." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Most of the automotive press agrees that the xD is capable of holding its own in twists and turns, and everyone is impressed with its braking abilities, but rougher pavement can take a toll on ride comfort. For a more comfortable ride, test the Honda Fit, which reviewers call one of the most fun to drive and most spacious affordable small cars.

  • "The electric power steering feels artificial at lower speeds, but it's fairly precise and weights up nicely during cornering." -- Edmunds
  • "[The] xD's light steering lacks road feel. Somewhat soft suspension damping allows for early onset of tire squeal and plenty of body lean in fast turns. The brakes are strong and responsive." -- Consumer Guide
Used car average prices are provided by ClearBook™, a TrueCar™ product