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Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 Scion xD

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All three cars in the Scion lineup are sort of deceptive. From a distance, each seems like nothing more than an economy car with a little added exterior style. But look a little closer and it quickly becomes clear that each Scion is surprisingly comfortable, with a nicely assembled interior plus lots of standard and optional equipment.

The 2009 Scion xD is the perfect poster child for the whole lineup, as it's both inexpensive and reasonably refined. This subcompact hatchback distinguishes itself with a lengthy list of standard equipment and dealer-installed extras -- especially the audio options, proving Scion totally understands its customers.

While other automakers have made only auxiliary input jacks standard equipment, Scion has gone one step further with a regular aux jack and a dedicated iPod port that provides power and stereo head unit control. The xD is also one of the least expensive vehicles to currently offer an integrated navigation system.

As expected, the Scion xD delivers good fuel economy but still has adequate power. Even on the highway, the four-cylinder engine isn't excessively rev-happy. If you're about 6 feet tall or more, you might find the xD's interior a little cozy. Lack of legroom is the main problem, but the car can feel narrow, too.

Scion vehicles, with their gen-Y styling, are clearly aimed at younger buyers. However, you'll frequently find retirees driving Scions, as their value is undeniable -- the secret that they are basically low-priced Toyotas is out. Depending on use and personal preference, however, there are a few economy cars that come off a little better than the 2009 Scion xD. Nissan's Versa is roomier inside, the Honda Fit is a better all-around package and the often-overlooked Hyundai Accent has been a longtime favorite of ours.

On the other hand, the xD is a much better car than the Toyota Yaris, even though both cars are built by the same company. Ultimately, the Scion xD is a very good commuter car or first car. It's not the best economy car out there, but it's far from the worst. Anyone looking for an inexpensive, reliable and slightly sassy small car should add the Scion xD to their short list.