$8,655 - $9,068

2014 Scion xD Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Scion xD was new.


Performance: 6.9

Test drivers say the 2014 Scion xD is peppy around town but can feel strained on steep hills and when passing on the highway. Auto writers recommend the manual transmission, saying it’s well matched to the engine. They say the optional four-speed automatic is less refined than the transmissions available in rival cars. The ride is sufficiently comfortable, reviewers report, but the xD isn’t much fun behind the wheel.

  • "Those who want to wring the most out of the xD - and save a few dollars - should select the 5-speed manual transmission. Most buyers, however, will choose the optional automatic transmission. This setup can still do the job with its four gears but is looking aged as the xD's competitors usher in smoother and more efficient 6-speed automatics or continuously variable transmissions (CVTs)." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped xD accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, making it considerably quicker than most competitors, with only the turbocharged Sonic nipping at its heels." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "I used it to run errands around town on the day before Thanksgiving, and I was thrilled with its in-town visibility and the ease with which I slid into a tight parking space at the always-crowded Ann Arbor Farmers Market." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 xD has a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 128 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic transmission is optional. The xD gets an EPA-estimated 27/33 mpg city/highway, which is low for a subcompact car. By comparison, the Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500 and Toyota Yaris all use less fuel.

Reviewers say the xD is peppy off the line and powerful enough for getting around town, but a few note that it struggles on steep hills and during hard acceleration. They like the standard manual transmission, saying it makes the best use of the engine’s power and has good clutch action. The automatic transmission is adequate, they note, but it isn’t as refined as the more modern transmissions available in rival cars.

  • "Producing 128 horsepower, the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder is adequate to move the front-wheel-drive hatchback around town without complaint. Like other economy cars, the motor strains when tackling steep hills or overtaking slower traffic.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2013 Scion xD's 1.8-liter engine offers uncommon punch for this segment and is the highlight of the driving experience. The outdated four-speed automatic does it no favors, however, so we'd recommend going with the manual transmission if you can." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Though light on power, the xD can get out ahead of traffic with either transmission. It struggles, however, on hills, and during highway passing maneuvers. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The manual has long throws, but it has a natural clutch feel." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The Yaris feels a bit sluggish, but the xD's 1.8-liter, even when mated with the four-speed automatic, is surprisingly lively. Brisk acceleration, coupled with decent chassis tuning and impressive steering weight, help lend this subcompact a sporty feel." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the xD’s ride is adequately comfortable and the brakes are responsive. However, they agree that it isn’t particularly fun to drive. The steering is light and the car is easy to maneuver in tight spaces, they say, but offers little in the way of road feel or driver engagement.

  • "The Scion xD is capable of handling curves and dips with ease, though rough road surfaces can become uncomfortable in this compact hatchback." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On city streets, the xD is satisfactory in terms of ride comfort, but there's little to this car overall that engages the driver." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "The steering is light and it lacks road feel. The soft suspension plays a role here, too; it allows for early onset tire squeal and a bit too much body lean during aggressive cornering. The brakes are responsive and strong enough for everyday use." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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