2008 Scion xD

Change year or car

Change year or car


starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Seating capacity

154.7” x 60.0”


Front-wheel drive



1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2008 Scion xD trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Hatchbacks for 2024

2008 Scion xD review: Our expert's take

By Warren Brown

There are degrees of ugliness.

There is, for example, what is rudely called “butt-ugly” — essentially dysfunctional styling that is an affront to aesthetics and ergonomics; ugliness bordering on insult.

There is “boring” — ugliness absent imagination and spirit, the kind of styling that tries neither to please nor offend. It is careless design.

And there is Scion xD ugliness, which is ugliness with a purpose. It demands notice. It dares you to object. It has the ambitious audacity of seduction.

In the end, you wind up loving or hating the Scion xD’s styling. But you will neither ignore nor forget it. It makes an impression.

That’s just fine with Toyota, purveyor of Scion automobiles, which are aimed at the putative “youth market.”

Toyota believes young people want products that make a statement, vehicles that draw attention to themselves in much the manner of teenagers wearing purple hair or having physiognomies resembling vampires.

It is ugliness with swagger, in the case of the Scion xD hatchback sedan, manifested by headlamps that are at once bug-eyed and square, by side panels that have the nerve to flirt with muscularity, and by a rear end that squats while strutting its stuff.

It is a body that brings forth derision and appreciation. How dare Scion’s designers present something like this? But they did, and did it so wonderfully well, with every odd-looking part perfectly fitted, every weird line in exact alignment.

Sit inside. Therein is paradise of molded composites, including a dashboard of one continuous piece. It is off-putting in its plainness and appealing in the genius of its execution — nothing wasted and everything accessible.

A center console that flows from the top of the dashboard to the floor is loaded with electronic goodies, including a docking port for an iPod.

My associate, Ria Manglapus, and I drove the five-speed manual version of the xD in Virginia. I was tempted to put it on the road for the 300-mile journey to New York. But common sense trumped bravado. The xD is a good little urban runner, but it has all the handling ability of a Smart Fortwo micro car on high-speed, windswept highways — which isn’t much.

Still, shifting it in urban traffic was fun. The lever fell nicely to hand and moved with something approaching grace. In city driving, the front-wheel-drive xD felt zippy, confident and competent.

It would have been nice if Toyota’s engineers had given the same attention to the clutch that they gave to the five-speed gearbox. The good feel and ease of movement in the shifter was absent in the clutch, which felt rubbery and uncertain. It was like dancing with someone who was all rhythm and fire on the right side of her body, but who was completely absent of passion and timing on the left.

I suspect that the available four-speed automatic version would remedy that problem but at the cost of a few more miles per gallon.

The verdict: I asked Ria if she loved or hated the xD. She offered an opinion worthy of a diplomat. She said the car was ugly, but so ugly that it verged on being cute. She loved its fuel economy and maneuverability in the city but dumped it the moment she had cause for a long highway drive with her mother and two sons.

Me? I love any car that makes me smile, as the xD did. In terms of design, it is whimsical bordering on silly but enjoyable nonetheless. It is indeed a good city driver. It has the personality of a goofy best friend and offers the service and reliability of a favorite pair of tennis shoes.

ON WHEELS WITH WARREN BROWN Listen from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesdays on WMET World Radio (1160 AM) or http://www.wmet1160.com.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.3
  • Interior 4.3
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value 4.9
  • Exterior 4.6
  • Reliability 4.9
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews


Help! No brakes

Best car I have ever had ,I bought it 9yrs ago not 1 problem till now and the brake system has gone crazy been trying to fix it for 8 months,replaced all parts still no brakes! I'm so broken hearted about it,I love this little car


Built To Last

I bought this car brand new in 2008, manual transmission, and still own this car today. The car has 168,000 miles on it and has required some basic repairs, several ignition coils needed replacing, I've only changed the battery once. I had to replace the catalytic converter last year because I live in CA and failed a smog test. Beyond that, no issues whatsoever. In the 14 years I've owned the car I've probably put about $2000 into repairs not including tire replacements and oil changes. It's great for parallel parking too, just so easy to fit where most cars can't. Fun to zip around town in. Way roomier on the inside than what you'd expect from the outside. I've fit some crazy furniture in here thanks to the hatchback style. I absolutely love this car and hope to have it a few more years.


A lot of miles.

My 2008 xD now has over 230,000 miles on it. Today marks the second time the check engine light has come on. It was a bad ignighter, and I think it's the same problem now. Tomorrow will tell.

See all 39 consumer reviews


Based on the 2008 Scion xD base trim.
Frontal driver
Frontal passenger
Nhtsa rollover rating
Side driver
Side rear passenger


New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles

Compare the competitors