Cheap cars aren't what they used to be, no sir. When I was a kid, cheap cars had tiny rearview mirrors. The nicer cheap cars had AM and FM on their radios. Times have changed, and people who want a cheap car today can have their cake and eat it, too, with the 2009 Scion xD. Actually, the xD shouldn't be called cheap. It's inexpensive, and your mom will tell you there's a difference.
The kids on my block told me - after I yelled at 'em to get off my lawn - that my Scion was "major cuteness" and the stereo was hot. I don't know what crazy newfangled kidspeak to use to say that the xD gets great gas mileage, at 26/32 mpg city/highway.
The xD seemed well-built. The doors weren't tinny, and the fit and finish was clean and tight. No, I'm not Scion's target demographic (my teenager would be if I had one), but I keep wondering why not.
The funky exterior of the 2009 xD continues Scion's distinctive look. There's a hot-rod feel to it that makes it more interesting than your average hatchback. The front grille and bumper are low to the ground, and the back end is squared off. That's a good thing for those of us who like to make a style statement with our car. Yes, some days I felt like I was a little old for the Scion, but most of the time its fun style kept me grinning. Who couldn't use a little more of that in their lives?
I loved the Black Sand metallic paint color on my test car. It was just gorgeous and added a little flash to the car.
The liftgate was easy to open and close. My kids were able to open and close the doors by themselves, which I loved because it's such a major inconvenience any time I have to help my kids with car doors. You think I'm acting like a curmudgeon? Let's have you listen to "No! I wanted to do it by myself!" 15 times per errand. Trust me; it'll make you really grumpy.
Driving the xD didn't make me grumpy, though. The xD was agile and easy to drive, and it had great acceleration and responsive braking. Some cheap car this is!
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great (for small kids)
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
Now, I know those young people like their black-colored interiors, and most teens aren't bothered if they're dirty. But not me; black interiors make me crazy. Scuffs show up at the blink of an eye, and sand is a major nuisance because it's so visible on those floormats. Lint, nose monkeys and other detritus from kids are laid bare for all to see in a black interior. Why is this an issue? Because Scion doesn't offer any other interior colors, only Dark Charcoal. That's a deal-breaker for this otherwise very-interested-in-a-Scion mom.
Your teen, however, will love this car and its modern-looking instrument panel and center stack, which you'll like because the climate-control knobs are so easy to use. The stereo sounded fantastic; I couldn't help but turn it up frequently.
All of the xD's available accessories are almost making me reconsider my hard line. I know youngsters might be looking at the xD's shifters and pedals, but I liked the cargo tote ($40) for organizing the trunk. I also liked the overhead console box ($279) where I could stash my sunglasses and papers. It even has a built-in picture frame, so I could slide in a photo of my kids if I get lonely. I liked that I could have an armrest ($155) put in, too. Shoot, I just like choices!
The xD has a 60/40-split rear seat, but the Latch connectors are a bit recessed. My kids' booster seats fit terrifically in the backseat, but it might be a bit tight back there for a rear-facing infant-safety seat. Miraculously, everyone was comfortable when I packed the whole family into the xD. That's always such a pleasure with small cars.
The cargo space can manage a moderate- to large-sized grocery trip (for my four-person family), so that was fine. When running multiple errands, you'd probably end up using some of the front passenger space for packages.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Whether the Scion is going to be your car or your teen's car, you'll be pleased to know that it comes with an antilock braking system as well as front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags for both rows.
Electronic stability control is available for an extra $650. I'd really like this important safety feature to become standard. Come on, Scion, let's step it up on the safety front.
In Diapers: A rear-facing infant-safety seat might be a tight fit.
In School: Kids sitting in booster seats fit comfortably, and they can get in and out of the xD on their own.
Teens: It's great for the teen driver and the teen rider, but their friends might be envious that they have such cool parents.