2012 Scion xD Expert Review

2.9 Overall Score
Performance 3.0 Comfort 3.0 Styling 2.5 Value 3.2

Editor's Overview

Smaller and less powerful than its xB big brother, the Scion xD is also more affordable and fuel-efficient. Scion is a youth-oriented brand, but the xD is now one of the older entries in a category that includes cars like the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic and Honda Fit.

You'll Like The 2012 Scion xD If...

If you are on the hunt for a 5-door hatchback with an array of customizable accessories, loads of cargo space, a strong reputation for reliability, and a generous offering of standard equipment, the 2012 Scion xD will deliver.

You May Not Like The 2012 Scion xD If...

If you are looking for a subcompact hatchback with class-leading fuel economy, you might be happier with the Chevrolet Sonic or Ford Fiesta. Additionally, if your budget cannot exceed the $15K mark, the Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent are worthy alternatives.

What's New

Scion adds a new Pioneer audio system with HD Radio and Bluetooth to the 2012 xD. In addition, a new Release Series 4.0 model is available for 2012 with Blizzard Pearl paint, gunmetal-finished 16-inch alloy wheels and exterior-color-matched interior trim.

Interior Features

The Scion xD’s interior is most notable for its spaciousness rather than expressive design. The xD’s tall ceiling nullifies headroom concerns, and the sliding and reclining rear seat serves up considerable legroom – even for passengers over six feet tall. Spacious for its category, the xD cabin is complemented by a dual glove box, cell phone storage tray and a concealed compartment located below the rear cargo floor. The dash layout is plain and a bit drab, but the controls are large and easy to use. And though hard plastics are common at this price point, most of the xD’s surfaces are low-gloss and deeply textured.

Exterior Features

From its bulldog snout to its smoothly blended sheetmetal, the Scion xD certainly stands out among the crowd of traditional compacts. Engineered with versatility in mind, the 2012 xD features a cargo-friendly, utilitarian profile design to optimize interior volume. The xD offers a choice of three 16-inch wheels covers, 18-inch alloy wheels and a multitude of exterior adornments to make your xD truly unique. The limited-edition Release Series 4.0 takes personal expression to a new level with its Blizzard Pearl paint, color-matched interior trim and unique soft-touch seating surfaces.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Scion xD is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder powerplant, engineered with Toyota's Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) technology. Although it delivers only 128 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, the engine’s broad powerband allows it to zip around in city traffic without complaint. Unfortunately, the xD is no different than most economy cars and will strain to tackle steep hills or overtake slower moving traffic. Those who want a better sense of acceleration from stoplights and on freeway on- and off-ramps will be happier with the standard 5-speed manual transmission than the optional 4-speed automatic. With its short, squat stance the 2012 Scion xD is capable of handling curves and dips in the road with ease, although rough road surfaces will make the ride slightly less comfortable.

Pricing Notes

With only one trim offered, Scion buyers can pick up a 2012 xD with a manual transmission for just over $16,000, while an automatic transmission will bump up the price an additional $800. The Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta start for considerably less, but don't offer the same measure of standard content. The Honda Fit is closer in price but doesn't offer standard Bluetooth connectivity or 18-inch alloy wheels. Before visiting a Scion dealership, be sure to check out kbb.com’s Fair Purchase Price, as it will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay at your local no-haggle Scion dealership. Over time, the 2012 Scion xD’s 5-year resale value is expected to be lower than the Honda Fit, but higher than the Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio.

Notable Equipment

Like all Scion vehicles, the xD comes with a wide array of standard equipment. Noteworthy amenities include keyless entry, a multi-information display with various vehicle-related data, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, and a 160-watt Pioneer sound system with iPod compatibility, six speakers and Bluetooth. To help ensure its occupants arrive safely at their destination, the 2012 xD is equipped with six airbags, active front headrests to help prevent whiplash injuries, and the Star Safety System’s collection of accident-avoiding electronic aids.

Notable Options

Since the 2012 Scion xD offers a host of equipment as standard fare, available options consist mainly of items geared toward customizing the car, like illuminated door-sill enhancements, sport pedals, a carbon-fiber engine cover, and 18-inch alloy wheels. A few more everyday options exist, such as a cargo cover and mat, floor mats and an auto-dimming mirror. More significant options include a new Pioneer Premium audio system with a full-color 5.8-inch touch screen, iTunes Tagging and Pandora Internet radio. Similarly, Scion offers an available navigation system with a larger 7-inch display, DVD player and backup-camera hook-up.

Favorite Features

Organic Electroluminescent Display

This brilliant audio system display features customizable backgrounds as well as a personalized welcome screen. Scion owners can create and download their own backgrounds on an exclusive website developed by Pioneer electronics.


Convenient Storage

Despite its compact dimensions, the xD features a profusion of storage cubbies, boxes, trays and hidden compartments for your mobile life.

Under the Hood

The 2012 xD's 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers 128 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. The xD’s singular engine choice can be matched to either a 5-speed manual or a less efficient – and antiquated – 4-speed automatic gearbox. Furthermore, the Scion xD’s outdated drivetrain relegates it to the lower tier of the segment in terms of fuel efficiency.


2012 Scion xD

1.8-liter inline-4

128 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

125 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/33 mpg

Editors' Notes

In an attempt to give younger customers everything they want and nothing they don’t, the 2012 Scion xD aims to further simplify the car shopping experience with additional standard equipment on top of the availability of nearly three dozen dealer-installed options. The Scion xD offers impressive passenger and cargo carrying capabilities for its size thanks to its hatchback design and versatile seating configurations. And while newer competitors like the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 are more fun to drive and offer better fuel economy, the Scion xD possesses unique advantages over its competitors like Toyota’s reputation for reliability and Scion’s celebrated no-haggle pricing.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Scion xD Owner Reviews

4.35
23 Reviews
52% 30% 17% 2 star 0% 1 star 0%
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I love my Scion, and you will too

I bought my Scion xD after I read about its reliability and safety. I get amazing mpg and I know that if I was to get in a wreck, I'll be just fine. On top of that, it rides incredibly smooth. It's one of those cars that looks small on the outside but feels big on the inside too which I love, although if you're over 5'9 this may not be too comfortable for your daily car haha. I've only ever bought Scion xDs because I've fallen in love with them and I think anyone who buys one will feel the same.

- Emma Q

I love my signature color..the pearly whites!

I have had very little issues with my Scion. It gets great gas mileage, and is just about the perfect size and style for a single 20-something! It's a great price for a first time buyer. Not too expensive, good ratings. I still love it to this day! It does have a bit of road noise, so be prepared for that. But, overall is a good car. I'm satisfied with my purchase!

- Heather P

Economical Fun-Sized Sub-Compact Funky Car of the future!

The car has incredible gas mileage and still manages to remain comfortable, upgradeable for those wanting more from their audio or sound systems, very modern, and extremely economical overall. It's been one of the best purchases I've ever made, and I don't think anyone other than Scion (or Toyota rather) could have done as good of a job as this.

- Jonathan M

The small car but seems spacious.

It is extremely good on gas. It looks like a small car but it actually feels a lot more spacious than it looks. It also doesn't feel like you are super close to the ground either. And you don't feel like you have to crawl out of it like a lot of cars do. The only thing is if you have kids it's not very big in the back seat for car seats.

- Kate S

Big guy, little car in the four season of Wisconsin

I'm a big guy, so I look pretty cramped in there and when I mean big, about 6'1. However, it's pretty spacious inside. I've owned the car for about 7 years now and all I've ever needed to do is routine maintenance. It's been a great vehicle with great gas mileage. One of the drawbacks is that it's terrible in thick/deep snow.

- Corbin S

A small compact car But with a SUV kind of feel to it.

I have a 2012 Scion xD. Think this is a good starter car. I have to say I have not had any major problems with this car and I had it for about 7 yrs now. It has 120,000 mil on it and it runs great. For a small four door car is has a lot of space inside. Comfortable You the driver and it's passengers.

- Natalie V

Engine is really powerful! Has a lot of get up and go!

Extremely reliable grocery getter! Gets me where I want to go. Pretty comfortable, great speaker system, too! It's a great little family car, though I usually use it as my daily driver to go to work. I have always loved Toyota's Scion line. Stylish, different and straightforward has always been my jam.

- Andy O

It's a great car for the city.

This car is my first car and it's a great first car. It's very compact and is good for parallel parking, which is a plus for me, as well driving. The car is also good on Mileage vs my husband's car. The only problem is sometimes the size of the car does have an effect, such as groceries shopping.

- Tina J

THE BUILD QUALITY IS VERY GOOD I've never had to repair it in 5 years.

I love that my car is small and fits in small places. The bluetooth talk and audio/stereo is great feature. I dislike the gas efficiency around 31 mpg because the vehicle is so small i feel i should get closer to 40 like 38 mpg or higher. Sometimes it accelerates slow.

- James T

That we can go two weeks between filling our gas tank up.

This is the best car I have ever had. It handles very well, has great acceleration. It gets great mileage too. It has some neat accessories also. Like a port to charge my cell phone. It also has a great radio set up. I just love everything about this wonderful car.

- Karen B

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