- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

TORRANCE, Calif. | Scion’s manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the 2010 xD five-door urban subcompact is a reason to look twice at this affordable and fun ride. The xD rolls into its third model year with new standard and optional audio systems and also gains standard vehicle stability control.

The enhancements to the 2010 xD come with a modest MSRP increase of $150. The base MSRP for the xD is $14,800 when equipped with a manual transmission and $15,600 with an automatic transmission.

The xD’s new standard AM/FM/CD/USB 160-watt maximum output Pioneer audio system receives additional functionality for 2010. New features include an organic electroluminescent screen, iPod/USB connectivity, advanced sound retriever (ASR), and a subwoofer RCA output. The standard Pioneer system has a USB port and universal auxiliary (AUX) port located on the center console that allows users to listen to their portable music collection through the xD’s six Pioneer speakers.

Connectivity is achieved by simply plugging the portable music player, including iPod or iPhone, into the USB or AUX port. The head unit’s screen displays the track number, track name and artist information from select USB units. The audio system provides outstanding sound quality through the car’s stereo system and constant power to select iPods. Music is controlled through the head unit and audio control buttons on the steering wheel for radio, CD and certain USB devices; iPod users can also use an alphabetical speed search to find a specific artist or album.

The ASR function restores a wide, deep and rich quality to MP3/WMA/AAC sound. Through the subwoofer RCA output, xD owners can add an external amplifier to drive one or more subwoofers. For easy operation, the system’s multi-selector allows for easy control of the head unit. Unique to the standard Pioneer audio system is the customizable welcome screen that also lets users create a personal message of up to 16 characters.

The optional Alpine premium audio system has the same basic features as the standard Pioneer audio system, but adds a 4.3-inch color touch-panel thin-film-transistor screen, HD radio technology, media expander (MX), and front and rear RCA outputs. Passengers can listen to HD radio broadcasting with the premium audio system and view text, song titles and album and artist name on the head unit. Alpine’s MX technology improves the compressed audio sound often found on digital music. The RCA outputs allow for up to three amplifiers - front, rear and subwoofer - and the optional audio system is back-up camera and navigation ready.

Scion also offers an optional plug-in navigation unit for the Alpine premium audio system. Navigation and audio functions utilize the head-unit screen for display and features include voice guidance; day and night screen modes; support in English, French and Spanish; 200 available address book entries; map coverage across the U.S. and Canada, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hawaii; three map views (3-D, north up, and heading up); and more than 6 million points of interest. Users can also program up to three destinations before arriving at their final programmed stop. Scion makes this navigation unit customizable by allowing the user to change the vehicle position icon from an arrow to an icon of the xD, which can be customized in every xD exterior color.

Both the standard and premium head units retain key Scion audio system features such as Scion Sound Processing, where listeners can choose from three pre-set equalizer settings, satellite radio compatibility and MP3, AAC and WMA capability. In addition, both units adjust the volume control based on driving speed. The sound systems feature six speakers - a tweeter and a speaker in each front door panel, plus two full-range speakers in the rear.

The xD’s distinct exterior is characterized by aggressive styling - a wide stance, thick muscular body, a long and narrow back window, accentuated wheel flares, an integrated rectangular lower and upper grille, and horizontal headlamps. The xD also features side mirrors with integrated turn signals. The xD rolls on 16-inch steel wheels and 195/60 R16 tires. Customers can choose from three standard wheel covers, which are also shared with the xB model.

The xD’s 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine with dual variable valve timing and intelligence generates 128 horsepower. This engine features a roller-rocker system and lightweight pistons for better fuel economy, and a piston-cooling oil jet for better efficiency.

Customers have the choice of a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission.

The xD sits on a short, wide frame for a pleasing ride. To help enhance control, it features an L-arm type MacPherson strut in the front and torsion beam suspension in the rear. The xD utilizes front-ventilated disc and rear-drum brakes.

The instrument panel features indicator lamps, an LCD fuel gauge, an odometer, a unique, radar-like speedometer and tachometer. The digital clock and HVAC and audio controls flow down the center console.

Storage and cargo space are plentiful with the xD - the driver has easy access to a change box and storage tray located beneath the steering wheel. The xD also has a small box in the front of the center console for holding portable music players or cell phones, an upper and lower glove box, and a hidden storage space located below the rear cargo area. The xD also features 60/40 fold-flat rear seats for a level cargo space.

For versatility, leg room and added cargo space, the rear seats can slide forward and back up to six inches. The rear seats also can recline 10 degrees and be adjusted into five different positions for additional comfort.

Like all Scion vehicles the xD comes mono-spec with a surprising array of standard features - customers only need to choose exterior color and transmission type. The xD’s standard features include power steering, windows, door locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist; vehicle stability control with traction control; a tire pressure monitoring system; driver and front-passenger dual-stage airbags; front-seat-mounted side airbags; front and rear side-curtain airbags; cruise control; a first-aid kit; and a tilt steering wheel with audio controls.

All Scion models come with complimentary factory-recommended maintenance services at the first 5,000-mile and 10,000-mile intervals, to be performed by an authorized Scion or Toyota dealership.

The xD is available in seven exterior colors: super white, silver streak mica, black sand pearl, magnetic gray metallic, Barcelona red metallic, nautical blue metallic and the all-new black currant metallic. The interior features a high-quality dark charcoal fabric.

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