The Scion xD is a modest little hatchback but it's very well-executed. I like its looks. 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. The ergonomics and utility of the interior are impressive. Very good steering feel, accurate and quick. I didn't even mind the automatic transmission, even though the 1.8-liter four-cylinder makes a modest 128 hp.
For $16,565, it's a lot of car and also not a lot of car. The carpeting is thin and cheap, and the interior lighting isn't much. But stability control, ABS, lots of air bags, and a nine-speaker stereo are standard, plus A/C and cruise control. For this price, I shouldn't be complaining.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor