Is getting a decent car for $5,000 really too good to be true? Sure, many older cars lack the sleek designs, fancy tech, and advanced safety features that late models boast. However, an older used car can still be very dependable, especially from a reliable brand like Toyota.
Scion, an extension of Toyota, made several unique vehicles during its brief lifespan. Shortly after crossover sales began to boom nationwide, the Scion xD debuted. And a 2012 model is one of the best used cars you can buy without breaking the bank.
What happened to Scion?
Toyota discontinued Scion in 2016 due to declining sales. The offshoot made unconventional cars to appeal to younger drivers who scoffed at their parents’ Toyota vehicles. As it turned out, these younger customers wanted reliable Toyota cars instead of Scion models.
Scion vehicles aren’t typically regarded as bad cars. In fact, Forbes recently included several models on its “Best Used Cars Under $5,000 for 2021” list. They include the 2021 xD hatchback, the unmistakable xB minitruck, and the xA crossover. However, these vehicles didn’t sell as well as Scion’s sportier models and had shabby, outdated interior designs.
Why critics still recommend the Scion xD
Edmunds agrees that the Scion xD is a great car, including the 2012 model. Unlike many other Scion models released at the time, the xD’s interior is aesthetically pleasing. Edmunds describes it as fashionably minimalist with upscale touches like matte metal accents.
Compared to the xA and xB models, the Scion xD has a more user-friendly gauge cluster. It’s easier to read because it’s located behind the wheel, though Edmunds questions the logistics of its pod-like design. In the center stack, audio and climate controls look and feel similar to that era’s Camry models.
Edmunds also likes the 2012 Scion xD’s numerous customization options. They include three wheel cover choices, TRD performance parts, spoilers, light-up door sills, and a touchscreen infotainment interface. There was also a Release Series xD, clad in exclusive white paint with matching interior fabric.
Even the base trim had some advanced features for the time, like a high-end Pioneer stereo system. The 2012 Scion xD was also the first model to get HD Radio and Bluetooth. You can play tunes from your iPod or with the CD player, and the steering wheel offers additional audio controls.
The 2012 xD’s weak points
The Toyota Yaris inspired the Scion xD’s platform, so it’s not particularly exciting to drive. Its 128-hp four-cylinder can be paired with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission. Critics find the engine adequate for daily driving, with better acceleration than similar 2012 cars.
Drivers also appreciate the vehicle’s compact shape, allowing them to navigate tight city streets and parking spaces easily. The power steering feels smooth enough, but the xD clearly struggles around corners. Its estimated fuel economy is 29 mpg combined city/highway.
However, taller drivers might not appreciate the Scion xD’s interior. Because of its high position, the driver’s seat severely lacks legroom, and you can’t adjust the steering column. The second row is a different story: Passengers will enjoy the sliding and reclining seats. But with every seat in use, the Scion xD offers only limited cargo space.
Despite these drawbacks, we still think the 2012 Scion xD is an excellent car for under $5,000. It comes with the most updated technology for its time. Plus, it’s backed by Toyota’s outstanding reputation for reliability.