There's no room for error in the subcompact class. Every inch of metal must be put to good use in a car that displaces so little space. The Scion xD and Honda Fit are undeniably small on the outside, but know enough tricks to keep things from getting cramped inside. Which study in efficient packaging impresses us more?
Why xD Makes Sense
Like the Fit, the xD is a tall four-door hatchback that can legitimately carry five passengers. The rear seat slides and reclines to make the most of available space. Headroom is generous throughout the simply styled cabin, and the cargo area can handle up to 36 cubic feet of loot.
All models carry a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 128 horsepower, which provides surprisingly good acceleration for this class. The xD delivers about 29 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Buyers can choose from a variety of cosmetic and performance upgrades available through Scion dealers.
Why the Fit Makes Sense
The Fit excels like nothing else when it comes to interior versatility. With the rear seat folded, there's a whopping 57 cubic feet of cargo space spread across the flat load floor. In another configuration, the bottom cushions flip up to provide a tall alleyway for things (like potted plants or table lamps) that need to remain upright. One of the seat bottoms contains a hidden compartment for stowing small valuables. In addition to all that, the front passenger seat folds down so you can carry long items that run the entire length of the interior.
The Fit's 1.5-liter four-cylinder produces 117 horsepower and achieves 31 mpg in combined driving. The available five-speed automatic comes with paddle shifters on Sport models, a notable feature at this price point.
The xD boasts plenty of pep and generous passenger room for an economical commuter. The Honda shines for its ability to handle cargo just as competently as many small crossovers.
Our Verdict: Honda Fit
The Fit's unmatched versatility makes it a credible alternative to far more expensive vehicles.