"The tC is a sharp little car, offering a compelling blend of standard equipment, style, performance and reliability.
Even a 'base' (non-Spec model) tC provides a healthy complement of standard equipment, including power windows, locks, mirrors, a healthy 160W sound system and god's own sunroof overhead.
Performance is strong for the class, with plenty of power available from fairly low RPMs and fairly short gearing in the manual model - a strong contrast to many of the 'peakier' engines in the segment (e.g.: Honda Civic), and provides great off-the line thrust and passing power. While the engine lacks the character of more high-revving engines, it's far better suited to real-world city driving. Unfortunately, the short gearing means you'll be turning right around 4K RPM at 85 MPH. A sixth gear for better fuel economy and somewhat more relaxed (though you'll never hear the engine above the tire and wind noise at anything over 75 MPH) highway driving would have been appreciated.
Handling is good, but not great - the tC corners fairly sharply, but rolls more than I'd like. In exchange for this, you get a great ride, with well-controlled responses to uneven pavement, even mid-corner.
Fit and finish are excellent both inside and out. Inside, matte silver plastics and the large spun-aluminum HVAC knob are set against a backdrop of soft-touch material on the dash and side panels (with an unusual texture that helps prevent light from reflecting off the rather long dash in the steeply raked windscreen) and a grippy (and durable) black fabric on the seating surfaces to create an upscale 'modern/technical' look. Wheel-mounted stereo controls are a nice touch, but the wheel rim is a bit thinner than I'd like, save for the palm swells at 10 and 2 o'clock. The only real downsides are the high door sill and low seating position, which combine to create a feeling of sitting in a bathtub.
Externally, the tC combines a pastiche of other makes' ideas with good proportions to good effect. A Volvo S40 nose/front clip, BMW-ish headlights, taillights that look stolen from an A4 and even the BMW 'Hofmeister kink' in the C-pillar all make a showing, but they all blend well with the somewhat slab-sided body, short overhangs and slick-looking dark-chrome 17" wheels to create a car that you'll look forward to seeing in the garage.
My ownership experience has been flawless, with the tC proving to be a dependable and fairly economical traveling companion. The interior is a quiet, comfortable place to while away miles, with great seats and the aforementioned comfortable and controlled ride making miles disappear in seemingly short order. Fuel economy is decent, with my example averaging around 25 mpg in city driving and 30-35 on the interstates over the 15 months I've owned it.
In summary, the tC is a stellar value, offering 'a lot of car' for around $17K. Toyota reliability and resale value add a little extra to the equation, and the 'no-haggle' pricing at Scion dealers is a refreshing change from the usual back and forth at purchase time. Buyers interested in a stylish, sporty coupe would be remiss in not giving it a chance, though for pure sporting intent, the Civic Si may be a better (if somewhat more expensive) choice."
Pros: "price, fun to drive, safety, low cost of ownership"
Cons: "road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After owning the Saturn, Jetta and Saab, I finally found the most reliable and maintenance free car I ever owned. For a little hatchback has surprisingly a lot of cargo room. Decent pickup for the low-power engine but you'd never know it. Seats are incredibly comfortable even the rear seats. All seats cradle you like a race car driver. All I ever I had to do between 65k miles and 126k miles was basic brake maintenance and oil changes. Some minor rattles you can feel the road at high speeds but that's what's expected from stiff suspension.
Safety is amazing and airbags are quick and surprisingly soft. Easy to walk away from without a scratch when you need to...I'll miss you :)"
"I purchased this tC as a commuter car. It already had high mileage ~150k, but was priced well. When I first drove it I knew I would be doing some work to get it back to it's original condition. I started with tires which can expensive because of the size, but I found stepping up the side aspect of the tire to a 50 series lowered the tire cost considerably. I also replaced the struts and went through a full tuneup. The 2.4 2azfe is a great mechanics car, as it has a lot engineering to make servicing easier. Such as;
The oil drain and filter located in a clear area and right next to each other making oil changes a breeze.
A antifreeze block drain in an easily accessible area.
A timing chain versus belt which will usually last the life of the vehicle.
4 wheel disc brakes with a separate system for the emergency brake.
What this means to the average consumer is far lower repair costs than other vehicles in its class. Now for the things to be beware of. Although it is difficult sometimes to determine whether you will buying someones headache, be vigilant of some key things.
Previous crashes, which may or may not be reported to car fax. Look for distortions in body panels, water leakage, rust, or paint color/sheen changes. The car I purchased had no mention of a crash, but I found key indicators that it had been in one. The owner fessed up only after I grilled them with facts. The next expensive mistake on this car is that the catalytic converter is integrated into the exhaust manifold making it a very expensive repair ~$600. This will be a concern mostly to California drivers. The biggest let down for me has been that I discovered that my vehicle is actively burning oil. I purchased the car from a graduating college student and should have known she was keeping up on oil changes like she should have. Toyota's are very sensitive to oil changes and once the piston rings wear prematurely there is no going back. I currently burning about 1 1/2 quart every 1000 miles. I tried to simply replace the valve stems but no luck, still burning oil. Removing the engine on the tC requires the sub frame to be dropped, so I'm just going to run till she dies. All and all this is still a good car and when properly taken care of, will last you years and years."
Cons: "for the 2007 model, side and curtain airbags were not standard."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Honestly, this car is everything it should be... and then some. Since I was 16 to now 21 I have owned 6 cars and this one has been by far the best one I have ever owned. Not only are the looks simply amazing but the moment you step inside you will appreciate the detail that went into the entire car. The interior is wonderfully designed, very easy touch controls for the a/c unit and the fact that I can control my iPhone from the deck is awesome. My particular model has fog lights and custom LED tail lights that were bought at the dealership from day one. The panoramic sunroof is by far my favorite feature for this car. It really brings to life the sporty and elegant feel when your driving along the road. The engine is super quiet and powerful enough to get the job done. With the windows up and the sunroof closed, road noise is at a minimum. I have not heard one complaint from owners of this car. A very solid feel and built quietly. Scion/Toyota really hit the nail with the hammer on this one. I still get looks in my Tc and its 4 years old. I plan on keeping this car for a while as it is everything i have been looking for in a car and more. I would definitely recommend it to everyone as it not only captures the eyes of the young people but older generations as well. I hope this review finds you well, have fun with your TC's everyone! =]"
"I have owned this car since I bought it used with 30K miles. I LOVE this car, it now has almost 200,000 miles and has never once left me stranded or broken down on the side of the road. Before owning this car I drove a big pickup but had to give it up because of gas prices. I loved it from the start. When I first bought it, if you stepped on the gas it would literally make your head head the headrest. I love the sunroof. I have made many long journeys in this car and it has been a great, reliable car. The brakes are a bit finicky BUT if you stick to genuine Toyota parts or OEM standard parts you will be OK. This car definitely does not like cheap replacement parts, haha. Even now with 195k miles, I cam still pass newer cars going up a mountain with no problem. Drives like a dream on the freeway and it so much fun to drive, even in traffic. This car is an excellent example of Toyota's legendary reliability!"
Pros: "fun to drive, fun to modify overall just a fun car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had my scion tC for a few years now and til this day I still get excited when I get behind the wheel of my tC. The car's bucket seats are comfortable, and the car itself is so compact, I definitely love the dual moon/sun roof, its perfect for driving with all my windows opened during the summer, its a great cruise car, fun to modify and very easy to modify, I've replaced my 07 tail lights with the unlimited scion tyc tail lights and swapped the baged grills to de-badged grills, I love this car, its fun, and if you're creative theres so much you can do with the tC, I've seen it done. Also I find that the tC has a very unique look, which I like a lot. I've had a few maintenance done to the car since I've had it but nothing major, it's a car so there will be minor fixes and replacements here and there, I love the small back seat windows, as well as the hatch coupe style of the car, I wasn't a big fan of the long antenna so I replaced mine with a s2k 7inch antenna, which works perfectly. The think I love most about the tC is its very easy to customize it to whatever look you want, although I'm not a big fan of the 2nd generation, there isn't much you can do with those. Over all the scion tC is a great car, fun to work with, fun to drive I'd recommend it for anyone whose on a budget when purchasing a car and for anyone who likes to customize cars."
"The only, ONLY reason I need to trade in this car is because it's a stick shift and the amount of hill driving I'll be doing for my new job would turn into a nightmare. I purchased this car for my husband, then took it as my own 5 years later when I traded in my other care for his new SUV. I was ECSTATIC to get this car as a hand me down and for it to become my daily driver. It is the first car I owned past making payments and I'm going to miss it something terribly. Maybe I'll sell it to my brother instead of trading it in for something else, he drove it once and fell it love with it. He's a mechanic, so I'd guess that's a standing ovation.
There are very few downsides to this car and I'm sure they all just come from age, most of them.
1) The back panel cover for the hatch release came loose and occasionally I have to stick it back in place.
2) After years of heavy use I need to trigger the hatch release twice before the hatch door can be opened. This happened before the paneling became loose and likely caused it by me pulling up on the hatch door before it's latch was fully released.
3) Pulling up the emergency brake can he heard though the stereo, it causes feedback through the speakers. Only when it's actually being engaged/disengaged, not the whole time it's on. I've only noticed it when I have the stereo on AUX input. The AUX jack is inside the center console behind the eBrake so I'm guessing that over time a barrier between the two has become flabby.
4) The center console light has malfunctioned and turns off when I turn on my headlights. The dealership said this was a common glitch and offered to fix it (for a price). The car was out of warranty when this happened and it wasn't worth spending what it would cost to replace."
"I bought my TC with 11 miles on it in September of 2005 and now (03/28/2013) I have 186,000 miles on it and have not once taken it to the shop for any repairs other than replacing tires. Mind you, I am not that good with being on time with maintenance, even once pushing 5,000 miles OVER the 5,000 miles for oil change mark. I absolutely love my car and will buy newer models from now on. Til this day, I keep getting compliments from strangers for my car. :)"
"My wife and i bought this car when it was 2 years old. It had 30 thousand miles on it then and since we have put 100 thousand on it. Car still runs great doesnt use oil, love the sportiness with the fuel mileage, which is about 31 hwy. I have a big truck so my wife drives it since i drive over 100 miles a day to work and she drives 20. We both love this car. Do wish it had more head room. I am 6 flat and I have problems getting in but once I am in plenty of room. More insulation in the rear underneath the cargo area would be great too since the toyota racing exhaust does get loud inside the cabin. The back seat is great but hard to get into and hard to put a car seat in"