KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
The Scion tC has proven to be everything its competitors feared. Smartly styled, fuel-efficient and a blast to drive, the little tC is more than just a good valueit has become the poster child for the lucrative aftermarket parts and customization crowd. Though not as space-efficient as the xA or xB, the tC can comfortably fit two adults and its versatile hatch design makes it easy to load in sports equipment or overnight gear. A near-flawless repair history and excellent resale value are but part of the tC's early success stories. By holding the tC's price well below $18,000, Scion has grabbed a substantial chunk of the all-important youth market, grabbing young buyers who may likely move up to Toyota and Lexus brands as they grow older.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you've been a long-time fan of Toyota's now defunct Celica coupe, you'll like what Scion has done with the tC. Its robust power, long list of standard equipment and low base price are exactly what young consumers are looking for in a fuel-efficient sports car.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The tC is long on style, but short on rear-seat headroom. At a certain age, you might think the interior is a little too hipand colorful at night. Drivers taller than six feet may feel cramped behind the wheel.
What's Significant About This Car?
The big news for 2007 is the introduction of the bare-bones Scion tC SPEC Package. Designed specifically for the tuner who wants a "clean slate," the SPEC Package includes steel-rimmed wheels with wheel covers, unique front-end treatments and a lower base price.
The tC has inherited much from its Toyota and Lexus heritage. The 2.4-liter engine sings sweetly, with plenty of pulling power, and the five-speed manual delivers crisp, short shifts. Handling and braking are also well above average, making the tC a very fun car indeed. Front-seat passengers enjoy ample head and legroom, but the rear passengers will have to stoop if they're over six feet tall. The rear area is better utilized by folding down the seats, creating a large cargo hold; the front seat also folds flat, allowing longer items such as surfboards to be stowed with the rear hatch closed.
The optional iPod connector allows you to control your iPod via the radio. The system is hidden beneath the center console armrest and continually supplies power to the iPod.
LED Interior Light Package
The optional LED interior light package fills the foot wells with neat blue lighting.
The tC's interior is Lexus-like in its execution. Fit and finish are flawless, right down to the seamless dash-mounted airbag. New for 2007 are the addition of sun visor extensions and a tire-pressure monitoring system. The instrument cluster is neatly arranged into three separate circular housings, and the center stack is covered with a silver finish. A large aluminum knob is used to control the climate system, and above it resides a Pioneer CD/MP3 player hidden behind a flip-up panel. The front seats are properly supportive, with nice side bolsters and new fabrics. The placement of the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals, however, is unusually close.
The tC exterior is handsome, but not revolutionary. From the front, the tC resembles a coupe version of Volvo's new S40, with a set of lighted eyebrows borrowed from BMW. Around back, the sleek hatch and side windows look a bit like an Acura. A unique item is the massive panorama moonroof included as standard equipment on every car. The new SPEC Package removes the sporty wheels and rear spoiler, but offers a number of front end treatment options to please the most demanding tuner.
Notable Standard Equipment
The tC has a 161-horsepower 2.4-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, rear defroster, power door locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, tire-pressure monitoring system, power hatch release, automatic halogen headlamps, dual power mirrors, power panorama moonroof, AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3, left-side knee airbag, cruise control, tilt wheel with audio touch controls and alloy wheels.
Notable Optional Equipment
Options include a four-speed automatic transmission, stainless steel exhaust, carbon fiber trim, ground effects kit, under-dash interior light kit, six-disc CD changer, Bazooka subwoofer, front-side and side-curtain airbags and a host of dealer-installed options.
Under the Hood
Unlike the xA and xB, the tC gets a big dose of power in the form of a 16-valve 2.4-liter engine. The tC is not as quick as some of its turbocharged rivals, but most people should be pleased with the car's combination of good acceleration and great gas mileage.
2.4-liter in-line 4
161 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
163 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 (manual), 23/31 (automatic)
The tC is very well equipped and still has a base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $16,940. The no-frills SPEC package is $15,540. Add in fog lights, side-impact airbags, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a rear spoiler and the price stays just below $20,000. The tC is a hot commodity and a look at the Fair Purchase Price shows the typical transaction price to be at or slightly above MSRP. The pain of paying closer to retail than dealer invoice for the tC is somewhat soothed by the car's excellent resale value. Over a four-year period, Kelley Blue Book expects the tC to retain one of the highest resale values in its class.