By KBB.com Editors
The 2010 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 value–-it has become the poster child for the lucrative aftermarket parts and customization business. Though not as space-efficient as the xD or xB, the tC can comfortably fit two adults and its versatile hatch design makes it easy to carry 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, attracting young buyers who may likely move up to Toyota and Lexus brands as they grow older.
If you were a long-time fan of Toyota's discontinued Celica, 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 coupe.
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 hip – and colorful at night. Drivers taller than six feet may feel cramped behind the wheel.
The Scion tC sees no major changes for 2010.
Driving Impressions 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 and creating a large cargo hold; the front passenger seat also folds, allowing longer items such as surfboards to be stowed with the rear hatch closed.
The standard iPod connector allows you to control your iPod via the radio or steering wheel controls. 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. 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 optional Pioneer upgraded head unit includes rear audio outputs, which allow for easy installation of an aftermarket amplifier. The front seats are properly supportive, with nice side bolsters and new fabrics.Exterior
The tC exterior is handsome, but not revolutionary. From the front, the tC vaguely resembles a coupe version of Volvo's 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 tC has a 161-horsepower 2.4-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), rear defroster, power door locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, tire-pressure monitoring system, auto-off halogen headlamps, dual power mirrors, power panorama moonroof, AM/FM stereo with CD/MP3 and iPod connectivity, front and rear side-curtain airbags, driver and front passenger airbags, a first aid kit, driver's knee airbag, cruise control, tilt wheel with audio touch controls and alloy wheels.
Options include a four-speed automatic transmission, carbon fiber dash applique, ground effects kit, fog lights, Pioneer Premium audio, high-performance engine and suspension components, under-dash interior light kit, navigation system and a host of dealer-installed options.
Like the 2010 xB, the tC receives 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 @ 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 21/29 (automatic)
By Luxer on Thursday, April 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, Maintenance Free, Fun, Sporty"
Cons: "Minor Rattles"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been a great car, purchased it brand new back in 2004 and its still runs like the day I drove it off the lot. Minus a couple squeaks and rattles (normal for 10 yr old vehicle) this is a diehard, reliable vehicle. Starts every day and has NEVER had any type of mechanical issue. Put the right tires on and this beast will blaze through snow covered roads! Hearing about issues other car owners go through with their cars, I consider myself lucky to own a vehicle like this. Because of that, I may never sell it."
By driver on Thursday, April 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "awesome to drive"
Cons: "safety not so great"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"LOVED driving this car but was recently in a minor accident with it and the body didn't hold up very well. Will definitely miss that car."
By Jeff on Wednesday, April 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, easy to work on, very reliable"
Cons: "rattles, rattles rattles."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this vehicle the last 55,000 miles and love it! The only thing outside of routine maintenance I have had to do is replace the waterpump. That costed me $60 dollars and an hour or two in the garage with a friend. Other than that this vehicle has been dead reliable and runs great all the time every time. Never had an issue starting, never had any sensors go bad, nothing. The interior isn't the best. It tends to shake and rattle, but after a few weeks driving you don't really notice it. This car is great for someone who likes to do custom work to it. I put in a subwoofer and sound system in my tc and it took me no time at all to put it in. They designed this car with simplicity in mind. All the panels come off easy, all parts that need to be accessed for maintenance are easy to get to. Working on it is simple as can be. The rear seat is really roomy too if you put down the back seats. I can fit my 125 pitbike (kids dirtbike) back there no problem. One last thing to mention is that the fuel mileage (MPG's) that the car is rated for it not true. The car gets much better gas mileage than what it says on here. I drive pretty quick and average 27mpgs for most tanks. I have gotten up to 32mpgs out of a tank fully loaded down on the interstate."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By James L. on Friday, March 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, well built-solid feel, made in Japan."
Cons: "Visability. You need to check your blind spots."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Fun to drive and with the standard features feels like a more expensive car than it is. Very solid feeling platform with good handling and pick up. Sounds aggressive as the rpms increase."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Paul on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 315,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car for a great price."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Before I bought the tC I checked out the Civic, Focus, Neon, Cobalt, Sentra, and a few others. I ended up liking the standard options of the tC as well as the looks the best. I bought this car with 1 mile on it and other than being in two accidents this car hasn't had any issues. When it comes time to get a new car, it will be another Scion tC."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Gordo on Sunday, February 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, great reliability, great look, fun."
Cons: "Rear latch for hatch not firmly attached."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car after reading reviews and it seemed that others who bought it loved it. I tried it for a day and loved it myself. Very reliable, sporty, spacious for car its size, and a very good investment. No maintenance issues at all. Rarely wants oil. A good drive. Rear latch to open hatchback is not designed well and tends to break with extended use (cost me $50 to have dealership fix) but no other problems."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful