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 Paul (MI) 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."
By Gordo (CA) 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
By ben (CA) on Sunday, February 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Powerful, fun to drive, handles well, gas mileage"
Cons: "transmission may need replacing sooner than others"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned my Scion tC for approximately 14 hours, and have fallen in love with it. The car drives superbly. The handling is quick and responsive, the acceleration is powerful and chilling. The car runs smoothly, shifts smoothly, and provides for an excellent ride. I bought the car (2007, 108k miles, salvaged title) for $5500, and so far it seems to be worth every penny. The transmission, which my mechanic told me has about 25% life left, will nee replacing in a year or so. I believe this is common among Scions. Transmission usually needs replacing sooner than some makes and models. My mechanic told me it's about an $800 repair (with the car being FWD, most of that cost is labor). I went ahead and bought the car anyway, and love it so far. Would highly recommend."
By Kinarizona (AZ) on Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice looking car"
Cons: "Seems to me, I've purchased a lemon."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased my 2005 Scion tC in 2012. It had about 97,000 miles on it and looked good overall. Within a few months, the catalytic converter went bad. One week after that, the water pump went out (it sounds like a percolator steroids when it starts going out). Five weeks after that, the clutch had to be replaced and just last week, the alternator. I bought the car for $6400, I have spent over $4300.00 in repair bills and the darn car STILL isn't fixed (or paid for). I've put less than 10,000 miles on it during the less than two years I've owned it. I am, to say the very least, totally disgusted with this vehicle. I cannot afford to get another and actually had to go back to work (after being retired for a year) just to pay the repair bills. I don't know how the previous owner took care of the car, but I know this....I will NEVER purchase a used car again. I'm considering painting 'THIS CAR IS A LEMON" on the hatchback window."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By maditude (CO) on Saturday, February 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,859overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my 2006 scion tc 2 1/2 years ago. I get the oil changed on time and she just keeps chugging along! I have not had ONE issue with this car. This car is reliable, comfortable and definitely fun to drive. The exterior isn't as strong as it could be(dents easily, mirror broke off just by hitting a picket fence at 4 MPH) but it's worth how reliable everything else is."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By MommaD (TN) on Tuesday, January 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive/ Great price with options"
Cons: "Fuel system may be a flaw on this one."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Just bought my 2008 TC with 45k! She runs great. A little issue with the fuel cap making the check engine light come on. I hear this problem is common for the 08'. Hoping she is going to be great little car. I'll keep everyone posted!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful