By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.3
Although the boxy xB may be the Scion most people recognize on the street, it's the tC that has been the brand's bread-and-butter car since its introduction in 2005, with over 40-percent of all sales going to the coupe. The 2011 Scion tC compact hatchback is an urban alternative to the Honda Civic coupe and Kia Forte Koup, offering more flash for less overall cash and a no-hassle, no-haggle dealership experience. If you've been looking for an economical coupe with a unique look and a long list of available extras, the 2011 Scion tC may be up your alley.
If you're looking for a feature-packed compact coupe with a dose of attitude, you can't get more in-your-face in this segment than the 2011 Scion tC. With plenty of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) accessories readily available and a powerful base audio system, this coupe begs to be seen and heard.
More standard features on the 2011 Scion tC translates to a higher base price, so if you can do without the 300-watt base sound system (or the in-your-face styling), the Kia Forte Koup or the Honda Civic coupe might be better for you.
The 2011 Scion tC is bolder and louder than the previous generation, thanks to more aggressive styling, a larger, more powerful engine and a 300-watt base sound system. If the last tC was more of a wallflower in the Scion lineup, this generation wants to be seen and heard.
Driving Impressions Thanks to a stiffer suspension, 18-inch wheels and a sport-tuned exhaust, the 2011 Scion tC is a more lively ride around town than the previous generation. The 6-speed manual transmission's...clutch is light – making it pleasant enough for daily commuting – and shifts are precise. The automatic downshifts nicely, although upshifts seemed to take a little more time. There is a considerable amount of road and wind noise – especially on the highway and in the rear seat – so the base 300-watt sound system comes in handy as a way to cancel out the external noise.
300-watt standard Pioneer stereo with eight speakers
A 300-watt base sound system with eight speakers? In a car that starts under $19,000? Music to our ears.
The last-generation tC was a bit of a wallflower when it came to design, but the newest tC takes a much bolder approach, finally fitting in to the unique overall look of the Scion brand.
The interior of the 2011 Scion tC is far more spacious than its compact dimensions imply. A tilting/telescoping steering wheel with a flat, "race-car-inspired" bottom allows for extra thigh room. Those relegated to the back seat should be pleased by the amount of shoulder and leg room and, just as in the previous tC, the seatbacks recline up to 10 degrees to make sitting under the glass hatch more comfortable. The seats themselves in the new tC are also thicker (with a 6-way-adjustable driver's seat) and more bolstered, outfitted in a fabric designed to look slightly different in every vehicle.
Compared to its distinctive-looking xB sibling, the last-generation tC wasn't exactly a major style statement in the Scion lineup. But the new 2011 tC takes things in a bolder direction. It's more angular in looks, and its blacked-out A-pillars give the vehicle's greenhouse a helmet-like look from the side. While it's not much larger than the outgoing model, the new tC sports a wider, lower stance, a more prominent grille and a panoramic moonroof.
Scion is all about urban street appeal, so it's no surprise that the tC rolls on 18-inch wheels and its standard audio system in the 2011 tC is a 300-watt, 8-speaker Pioneer stereo system with iPod connectivity. Scion borrowed some of the speaker components found in the much more expensive Lexus LX 570 SUV and tuned them for the tC, resulting in the front doors sporting a low-range woofer, mid-range squawker, and high-range tweeter. Each tC comes equipped with Toyota's Star Safety System, which includes eight airbags, stability/traction controls, and active front head rests.
If 300 watts of speaker power isn't enough to rock your world, the 2011 Scion tC also offers an optional sound system with a color touchscreen, HD Radio, Media Expander (to improve compressed audio sound) and front and rear RCA inputs. An optional navigation system includes a 7-inch screen that also allows for HD Radio song tagging and Bluetooth Streaming Audio. If it's what's on the outside that counts in your books, 19-inch wheels are also available.
The 2011 Scion tC has a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. With either transmission the tC is EPA-rated at 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway, so the transmission choice is based on driving preference, not fuel economy.
180 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
173 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31
By libby (PA) on Monday, November 18, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "SO fun to drive. Sun roof is ideal since car is sm"
Cons: "mp3 player (not an Apple) didn't trnsmit thru syst"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"low maintenance. Just oil changes and tires. no mechanical issues. Only desire is for speed and a trunk/ hatch cover (for stuff in the trunk.)"
By Hogs (PA) on Friday, October 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling is amazing for a FWD car!"
Cons: "No rear wiper, needs 2nd power outlet."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have about 2000 miles on my new 2014 Scion tC manual transmission and here are some of my impressions: For 2014 Scion made several changes to the tC: New front and rear bodywork (Looks good to me, although a departure from the previous look, it looks more like the FR-S now) Upgraded steering and suspension improvements have made this car handle amazingly well for a FWD car. Stereo is touchscreen now (I actually prefer non touch screen but this is where the industry is going) The sound is very clear and strong from the Pioneer stereo. The engine is Camry reliable, in fact CR rated Scion as the most reliable brand made. Gas mpg so far after 2 months is 28.0 mpg average in mix city/highway frequently with the a/c or defrost on (defrost runs the a/c compressor). Mpg should continue to increase as the engine gets broken in, and it runs on regular gas. The manual transmission shifts easily with crisp engagement from gear to gear, throws are a bit long but not bad. We just had days of endless rain here and this thing sticks to the road even on rain soaked roads/I was flying around corners and turns and it never lost grip. The new 18 inch wheels look great and hide brake dust as they are partially black. The interior is very roomy, can seat 4 large adults with room to spare and the hatchback is HUGE, I can easily carry all my work gear with me (I carry a ton of boxes and supplies for work). The interior plastic on doors seems cheap and can scuff easily, but scuffs wipe away with a damp rag. Seats are very supportive/comfy and hold you well while you are cornering hard. Sunroof is a nice touch as is the rear roof glass. I wish it had a rear wiper for rain and snow. I have owned well over 2 dozen cars in my lifetime, this car seems like it would last long and be reliable. The engine has 179 horsepower and 172 ft lbs of torque, the torque is actually much higher than the FR-S and you can feel it in every gear, this car pulls strong when accelerating. 0-60 time is rated as anywhere from 6.9 seconds to 7.4 seconds depending on which car magazine/reviewer you read. I wish it had a 2nd power outlet. Overall I am very content so far with my purchase, this is the best handling front wheel car I have ever owned. $4 grand less expensive than a Civic Si, Civics really have a case of the "uglies" the last few years. Scion Tc is a looker! It is amazing in blue!"
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Chris (CA) on Thursday, September 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Bang for your Buck, Sporty but still Practical"
Cons: "No head room for Rear Passengers, heavy doors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I Bought my 2011 Scion TC in the beginning of August and after doing a lot of homework on what was available on the market I was sold as soon I took it for a test drive. If you are looking for the fun of a sports car with a tight budget or don't wanna make a lot of compromises that some sports cars force you to do, then the second generation TC is an excellent choice. The TC looks fantastic and nothing like a hatchback. Every time I open the hatch my friends are blown away by the amount of storage space the TC can accommodate. It's Great for college students hauling their stuff from home and to the dorm rooms every year. The 2.5 liter 6 speed 4 cylinder automatic isn't really pretty to look at under the hood as the engine wasn't given a cover, but in terms of reliability and performance you cannot beat it for the price. Driving long distances on the highway you will get over 31 MPG with the ECO setting that can be turned off and on from the gauge control's and it includes a AVG MPG display so you can track your fuel consumption. Where the TC impressed me is that if you also want a car that has emotion and feeling in the steering wheel it will impress you. We all like gas mileage and efficiency, but sometimes you just wanna have some fun behind the wheel! The Tectonic shiftier does take some getting used to but with some practice the car can really preform. On a "closed course" I managed to get up to 125 mph in the 5th gear before I had to slow down. Acceleration is great you can feel the pickup every time you press on the pedal makes blowing past those annoying semi's easy. Handling does take some getting used too while the car has great stability and grips the road sometimes the car feels a little heavy or stiff in the turns, but if you turn off the traction control it does help in those fun mountain roads. The interior is made of some kind of plastic and while it isn't the most pleasant thing to touch that doesn't really take away from the styling and the other features of the interior. The glove box sits high enough that it can be easily accessed while driving if needed and it won't hit your passenger in the knees when you open it. The Tc can sit 4 people comfortably, just make sure the rear passages are not too tall because head room isn't that great in the back, but there is plenty of leg room. Getting in and out of the TC is difficult sometimes especially for the rear passengers, because the doors are heavy and while the front driver and passenger seats do a great job at making you feel comfortable while driving they do have a tendency to get in the way at times and The front Seat belts are placed in an awkward positions making them hard to grab. The Sound system is a 300 watt Pioneer sound system and it works great. Comes with both a USB and AUX jack and you can access your Mp3 library from the stereo itself. You can play anything from Classical to Dub-step and it will sound great, but the plastic material of the interior means you are going to get a little rattling if you play your music loud like I do. Dynomat your doors if it bothers you. Air Condition works great, the Large sun roof is also a nice touch opens the car up on those beautiful days in the summer. If you like to do aftermarket upgrades the TC is one of the easiest cars to work on yourself. I added fog lights after I bought the car and they went in effortlessly. Overall its a great buy for someone who wants the thrill of a sports car but still wants to use it as a daily driver."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Matt (NC) on Friday, August 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Highest Residual Value, Features, Design"
Cons: "they dont come in pairs haha"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I researched cars for 4 months before deciding on the tC. I do my homework. I read every consumer report on every vehicle along with expert reports on many different websites. It comes down to the tC flat out beating the competition...for a better price...that holds its value better than any other vehicle in its class and beyond. I bought the Release 10 series special edition. Mine is number 2187 of 3500. Best decision of my life. Its design exterior/interior is incredible, driver focused, functional and with tons of flare. Everyone tells me my car is sharp and sexy. The tC also adds the uniqueness of the hatchback with tons of storage! making it the ultimate adventure mobile. It is not loud, it drives so smooth. And all cars take about 4-6000 miles to break in and they do even better! I cant imagine this car getting any better. My advice from the undecisive researher I am, GET THIS CAR.oh and the sounds system....IS WICKED! Bass will knock you out of the car, and sound quality is flawless."
12 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By rrc0112 (GA) on Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty looking"
Cons: "bad road, noise, jerky drive, heavy doors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This was my first new car and I wish I would have done more research. The Scion TC looks sporty and the interior is pretty nice. Unfortunately this is where the "nice" stops. This car has more road noise than I have EVER had with another car. What is the point of having Bluetooth when you can't hear anything if you are driving faster than 45 mph. I have had a 2 door in the past, but never with such heavy doors. The shifting and ride of this car is lacking. Very "jerky" and more noise than performance. Yes this car is affordable and sporty looking, but next time I will go for a better quality car over the price. If you enjoy driving and like having a nice quite good riding car, this is not the car for you."
2 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By GeorgeNFLA (FL) on Sunday, March 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Accelleration, handling, reliability, fuel mileage"
Cons: "Rear seat has no cup holders."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My tC is a 2013 model. It has the manual transmission 6-speed. Ride quality is firm, but not abusive. Enough room for 4 adults comfortably. Fuel mileage is 34 hwy, and only regular fuel is required. Accelleration is very strong, about that of a Civic Si. Handling is very secure, with no body lean at all...a true sport coupe. Fit/finish is very good, typical of a Toyota product. The tC comes loaded with everything you could possible want, including dual sun-roofs. Short trips or long trips, this is a comfortable car with supportive seats and plenty of leg room for all. Reliability is top-notch. This car is an excellent value if you are in the market for a sport coupe."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful