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 Cooper on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty, Fun to drive, Pretty Quick For A 4Cylinder"
Cons: "No Leather, No Auto Lights/Seats, No Seat Heaters."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I wanted this vehicle because I liked the "sporty" look it had. But once I got into the vehicle.....it didn't have anything that made me fall in love with it. It looked the same inside as every other one. I was trading in my 07 Jetta, and going from a vehicle that had leather seats, seat heaters, electric seats, automatic headlights, it just wasn't a very good trade. The tC is a nice car don't get me wrong, but it wasn't what I was expecting when I walked into the dealership to do the trade. It's a great teen car, but being 26 years old, I don't feel like I should be driving it.If I could, I would go back to a Jetta in a heartbeat."
11 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Chas on Saturday, November 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun and sporty"
Cons: "Plastic cheap interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Too much plastic in interior. Sunroof cover is a joke come on Toyota you can do better! Great looking sporty car so far no issues."
14 people out of 32 found this review helpful
By kyle94 on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, fun to drive, sporty, big sunroof, mpg"
Cons: "no automatic lights, stock tires don't last long,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I had a 2011 tC that I foolishly got rid of for a Fusion. I missed the gas mileage and sportiness of the tC."
9 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Shreinersz on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "quality and safety features"
Cons: "not enough power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Nice car rides nice has given me no problems. The interior could use a face lift use nicer materials. It has good pick up for a 4 cylinder however I think they would sell alot more of these cars if they put a 6 cylinder in them. I would say it needs a larger engine such a sleek head turning sporty looking car but not enough performance to match."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By dlhawk on Thursday, September 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Best price for a sporty fun to drive coupe!"
Cons: "interior colors are limited"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It has been very reliable and the vehicle is loaded with lots of equipment for what you will get for the price of others in the same class. The reliability of this tc I can say is the best I have seen. It also provides more leg room & head room in its class. Sporty, and fun to drive! You definitely get more for the buck! I'm completely happy with my Scion tC and I plan to trade up to the 2015 tC."
13 people out of 27 found this review helpful
By Ty on Friday, April 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, steering, acceleration, reliable"
Cons: "Terrible paint quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I purchased my 2014 tC in black back in August. This car is very fun to drive aggressively, or just taking it on a cruise. I had this car for about 8 months now and enjoy driving it everyday. The car is perfect on power for the average person and both transmissions offer great performance. The pioneer system is much better than other companies offer. The interior is very spacious, even for people sitting in the back seat. Nobody can believe how much leg room there is in the back even with the front seats moved back. The seats are comfortable and supportive for longer drives, and they hold you in tight when turning around corners. The only problem I have with the car is the POOR paint quality. My car is black and there are about 5-10 white chips on the hood, and my front bumper's clear coat has about 50 holes in it.I know cars get marked up, but this is just unacceptable for a car that isn't even a year old. I will have to get it repainted when it starts to look worse and get a quality job to avoid this problem in the future."
32 people out of 53 found this review helpful