By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/8/2011
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.
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
The 2011 Scion tC starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $19,000 when equipped with the manual transmission and $20,000 with the automatic. Both the Kia Forte Koup and the Honda Civic coupe have lower starting prices, but they don't have as much standard equipment as the tC. Before beginning your shopping trip, be sure and check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for a tC. Scion has always held strong residual values in the past, and we expect this new version of the tC to follow suit.