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2013 Scion tC

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2013 Scion tC Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

Scion is Toyota's youth-oriented division and the tC coupe has historically been its best-selling model. The car's appeal lies in spirited styling, lots of features, surprisingly good audio systems for the price and freedom to personalize the car. Actual over-the-road performance may not live up to everyone's expectations, with modest horsepower and soft suspension, but it's entirely adequate for a city and suburban runabout. As is becoming an annual tradition, the tC gets a special-edition upgrade package, called Release Series 8.0 for 2013, that gives it a stronger personality. With starting prices around $20,000, the 2013 Scion tC offers a lot of style and a good bit of attitude for the money, and seems destined to continue as the Scion clientele's favorite.

You'll Like This Car If...

Scion's attractive pricing combined with Toyota's reputation for dependability makes the 2013 tC coupe compelling for anyone looking for a fun coupe with reasonable amenities. The aftermarket offers a lot for Scion vehicles, allowing for maximum customization on a minimal budget.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Depending on the performance you expect, particularly from a sporty-looking coupe, the 2013 Scion tC may leave you underwhelmed (as past models have). Acceleration, response and handling precision are rather average, and even the Release Series 8.0 package isn't much better.

What's New for 2013

After a major design in 2011, the 2013 Scion tC coupe is little changed in base form but as usual, a new up-level trim, called Release Series 8.0 this year, is added to the line. It's a striking, limited-production (2,000 units) configuration. Available only in Absolutely Red with black trim, 8.0 combines styling touches from Five Axis and performance parts from Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

Driving the tC

Driving Impressions The driving experience has always been the biggest source of debate over the Scion tC, and the 2013 tC coupe is unlikely to settle any arguments. The...

clutch in the 6-speed manual transmission is both light for daily commute convenience and precise for quick shifts. But road manners and chassis feel are uninspiring, with rather vague steering and soft suspension. Low-rpm engine response is quite good but revving out the 2.5-liter four generates only average thrust. Compared to other coupes in its class, it's not nearly as powerful or capable, though for city driving it's probably good enough for most buyers. The Series Release 8.0 package includes firmer, lower springs (and paddle shifters for the automatic) that help a little.

PIONEER SOUND SYSTEM
That such a thorough audio setup is standard on a $20,000 coupe is just flat-out great. The Bluetooth connectivity is easy enough to work with and the sound quality itself is excellent.

BUILD YOUR OWN
Personalization is a consistent Scion theme, and between the factory and the aftermarket, it's easy to make your tC really your tC. There are many forums, groups and clubs dedicated to Scion customization.

2013 Scion tC Details
Interior

The 2013 Scion tC earns its keep with a smart interior that offers exceptional comfort and a convenient control layout. The driver's seat is adjustable enough for all shapes and sizes, and rear-seat passengers will be surprised by the amount of room they actually have. Dials and instrument clusters have a round theme that is pleasant and manages to be Spartan without looking like anything is missing. A 60/40-split folding back seat allows trips to actual supermarkets, not just convenience stores.

Exterior

The 2013 Scion tC, with its more angular roofline and big lower grille, makes a stronger visual statement than the first generation did. Where other, smaller coupes in its class can look excessively what-you-see-is-what-you-get, the tC coupe looks aggressively playful. The tC also looks fast, which has helped turn millions of young eyes to it over the years. The Release Series 8.0's Five Axis body pieces accentuate this, and the Absolutely Red paint color is brilliant.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 Scion tC carries great youth-appeal cred with standard equipment that includes 18-inch wheels and the impressive Pioneer sound system. That sound system is HD Radio capable and you can connect your phone to it, as long as you're running Bluetooth 2.0 or higher. There are two microphones in the ceiling-light array to help facilitate use of the hands-free phone option. Toyota's Star Safety System is also standard and features eight airbags and traction and stability control along with active front headrests.

Optional Equipment

From the factory, 19-inch wheels are available for the 2013 Scion tC, as are a Bespoke audio upgrade, rear spoiler and sportier TRD springs and anti-roll bars. The Release Series 8.0 package includes a body kit from Five Axis, center exhaust with a TRD sport muffler, lower TRD springs and paddle shifters (with the automatic). Aftermarket options for the 2013 Scion tC are as extensive as they are for all other Scion models.

Under the Hood

All Scion tC trim levels carry a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, producing 180 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. Both manual and automatic transmissions are 6-speed units. The automatic downshifts well enough, but upshifts can feel a little lazy. The manual transmission's clutch could be accused of being soft but the bolt-action precision of its shifter largely offsets that concern.

2.5-liter inline-4
180 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
173 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg

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2013 Scion tC Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 76 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Thumbs up

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Compared to other cars this same size I have owned in the past---better than most. Muffler a little noisy, but I think they have marketed this car towards young males. Clutch pedal goes a little too far to the floor, even after it was adjusted."

11 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Awesome vehicle for first time car buyers.

By on Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 643

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Sporty design, Great value, Very fun to drive"

Cons: "No option for leather seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"As a young professional this car is really all I can ask for and more. It handles very nicely, it's fun to drive, and being a hatch back allows for a lot of cargo room."

12 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Cheap, but still NOT worth the money!

By on Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Relatively unexpensive, spacious , nice exterior"

Cons: "cheap interior, sticking gears, bad cruise control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"INTERIOR: very cheap, air conditioner knobs are difficult to turn and feel like they are going to break at any given moment, dash makes a rattling noise that will sometimes stop if the driver presses the break, driver's side floor mats had holes in them within the first month of purchasing the vehicle EXTERIOR: looks nice, no issues ENGINE (automatic): gears stick to the point where the driver needs to let off the gas so that the car will shift to the next gear (applicable to lower and higher gears), cruise control knob needs to be bumped up/down THREE times to change the speed by ONE mile"

3 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Fun and peppy!

By on Friday, June 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great handling and sound system"

Cons: "I am questioning the durability of the paint"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Have had this for two months now and love it. I have the 6 speed manual and it is great. You can have fun off the line by turning off the traction "nanny" with the touch of a button. Corners are fun when come from 100+ mph into tight off ramps. Performance really happens in the 4-6000rmp range. Only draw back is that is is a little sluggish in the 2-4000rmp range. Speakers and interior are wonderful with controls on the steering wheel. With bluetooth for my Pandora off my phone I really don't miss passing up the Bespoke Audio. *Only major issue* The paint is not very durable to small pebbles and such. I did not get the optional front applique and wish I had. I have noticed many small chips in the paint where a very small rock was kicked out of a tire. I would recommend getting the applique for the front bumper and hood."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

love it

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "sun roof, fun to drive, good on gas, comfortable,"

Cons: "no automatic lights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought the car brand new back in August--love at first sight! I was a little cautious about it only having the 4cyl engine (my last vehicle was a v6), but don't let the engine size fool you-it will get up and go! It's a very smooth riding and spacious car...YES, I said spacious! I love the panorama roof-might be my favorite thing about the car. I was thinking of upgrading the standard audio system before I actually purchased the car, but the standard system works great-very good quality music. I love that the tC is a hatchback, so trunk space is not an issue like a regular car. It gets good gas, steering wheel audio controls are amazing, and just overall perfect! I'm very happy with it!"

14 people out of 23 found this review helpful

sometimes fun to drive, very practical, reliable

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "price, good driver, plenty of cargo room, reliable"

Cons: "no rear wiper, no lumbar support"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"good enough power, sure stance, good in long drives (700 miles), with proper tires good in snow, dependable"

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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