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2013 Scion tC

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2013 Scion tC Review

By

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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 63 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

The best vehicle for the price.

By on Thursday, September 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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."

8 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Good performance, good looks

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

28 people out of 42 found this review helpful

Good performance, good looks

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Good performance, good looks

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

No Complaints!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: End of Lease

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I just traded in my 2011 Scion tC back to the dealership due to my lease ending, and my need to go from a 2-door to a 4-door. If I was still able to keep a 2-door car, I would have bought this car once my lease ended. I had it for 3 years, and I cannot think of a complaint about it. It is fun to drive, had no mechanical issues at all, and was a pleasure to lease. The exterior design is a great upgrade from 2010, especially the 18" wheels. The interior is more spacious than you would originally think too. Plenty of leg room in the front and back seats, and a good amount of cargo space with the seats folded down (fit a +6' Christmas tree multiple years). The USB/iPod connectivity is great (although more common in other vehicles now in 2014), and the Pioneer sound system is excellent. The fuel mileage is as advertised. I got down around 23/24 mpg city in the snow with winter tires on, and as high as 35 mpg on a day trip going mostly highway. The seats are comfortable; not the most comfortable but definitely above average. The interior material seemed a little on the cheap side and the MSRP seemed like it could of been a little cheaper in 2011, but those are the only negatives I can think of. It was overall fun to drive and an extremely reliable car over the 3 years I leased it."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

No Complaints!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: End of Lease

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I just traded in my 2011 Scion tC back to the dealership due to my lease ending, and my need to go from a 2-door to a 4-door. If I was still able to keep a 2-door car, I would have bought this car once my lease ended. I had it for 3 years, and I cannot think of a complaint about it. It is fun to drive, had no mechanical issues at all, and was a pleasure to lease. The exterior design is a great upgrade from 2010, especially the 18" wheels. The interior is more spacious than you would originally think too. Plenty of leg room in the front and back seats, and a good amount of cargo space with the seats folded down (fit a +6' Christmas tree multiple years). The USB/iPod connectivity is great (although more common in other vehicles now in 2014), and the Pioneer sound system is excellent. The fuel mileage is as advertised. I got down around 23/24 mpg city in the snow with winter tires on, and as high as 35 mpg on a day trip going mostly highway. The seats are comfortable; not the most comfortable but definitely above average. The interior material seemed a little on the cheap side and the MSRP seemed like it could of been a little cheaper in 2011, but those are the only negatives I can think of. It was overall fun to drive and an extremely reliable car over the 3 years I leased it."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?