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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 85 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Overpriced for a small car.

By on Sunday, June 5, 2016

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Size - Color - Features (GPS-Pioneer radio etc)"

Cons: "Noisey Interior - Dark Interior Color"

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

"I bought this vehicle ~ a month ago. Beautiful exterior color and add-ons. Would have preferred a lighter interior. Spacious interior and cargo space. Overall nice car."

Great young drivers car

By on Friday, May 20, 2016

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "the stereo is unlike an car of its caliber"

Cons: "sun roof is not the best quality."

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

"The car is a great car for a young driver. Great in the city, car is very agile and quick of the start. The coupe hatchback is an unbelievable feature, makes it very easy to move and store things. Over all great car, highly recommend it for an young driver. Not the best MPG."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

I love this car

By on Sunday, March 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "She makes that monthly pmt. easier to look at."

Cons: "none"

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

"I am 58 years old and it makes me feel like a kid again. It is fun to drive and handles every so well. She is a great car to look at and a very fair price. I love the six speed and free two year oil changes. She just had her first oil change after four months. If I had to do it again I wouldn't change a thing, I'd buy it again. I read a lot of reviews when buying or traveling, but I rarely wright one. I love this car."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Safe to say I am in love with the car!

By on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,245

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "EVERYTHING"

Cons: "Nothing that I can think of."

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

"I just recently purchased a 2013 Scion tC, and I have fallen in love immediately! I love the sporty look to it, drives great compared to my last car. The pioneer sound system in amazing! Only issue that I have had is trying to connect to Bluetooth which isn't a big deal to me, I have an aux cord to plug my phone into for music so I'm fine with that! I love the sunroof, and the fact that there is another type of sunroof in the backseat area that doesn't open. It's an amazing car!"

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Scion has once again made a solid sporty car!

By on Monday, December 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "affordable, sporty, plenty of cargo space"

Cons: "interior fabric is cheap"

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

"After having owned previous "sport like" cars, I have noticed that the scion tc has been going in the correct direction. Yes the car is not meant to compete with other turbo 4 cylinder cars. Remember that the scion tc is not leaned toward being fast as it priority. Scion Tc has a balance of great sporty look, and a nice comfortable smooth ride. It does have a 2.5 liter engine from toyota which if you need a nice looking car to get to and from places in the city, this cars engine is more than enough. The torque is there just have it rev and the engine responds especially in the highway. Scion did not focus on the interior cloth, one can tell that its mostly cheap material but the stock car audio system will confirm that the money spent on the car is well worth it. The car steering feels good alongside with decent handling coming from MacPherson strut suspension setup. Toyota could have upgraded the suspension to double wish bone for better stability coming that the car is heavy than average for a 4 cylinder motor. The cars automatic transmission is not the best if not warmed up. The car does require you to start and warm up the engine and transmission in order for it to adequately work. The scion tc does have plenty of cargo space when compared to other 2 door sporty cars."

10 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good price, love the sporty look"

Cons: "Wish it was a little better on gas"

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

"Used to have a Chevy Cruze. I've never hated a car so much in my life. It left me stranded 3 times and what kind of new car already needs a water pump? I've always liked the design of the tC. Bought my tC in March of 2014. With regular maintenance (oil changes, rotating tires) i haven't had any problems. Perfect for work and school. I love driving my car. Handles turns really well too."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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