2016 Scion tC Quick Take
Ever since the Scion FR-S bowed a couple of years ago, it's been the model that has garnered the most headlines for Toyota's youth-oriented brand. But there's another coupe in Scion's stable that still deserves merit: the tC.
The tC has been around far longer than the FR-S, arriving over a decade ago. It is now in its second generation and has the distinction of being the brand's best-selling vehicle, yet still flies under the radar of many buyers. After spending several days in a 2016 Scion tC, my appreciation for this sporty coupe was reaffirmed.
The tC has several great things going for it. First is its liftback design. Instead of having a traditional trunk like the FR-S coupe, the tC's cargo area is large and easily accessed via an upward rising hatch. With the rear seats raised there is 14.7 cubic feet of storage. Lower them and that expands to over 34 cubic feet. When outfitting our new home with a dining room table, chairs, nightstands and more from IKEA, we took the tC. It swallowed everything with ease, and the long cargo space was ideal for transporting the retailer's traditionally long and lean boxes. When not hauling Swedish furniture, the tC's rear seats are surprisingly roomy. And unlike the FR-S that has only a pair of very small perches, the tC can technically accommodate three passengers in back.
Next is the tC's feature content. All models come with a 7-inch touchscreen audio system, panoramic moonroof, 18-inch wheels, push-button ignition and 2 years/25,000 miles of no-cost maintenance. New for 2016 is a rear window wiper/washer -- a feature I appreciated after an out-of-the-blue Southern California rainstorm. Unfortunately, missing in action are options such as heated and power-operated seats and a backup camera.
Finally, there is the tC's price. Starting at just over $20,000, the 2016 Scion tC is a bargain for buyers looking to get into a sporty, versatile coupe. Even outfitted with an automatic transmission, upgraded audio and navigation, our test model came in well below $23,000. Coupled with Scion's record of high reliability and good resale, the value proposition is even higher in the long-run.
The tC isn't perfect. Its engine tends to drone and adds to this coupe's overall cabin noise at speed. And its front-drive layout won't inspire the more tossable fun that can be had in the rear-drive FR-S. But the tC still boasts a good blend of sporty dynamics and everyday comfort, and its 179-horsepower 4-cylinder has good if not exhilarating performance. When it comes to overall practicality -- not to mention dashing style and a starting price of nearly $6,000 below the FR-S -- the tC proves it still has a lot to offer.