The Scion tC is a compact coupe with sporty looks, good value, and a high level of standard equipment. The tC is more about practicality and fuel economy than sportiness, however. If you want sporty, check out the Scion FR-S.
The 2016 Scion tC is upgraded with a new audio system with a new 7-inch touch screen, a Smart Key with push-button start, and a rear wiper. Otherwise, the tC carries over to model year 2016 largely unchanged. This second-generation Scion tC was introduced as a 2011 model and received a facelift, upgraded suspension and transmission and new touchscreen audio for 2014.
All models are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 179 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic driving the front wheels.
Scion tC earns an EPA-estimated 23/26 mpg City/Highway, or 26 Combined miles per gallon.
The tC comes well-equipped. Its features include steering-wheel audio controls, a sunroof, with HD Radio, Bluetooth, and access to Aha internet radio with a smartphone, plus 18-inch wheels and Vehicle Stability Control.
All 2016 tC models come with eight airbags, active headrests, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control, and Smart Stop Technology. A button allows the driver to switch off the VSC or traction control.
The Scion tC has a bit of attitude. It shows its Toyota roots, but looks like a family alien with its sharp angles, high shoulders, and creased corners. Its rear roofline shows some Nissan GT-R and Chevy Camaro. Its shoveled nose and tail come from the ’80s. It looks more masculine than it is. Perhaps tC stands for Toyota Celica and this Scion is essentially the modern Celica. Scion is a division of Toyota.
Inside, it’s drab with low-end materials, yet nuanced by tube-like gauges and climate controls shaped like M&Ms. It’s snug in front and rear, low headroom everywhere, the sunroof makes it worse. It’s nice that the back seat reclines a bit, and front seat tilts forward easily.
Under the hatch, there’s room for several bags, with deep side bins.
We found the 2.5-liter engine smooth and strong, while delivering adequate performance from its 179 horsepower. The paddle-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission is programmed to downshift with a rev-matching throttle blip.
The Scion tC can zoom from 0 to 60 in a relaxed 8.3 seconds, giving you time enough to yawn. If you want to go fast get the 6-speed manual, and you can hit 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, enough time to stifle a yawn between shifts.
The electric power steering feels good, but the tC lacks a sharp driving feel. The ride is good, and the standard 18-inch wheels and tires don’t make it too harsh. Big four-wheel disc brakes can slow the tC in a hurry.
A handsome and reliable coupe for $20,000. It looks great from the outside and is fun to drive, but the drab interior is disappointing.