This will be the last time we ever do a Scion tC review. It’s going away as a Scion forever and will have a Toyota badge the next time we see it. Of course, Scion is made by Toyota Motor Company, but the brand has been axed by the Japanese automaker and 2017 Scions will be rebadged under the Toyota banner beginning in August. The niche market of youth-oriented vehicles is seeing decreased sales each year. Toyota decided to pull the plug on the brand and transition the cars into their lineup.
Should you shy away from buying a Scion?
Scion will still be serviced by Toyota dealers and you don’t need to worry about any Scion cars being abandoned by their parent company. They are still a good car for first-time car buyers and needed a new focus going forward. Take a look at the tC and you’ll find it’s a good value for the money.
What’s New For 2016?
The 2016 Scion tC gets a new 7-inch touchscreen interface as standard, plus keyless entry and ignition, a rear windshield wiper, and minor interior trim upgrades. Otherwise, the tC (touring Coupe) carries over to model year 2016 largely unchanged.
Features & Options
Only one Scion tC trim is offered ($19,385) and it comes with standard features like 18-inch alloy wheels, LED front accent lamps, folding side mirrors with LED turn indicators, keyless entry and ignition, a panoramic sunroof with dual manual sunshades, a six-way adjustable driver seat with height adjustment and one-touch track, and seatback angle memory.
Other features inside include a leather-wrapped shift knob and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, silver interior accents, reclining and folding 60/40-split rear seatbacks, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen display, voice controls, an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with HD radio, Aha smartphone-app integration, an auxiliary audio jack, and a USB port.
Total MSRP including destination: $20,180.
tC gets simple interior trim and materials, but what do you expect from a hatchback priced right at $20,000? The silver trim works with the hard plastic materials used throughout the cabin. The sporty front cloth seats offered good side bolstering for our more spirited driving over the weekend.
The controls are simple and well laid out. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel along with the front and back sunroof are nice touches for this price point.
Scion engineers were thinking when they put black striping on the rear window to keep the sun off rear passengers.
The back seat will actually fit two average size adults. If you need cargo carrying ability, the 60/40 folding rear seats fold nearly flat opening up to 34.5 cubic feet of cargo space. With the seats up, tC has 14.7 cubic feet of cargo room for less bulky items. The rear hatch offers lots of utility.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
Scion tC is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 179 horsepower and 173 lb. ft of torque. It comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic driving the front wheels. We test drove the 6-speed manual over the weekend.
Scion tC gets an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg city/highway and 26 combined with the manual transmission.
If you like to drive, get the 6-speed manual. It’s smooth, has fairly short gear changes, and ramps up the fun-to-drive meter considerably. We had fun powering around tight mountain curves and pushing the tC to see how it would respond. It’s not as sporty as it’s rear-drive stablemate, the Scion FR-S, but it holds its own for a 3-Door hatchback.
The 6-speed manual will hit 60 mph in 7.6 seconds between stop lights. Not too bad for a small four-cylinder!
The electric power steering feels good, but the tC lacks truly sharp driving dynamics. The ride is good, however, and the standard 18-inch wheels and tires weren’t too harsh on the dirt roads leading to our mountain house.
On the road, the tC felt balanced with fairly precise steering. The car is mid-range on the fun-to-drive meter making for some respectable enjoyment overall. In the city, tC is easy to maneuver and park in tight spots. We would have liked a rear view camera, but it’s not available. The hatchback can be a bit noisy when pushed hard with some tire and exhaust noise creeping into the cabin. The four-wheel disc brakes can slow the tC in a hurry, however.
The Scion tC is sporty looking on the outside and has enough features inside to make it an interesting choice. It offers the utility of a hatchback, can seat two adults in the rear, and offers a sporty feel for driving enthusiasts if you get the six-speed manual. It’s an affordable, fuel-efficient, 3-Door Coupe that’s a good choice for city commuters.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy
*Video provided by Sherwood Park Toyota, 31 Automall Road, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 0C7, Canada
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