In the world of inexpensive, stylish coupes that appeal to young drivers, the Scion tC has been a staple. It's easy to see why, because it offers that combination of affordability, good value and curb appeal that isn't often a given with inexpensive cars. Plus, Scion's long list of dealer-installed personalization accessories means it's possible to make a tC unlike anyone else's.
The tC comes well equipped and Scion doesn't offer any factory options, but instead, a list of accessories available from Scion dealerships. The tC is available in a standard base car and the special edition Release Series 8.0 that's more of an appearance package. But all models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower with a standard six-speed manual transmission, though a six-speed automatic transmission is also available.
Cars get power windows, locks with remote keyless entry, power mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control, a full-length panoramic sunroof, split-folding rear seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels and an 8-speaker audio system with HD radio and Bluetooth streaming audio and a USB input. The Release Series 8.0 adds special alloy wheels with a lower ride height, paddle shifters on automatic cars and a body kit. Dealer-installed options include front fog lights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cargo cover, anti-theft system and satellite radio.
Scion's own FR-S coupe is much more sporting to drive than the tC, thanks to more horsepower and a rear-wheel drive setup, but it's more expensive and the rear seats are useless compared to the tC's. The Kia Forte Koup also has stylish looks and comes extremely well equipped with superior fuel economy, but its base engine isn't as strong. The Hyundai Elantra Coupe is spacious inside and fuel efficient with better interior quality, but its engine lacks power compared to the tC and has a softer suspension. The Honda Civic Coupe is fuel efficient and offers features like satellite navigation, but interior fit and finish isn't great.