First launched back in 2005, and reworked six years later, the tC sport coupe has been Scion’s top-selling model. Boldly stylish and driver-oriented, the compact five-seater is built on a simple front-drive platform. While falling short of authentic sports-car status, its 179-horsepower engine provides a satisfying road experience coupled with appealing fuel economy, helped by relatively light weight.
What's New for 2016
A new audio system features a Pioneer seven-inch touchscreen display and voice recognition, with Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and streaming audio. An Aha app offers access to some 100,000 internet radio stations. Also new for 2016 are a Smart Key with pushbutton start, rear wiper, center console tray cover, and leather-wrapped shift knob.
Choosing Your Scion tC
Like other Scions, there’s little choice of trim levels. Just one, actually, plus a limited-edition Release Series. Buyers are encouraged to customize their tC sport coupes to suit their personal tastes, using available accessories.
All tC coupes hold a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 179 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 172 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while the optional six-speed automatic transmission includes paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management.
Aiming at fun and efficiency more than performance and precise handling, the tC is priced reasonably for this category. Besides, it’s refreshing to have no complicated trim levels to choose from. As usual, however, adding options (especially those TRD extras) can raise the cost considerably. A fully loaded tC with automatic could top $30,000. Unless you’re a dedicated manual-shift fan or always prefer automatics, it’s prudent to try both transmissions before buying.