- Bargain price
- Attractive interior design
- Peppy with the manual transmission
- Steering and handling
- Road noise
- Tight headroom
- Difficult rearward visibility
The 2008 tC has the look and feel of a $30,000 coupe at $10,000 less, fully loaded.
The 2008 Scion tC is the only coupe model to be sold under the Scion brand, which is offered at select Toyota dealerships. The tC is based on the European-market Toyota Avensis. Now the oldest vehicle in the Scion lineup of small cars, the tC adopts a new front end—with projector headlamps and round taillamps—that more closely resembles that of its new teammates.
The tC is powered by a 161-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes the tC quite entertaining to drive with the standard five-speed manual transmission, or adequate for most needs with the available four-speed automatic. The 2008 Scion tC handles especially well, with good, communicative steering and a firm but comfortable ride.
Inside, the 2008 Scion tC has a sporty, cockpit-like design, with snug, well-bolstered front seats and a good driving position, though tall drivers will find themselves short on headroom. The fashionable interior and instrument panel design look like they could belong to a much more expensive vehicle. The low seating position, high beltline, and chunky rear pillars can make rearward vision challenging. There’s enough space for up to three in the small backseat, with decent access, but the tC’s rather narrow body limits comfort (and elbow room). The engine can be heard as a subtle sporty tone inside the cabin, but coarse road surfaces can introduce an unwelcome boominess.
The 2008 Scion tC comes in two models, one of which is a well-equipped single-spec version that includes a very generous level of standard equipment such as air conditioning, keyless entry, a Panorama moonroof, sport seats, steering-wheel controls, cruise control, and a Pioneer sound system with subwoofer. A second model, the tC Spec, omits the moonroof, sport seats, subwoofer, and other items but starts at a price $1,700 lower, allowing a budget for those who want to add a lot of accessories. Among the many dealer-installed accessories on the tC are carbon-fiber trim, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, and plenty of trim pieces and appearance enhancements, along with more serious performance equipment from Toyota Racing Development (TRD), including a performance exhaust, front strut tower brace, and rear sway bar. A navigation system is optional, as is an upgraded Pioneer sound system that has the capability to play "skins" and four-second video clips; an iPod kit is also available.
Standard on the 2008 Scion tC are dual side and side curtain airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, and anti-lock brakes; electronic stability control isn’t available, though. The tC has been crash-tested by the federal government and did well, with four- and five-star results for frontal impact and great five-star ratings for side impact.