2010 Scion tC Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor
September 1, 2009

The 2010 Scion tC offers more sophisticated handling and lavish features than the low base price would indicate.

The experts at TheCarConnection.com have gathered some of the best reviews on the Web covering the 2010 Scion tC, to bring you a conclusive review on this sporty coupe. TheCarConnection.com's editors have also driven the tC and report on their own experiences here.

The 2010 Scion tC is now by far the oldest vehicle in the Scion lineup of small cars, and the tC is unchanged for 2010 except for one exterior color change (Nautical Blue Metallic replaces Blue Ribbon Metallic). Launched in late 2004 as an '05 model, the tC is the only coupe sold under the Scion brand, which is offered at select Toyota dealerships.

For a small car, the tC offers a big engine: a torquey 161-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder similar to the one in the Toyota Camry. The tC is thus quite entertaining to drive, if you fit the standard five-speed manual transmission. With the available four-speed automatic, it's just adequate. And the handling of the 2010 Scion tC is especially tight, with good, communicative steering and a firm but comfortable ride.

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The interior of the 2010 Scion tC has a sporty, cockpit-like design. The seats are snug and well bolstered, and they give an excellent driving position, though tall drivers will be short on headroom and stout drivers will lack hip room. The stylish cabin and instrument panel design look like they could belong to a much more expensive vehicle, conceivably even a Lexus. But the low seating, high beltline, and thick rear pillars make rearward vision and backing up a definite challenge.

The small backseat can actually accommodate three people, and door access is decent, but the tC's narrow body limits comfort (and elbow room). Coarse road surfaces produce an unwelcome boominess inside the cabin, and the moon roof chimes in with a loud wind rush at speed. On better surfaces, the engine merely offers a subtle sporty tone for driver and passengers.

As with most Toyota products, the 2010 Scion tC uses safety is a major selling point. Dual side and front and rear side-curtain airbags are standard, as is a driver's knee airbag, and anti-lock brakes. One missing ingredient is electronic stability and traction control, which aren't available. The federal government rates the tC as good, with four- and five-star results for frontal impact and the highest five-star ratings for side impact.

The 2010 Scion tC offers just one trim level. It's well equipped as standard, with generous standard equipment for a car this inexpensive. That includes air conditioning, keyless entry, steering-wheel controls, cruise control, sport seats, and a Panorama moon roof. The outsized sound system is from Pioneer, with subwoofer and full connectivity for iPods and other MP3 players. A navigation system is optional, as is an upgraded Pioneer sound system that has the capability to change "skins" and play four-second video clips. For tuners seeking more speed, a supercharger is available from TRD and thus covered under the vehicle warranty.

Among the plethora of accessories that buyers can ask their dealer to install on the tC are a rear spoiler, carbon-fiber trim, fog lamps, and many other "appearance enhancements" and trim pieces. There's also much more serious performance equipment, sourced from Toyota Racing Development (TRD). The list starts with a performance exhaust, and extends through such upgrades as front strut tower braces and a rear sway bar.

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