2008 Scion tC Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Scion tC Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Scion tC Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 161 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Scion tC

  • With peppy performance, room for four, a kickin' stereo and a mild price, the 2008 Scion tC is a budget sports coupe with plenty of appeal and few compromises.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Generous standard equipment list, power and handling suitable for everyday driving, roomy backseat and cargo area.

  • Cons

    Limited headroom for taller drivers, not as involving to drive as some competitors.

  • What's New for 2008

    The Scion tC heads into 2008 sporting fresh front and rear styling, an updated instrument panel and new seat fabric. As in other 2008 Scions, an auxiliary audio input jack now comes standard.

Full 2008 Scion tC Review

What's New for 2008

The Scion tC heads into 2008 sporting fresh front and rear styling, an updated instrument panel and new seat fabric. As in other 2008 Scions, an auxiliary audio input jack now comes standard.


The best-selling Scion tC always seemed best aligned with the brand's youth-targeted focus. After all, nothing quite attracts the kids like a two-door body style, racy 17-inch wheels and a fairly muscular engine. The tC easily has enough performance to be a fun ride, even if it doesn't fit the traditional mold of a high-revving Japanese sport coupe.

But then, the 2008 Scion tC is more about achieving a balanced set of virtues. Thanks to a well-tuned suspension, its willing handling peacefully coexists with compliant ride quality. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood has meatier low-end torque than smaller-engined competitors like the Honda Civic coupe and maintains decent fuel economy, too. The interior feels well-crafted, and it's rare for a sport coupe to have a rear seat that's so accommodating.

Of course, being a Scion, there's plenty of opportunity for shaping the car to one's liking. While the tC's styling got spruced up for the year, dealers have a wide array of wheels, spoilers, graphics and interior trim pieces for creating one's own look. Even more notable is an optional supercharger that boosts horsepower up to 200 and puts the tC in closer competition against the Civic Si coupe, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI. However, the supercharger is rather pricey, especially when you include the additional labor costs of having it installed at your Scion dealer.

The 2008 tC's base price, on the other hand, is entirely reasonable. Starting at around 16 grand and not ranging much higher, the 2008 Scion tC represents a value even a full-grown adult can appreciate.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Scion tC sport hatchback comes in two trims: the stripped-down Spec and the higher-grade base model. Standard features on the Spec trim include 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, split-folding and reclining rear seats, keyless entry, full power accessories and a Pioneer CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack. Step up to the base trim and the list grows to include 17-inch alloy wheels, a moonroof, cruise control and one-touch up/down windows. The only factory option is a package containing side airbags for front passengers and full-length curtain airbags for all side occupants.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard power for the Scion tC comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 161 hp and 162 pound-feet of torque. It provides acceleration that's ample though not outstanding. Sold as a dealer accessory, the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) supercharger takes you up to 200 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the tC, with a four-speed automatic optional.


The 2008 Scion tC comes with antilock disc brakes, a first aid kit and a driver knee airbag as standard equipment. Side airbags for front occupants and full-length head curtain airbags are optional. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration frontal crash tests, the tC earned a perfect five stars for driver protection and four stars for front passenger protection. A Scion tC without the optional side airbags earned four stars for front and rear side impact testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

Though the Scion tC is the size of an average compact car, its longish 106.3-inch wheelbase provides ample legroom for passengers in all seats. Rear riders will also enjoy the split seat backs that can individually recline up to 45 degrees, and owners will appreciate the wide hatchback opening and 35 cubic feet of cargo space (with the rear seats folded). The interior is mostly lined with high-quality materials, and the standard Pioneer sound system is both crisp and powerful. About the only downside to the tC's interior is its somewhat skimpy headroom.

Driving Impressions

Although not as sharp or engaging as newer rivals like the Civic or Mini Cooper, the 2008 Scion tC features flat, composed cornering and a nimble feel. Its aggressive 17-inch wheels provide plenty of grip, and its brakes are strong and fade-free. Ride quality is firm, yet compliant enough to absorb most bumps and ruts on battered city streets. The 2.4-liter engine has a nearly equal supply of horsepower and torque, resulting in relatively strong pull from both low and high speeds. We'd advise buyers to go with the manual transmission, as it has crisp shifting action and a smooth clutch. Automatic-equipped tCs are less enjoyable, as the four-speed can be hesitant and indecisive during enthusiastic runs on back roads.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Well-balanced car for the price

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Vehicle: 2008 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I purchased my 2008 Scion tC brand new in December of 2007 and still feel pretty satisfied with it! I'm not sure if there was a better deal out there when I purchased this vehicle, but it provided the best balance between price, style, performance, and reliability (knowing that it came from the Toyota family of brands). Still in great condition, so haven't had to do anything except the usual maintenence as suggested by Scion. Prefer ANT10 series (2009 and previous years) due to change to a more "boring" interior with the AGT20 (2010 - current) series.

Great value for your money

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion tC Spec 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

The TC was my first car. The TC offers outstanding value for the price. You'd end up paying 3-4k more in other cars for the same features that are present in the TC - all with Toyota reliability. This car is more about a balance of features rather than pure muscle. Despite it's modest engine, it handles well. As a bonus, the TC was made for modders. If you're a modding junkie, and have the money, the TC is your car. Drawbacks - its underpowered - it has a Camry engine. It's peppy in the lower RPM's, but doesnt have true muscle. Its rear door is a pain. The gas mileage is somewhat lacking for a 4 cylinder. But if you can look past these negatives, then the TC is for you.

Cheaply made

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Had a 2008 Scion TC for a bit longer than five years. While not the worst vehicle I have owned, that would be a Dodge, after five years the overall cheapness of the vehicle was starting to show. For example, the rear hatch latch simply broke one day. Another, the paint is so thin and soft it scratches at every opportunity. To be honest, I was happy to be rid of the TC.

2008 scion tc

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Vehicle: 2008 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

The 2008 scion tc is a great car. I have owned it since January 2011 and i bought it with 19000 miles. now almost a year later it has over 30,000. I love to drive it. I bought this car after owning a 1992 toyota camry for 5 years, so this was quite an upgrade for me. It has only been in the dealership for oil changes and a battery change. The only person who doesnt seem to like it is my father. He is tall and he cant really get very comfortable in the front seat. my scion is the azure pearl color which turns alot of heads. its not as sporty looking as some other cars but its good enough for me! the only thing i dont like is the paint is very prone to chipping..

Last toyota i'll buy

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

car had a recall for gas cap 2nd month. Tires are only good on paved roads in the dry and started to separate by 20k. got stuck in the middle of the street with 1/2 an inch of snow. throttle has a delay and a couple times a mind of its own. Finally, at 30k I struck a section of bad rural road and supposedly bent 2 wheels and caused the side curtain airbag to go off, which will cost over $5000 to fix which Toyota will not cover.I had just got new tires the week before and the car doesn't shake or show any external damage. If you live in rural America, don't waste your$. I did file a claim with the NHTSA.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Excellent car

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

This car is an absolute great value for what you are getting. For being priced as economically as it is, the vehicle's standard features are great. The standard sound system in the vehicle is particularly high quality. I have had no issues on the repair/maintenance side, a feature for which I was aiming at with this car being manufactured by Toyota. I get absolutely great gas mileage in the car, and even though it is a V-4 engine it does pack a nice punch for a small car.

Talk About The 2008 tC

2008 Scion tC Discussions See all Started By

Second thing is the new engine. Yes more power is welcome, but I fear they took it too far. If it has the same engine and tranny it will use about as much fuel as a TC, which is more than a V-6 Acco...

The xD is the replacement for the xA (neither the xA or xB is available for the '07 model year, the ones left at dealers now are 2006s built late in '06 to cover the gap until the new models are ready...

for scion tc -2008...

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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