2009 Scion tC Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 161 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Scion tC

  • With peppy performance, room for four, a kickin' stereo and an attractive price tag, the 2009 Scion tC is a budget hatchback 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 2009

    For 2009, the Scion tC line loses the tuner-oriented, decontented Spec trim, leaving the well-equipped standard version as the sole offering.

Full 2009 Scion tC Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the Scion tC line loses the tuner-oriented, decontented Spec trim, leaving the well-equipped standard version as the sole offering.


If you want a recipe for a strong-selling car for the coveted 20-to-30-something demographic, ask Scion. Take a solid platform with a well-tuned suspension and a strong engine, add in plenty of standard features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a sunroof and a nice stereo, wrap it all up in a smartly attractive coupe-styled body and give it bargain pricing, and you have the 2009 Scion tC.

Having a sense of balance is always a good thing, and the Scion tC exhibits that virtue by providing fairly athletic handling along with a compliant ride. Rather than a high-winding engine that requires a lot of revs to extract the performance, the tC employs a big-for-the-class 2.4-liter four that furnishes strong low- and midrange power.

Another ace in the tC's hand is its relatively upscale cabin and accommodating rear seat. The former features high-quality materials and tight build quality, while the latter has enough room for two adults, a rare luxury in the compact sport coupe segment.

Although the 2009 Scion tC is well equipped, there are still a number of dealer-installed accessories, including a choice of wheels, body kits, stereo head units and interior accents, that can tailor the car to your tastes. Should you hunger for more excitement, your friendly Scion dealer can also hook up your ride with a 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. Be forewarned that the supercharger is rather pricey, especially when you factor in the cost of having it installed at your Scion dealer.

In its basic form, however, the tC still represents a solid pick for an under-$20,000 sport coupe. True, it's not going to be able to keep up with the aforementioned competitors in a straight line, and its overall design is now a bit dated, having come out for 2005. But for hatchback or coupe shoppers wanting a little bit of everything without paying too much, it would be foolish to overlook the 2009 tC.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Scion tC is a two-door hatchback coupe offered in a single trim level. The generous list of standard features includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a dual-pane sunroof, air-conditioning, split-folding and reclining rear seats, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories with one-touch up/down windows and a Pioneer CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack and dedicated iPod interface.

The tC is so well-equipped that there are no factory options, though dealers offer a wide array of performance and styling upgrades. A choice of satellite radio providers is also available, as well as an upgraded stereo head unit and a touchscreen navigation system.

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. Transmission choices include the standard five-speed manual and optional four-speed automatic.

Acceleration is adequate, with the 0-60-mph dash done in around 8.5 seconds. Should you spring for the dealer-installed supercharger, output is boosted to 200 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, yielding a 0-60 time of just 7.2 seconds. Sans supercharger, an automatic-equipped tC earns a slightly below-average EPA fuel economy estimate of 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.


The 2009 Scion tC comes with antilock disc brakes, a first aid kit, a driver knee airbag, front side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags as standard. 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.

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 the rear seats (although taller drivers may still like more front seat travel). Rear riders will also enjoy the split seatbacks that can individually recline up to 135 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. The standard iPod interface is a welcome (and rare) feature, although we suggest opting for one of the upgraded stereo head units for better iPod control. About the only downside to the tC's interior is its somewhat skimpy headroom for taller folks riding in back.

Driving Impressions

Although not as sharp or engaging as newer rivals like the Civic or Mini Cooper, the 2009 Scion tC features flat, composed cornering and a nimble feel. Its aggressive 17-inch tires 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 provides a 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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Fun, but overrated

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

This car is an eye candy and it is fun to drive, but having owned this car for a year, I have to say, for me it's overrated and overpriced. Although I appreciate the Toyota reputation for reliability, this car needs to offer more for the price tag. There's nothing really sporty about this car, and the 25 MPG that I get now does not impress me. If you are looking for a cute car that is fun to drive and the price is reasonable, and you don't care about the drawbacks I posted, then go for it. It's reliable. If not, you can get more car for the money, if you go with something more traditional. If you are hunting for a sports car, the Scion will not satisfy you (especially with an automatic)

First car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

The 09 Scion TC was my first car i bought. I had always liked them so i figure why not get one. I believe i was too anxious when buying this car and didn't look at more options. I love my car but just wish it was less quiet. Seems like when your on the highway it's just really loud. It's a really fun car to drive and picks up speed pretty quick. I guess the only thing that bothers me is that it's just loud on the hwy so if could change anything it would be that. Other than that overall an amazing car. My next car will defiantly be a larger Vehicle possibly a 4dr or a truck. Also not bad on gas as well.

Would buy again, oh wait

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I've owned both a 2006 Scion tC 5-speed, and now currently a 2009 Scion tC 5-speed Release Series 5 TRD model. The 2009 is more refined than its 2006 predecessor. If your're looking for a well rounded, budget-friendly coupe, look no further. However, I can not say the same about the current 2nd generation tC--they are entirely different animals. Pros: - fun to drive - peppy/quick (not fast by any means) - respectable fuel economy (could be better) - relatively small - toyota reliability - aesthetically pleasing - fantastic crash safety rating Cons: - "Boy Racer" stigma. - Top 10 "most expensive to insure" - 160hp from 2.4L is lazy engineering. - Short final drive ratio (hurts mpg)

Love and hate relationship

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I bought my tC Brand new in 2009! I loved it for awhile, I love the look of my car and its great on gas other then that I was dissappointed! I lose control of my car in the wind! getting around in the snow is a joke! Went through the stock tires around 12k, the air conditioner sucks, anyone over 6 foot will be cramped in your car, my car is always in the shop for something! very basic..... I was in a car accident, I was very surprise how good it held up. The other car was totalled, while mine needed just a big dent repair! I would advise someone to really consider your options and rule Scion out!

Great car!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I have been so happy with this car. My son was in an accident and was hit on the driver side door and the airbags deployed and he walked away and played hockey that night. The car had $13,000 of damage but is as good as new now. The car has really great pick up and is so peppy and reliable and comfort. I love driving it.

Good all around car

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

All around a good car. If you are all about TOKYO DRIFTU then this is not the car for you. I think this car has a bad reputation in some circles because there are too many Tc owners that think this is a sports car. It's not. Test drove an auto but bought the manual for price reasons. Auto was a little slow to shift but other than that it was fine. The car handling is excellent, it feels like you are driving the car not the other way around. A lot of the electronic assist stuff Toyota loves to put in their cars now is pleasantly absent in the TC give you the feeling of having more control over your driving experience. Fuel economy, torque and HP is what you would expect from a 2.4 L 4 cylinder.

Talk About The 2009 tC

2009 Scion tC Discussions See all Started By

On another note the 2009 tc will roll out in May....

*The tCs reclining rear seats...

Thanks for your offer of a radio manual. Could you tell me what year model it's for. I've got a 2009 tc and I see there are different radios for different years....

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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