Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Scion tC Hatchback
While the 2013 Scion tC looks the part of a sporty compact coupe, its handling performance doesn't quite live up to its appearance. However, the benefits of a generous list of features and a comfortable, roomy cabin should be plenty to attract the average driver.
Droning engine and exhaust note with automatic transmission; cheap interior materials; mediocre fuel economy; not as sporty as it looks.
What's New for 2013
A new Release Series 8.0 trim debuts for the 2013 Scion tC.
Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Scion tC Hatchback
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What's New for 2013
A new Release Series 8.0 trim debuts for the 2013 Scion tC.
There are sports cars, and there are sporty cars. Sports cars have all of the performance to go along with their evocative styling, while sporty cars just look the part. Even though it boasts rather quick acceleration, the 2013 Scion tC falls into the sporty category, as it doesn't quite deliver the type of driving entertainment that its sleek exterior would suggest. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
While the Scion tC doesn't rail through corners with the agility offered by its new Scion FR-S stablemate, it also doesn't require the sort of sacrifices in terms of features and comfort that a car like the FR-S demands. The tC's softer suspension tuning makes for a comfortable and smooth ride while providing just enough cornering fun at low speeds. For many people, the tC's long list of standard features and roomy rear quarters will be more valuable than the grin-inducing responsiveness of its sibling.
The 2013 Scion tC isn't the only sporty coupe or hatchback worth looking at, however. The 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe and 2013 Hyundai Veloster are worth serious consideration thanks to their superior fuel economy and value. The Volkswagen Beetle offers more distinctive styling and greater refinement, though it can't match the Scion's utility. And while the Honda Civic coupe isn't quite the gold standard it used to be, it's still an appealing small car. But overall, the tC is worthy of consideration for the youthful driver who puts a premium on style and features rather than pure performance.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Scion tC is a compact, five-passenger hatchback coupe that is offered in two trim levels: base and Release Series 8.0.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a panoramic sunroof, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, reclining and folding 60/40-split rear seats, driver track and seatback angle memory (for rear seat access), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB interface and RCA output jacks.
The limited-production RS 8.0 (only 2,000 will be made) gets different 18-inch wheels, a lowered suspension, an aerodynamic body kit, sport center-exit exhaust, paddle shifters (automatic transmission) and special interior trim.
Aside from an automatic transmission, there are no factory options. However, there are a number of dealer-installed items including satellite radio, upgraded audio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, seven-color interior mood lighting, remote ignition, a cargo cover, foglights and a rear spoiler.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive 2013 Scion tC is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine that produces 180 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.
In Edmunds performance testing, a tC with a manual transmission went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, while a tC with an automatic did it in 8 flat. Both are quick for the compact coupe and hatchback class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined regardless of transmission. These are respectable numbers, but most other competing models are notably more fuel-efficient.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Scion tC include stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front headrests. In Edmunds.com brake testing, the tC came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is average for this segment.
In government crash testing, the tC received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the tC earned the highest score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
As with the exterior, the 2013 Scion tC's interior gives off the appearance of a sporty car. The rim of the thick-rimmed flat-bottomed steering wheel looks as though it was pulled from a racecar, while controls are canted toward the driver and the well-bolstered seats further lend an air of sportiness. These aspects of the interior might be a bit contrived, but they work well. Unfortunately, the interior is filled with hard, flimsy plastics that seem cheaper than those found in the cabins of the competition. In particular, the center armrest is rock hard.
Yet the Scion tC does have notable advantages. Cargo space is one, as the tC's hatchback design can accommodate up to 14.7 cubic feet of stuff and the folding rear seat creates a relatively cavernous cargo area that puts other compact coupes to shame. The rear seats also recline and feature impressive legroom, meaning even 6-footers can sit back there. Front seat room is also generous.
In an effort to play to the younger demographic, the Scion tC's standard sound system features a wealth of features that are offered as options on some of its rivals. Unfortunately, the layout of the controls isn't all that intuitive and poorly labeled. The optional BeSpoke audio upgrade remedies this with a large touchscreen interface and also adds social media connectivity through Facebook and Twitter.
The 2013 Scion tC can best be described as "urban agile," meaning a car that's responsive and involving enough to keep you entertained when comfortably commuting around town, but not so sporty that you'd relish driving it on a back road somewhere. The steering doesn't provide much feel, and the stability control has a tendency to kick in frequently during aggressive driving. The Scion tC won't put you to sleep, but you will have more fun in other coupes.
Meanwhile, the 180-hp four-cylinder engine provides good power for the class, especially down low in the rev range. If you're game for shifting your own gears, the six-speed manual is the best choice, as the car accelerates significantly more quickly and the engine doesn't suffer from the rather agricultural droning that plagues it when the automatic transmission is in place.
by joplinjeep on Feb 21, 2014 Vehicle: 2013 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
This is a great little car. I have had it six months and have driven on 1200 mile trip, around town and 50 mile trip twice a week. The interior is about what you would expect for the money, no complaint. Plenty of power on the interstate and around town, fun to drive. Not as much fun as Mazda 3 speed but much cheaper price. Great backseat room, nice radio (little hard to learn how to use it at first.) Comfortable. I did drive it on the worst road I have driven on in 50 years and thought it would break, but it didn't. No car would have done well on that road. Well worth the money. I have never checked miles/gal but it seems to be pretty good. No complaints there, or I would have checked it.
by calcarnut on Sep 2, 2013 Vehicle: 2013 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
I finally decided to get economical and go with a commuter. Since my wife and I ride together to work and the kids are grown, we decided on a coupe. Choices were the TC, Honda Civic and Hyundai Veloster. The Civic was comparable in gas mileage but was $3K higher. The Veloster was better in gas mileage by 5 miles/gal and was comparable in price for the base. But the TC had much more power due to its 2.5L 4-cyl. The front passenger seat has so much room it leaves ample space for a rear passenger up to 6' (my wife is 5'6"). In my opinion, it also looked better than the Civic and the Veloster. Our avg. mileage in the city and highway has been 28 mpg.
UPDATE: After 2 1/2 years of owning the car, the materials proved to be inferior. The front shroud of the engine bay came loose and rattled and chattered. The dealer was never able to fix. I ended up using 6 self tapping screws. The water pump went out at 30K but can still smell antifreeze to this day. Dealer says it is residual from the leak but still smell after engine cleaning. Interior plastics have scuff marks everywhere and wont come off, even with Wipe New. The condensation reservoir for the ac gets clogged every few months and leaked into the passenger front carpet. The drain hose must be disconnected and cleaned every few months. Dealer says this is normal. Traded the car for a Silverado pichup last month since gas is cheaper now.
by mcnasty101 on Dec 19, 2012 Vehicle: 2013 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Ok, so i've owned 4 cars in my life and probably test driven hundreds....why? because i love cars, and not just the awesome sports that "everybody" loves...but i love all cars. I recently bought a 2013 Scion tC...and let me tell ya this car is amazing to look at and to drive. I've had te 2010 Scion tC before i moved into this one....and i could'nt help but wonder that they could've made it better than what it was. It was pretty to look at and the after market parts for it were cheep and made it look and run better. But it is nothing like the 2013....the tC i have now is just so awesome, it hugs the corners, handles very well in the snow and its a game changer in the car industry.
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