Bought my 06 tC in may 2006 with 53 miles on it, now up to 210,000+ miles.
No major issues what so ever. I still have the original car battery, which is impressive. I did have to add some distilled water into it after 6 years, no big feat there.
I have a short RAM intake, Borla axle back exhaust, which after adding bumped my MPG to about 31-33 hwy.
Most of my driving is hwy, my daily commute is 60 mi each way. and I drive frequently from San Diego to Sacramento, roughly 550 mi each way. The tC is comfortable enough to drive the whole way with no problems. I'm 5'10".
Very easy to maintain. Easy access to the oil filter, I always check the placement of that on cars before buying.
I bought this car brand-spanking new- I built it on the website and then waited 4 months for my customized tc to be delivered to me straight off the boat. It never got more than about 20 mpg city at best. The trunk/hatchback handle/plate broke off just like everyone else's. The a/c went out at 45k miles. Other than that, this car was reliable & easy to maintain for the first 90k. I've kept up with all the scheduled maintenance plus have done extras. After 90k, everything went to s***! The clutch and both cylinders went out, one of the motor mounts broke. It only has 97k currently, and I still need to put at least $3k of work into it to get it back to decent operating condition. Buyer beware!
The Scion tC is an absolutely wonderful car. You can't beat the price for the performance. I always have a lot of fun driving my Scion. I would recommend to anyone. I love styling and the way it handles. If you love to drive you will love this car.
I bought my car new in 2006 with 20 miles on it.
I now have put 170,000 miles on it and the only issue I have had is the trunk handle breaking, which is a very common problem.
Other than that it has run perfectly and not cost me an extra penny beyond standard maintenance.
I'm going to keep driving it until the tires fall off which probably won't be for awhile.
I certainly have gotten my money out of this car.
I bought this car about a year and a half ago, totally in love with it at first. Good power band, predictable and quick for a car of this class. Right off the bat I replaced the suspension and did a modest 1/8th drop w/ coils, short shifter and a cold air intake. Modest modifications. The engine sounds really nice! But still, after you hit 60mph the power just seems to vanish. It pulls pretty hard off the line, but after 60mph (more accurately 3rd gear) the power dissipates and it's simply disappointing.
The Pros: Looks pretty nice, super easy to modify, plenty of parts to choose from, comfy (for the price), stereo is decent, and it handles surprisingly well at high speeds going into corners. Some people seem to have issues with reliability, I've had no such complaint. I have yet to get a single check engine light short of my gas cap failing (OH NO NOT $5!). Sunroof works great, windows work great, plenty of trunk space and room for two passengers in the rear. AC works well enough, heater is nearly too hot.
Cons: There's a lot.... For starters, the blue and white instrument cluster is REALLY IRRITATING. The highbeam indicator is so bright at night, I had to apply duct tape over it because it affected my vision at night. The blue you can dim, but what a dull choice for the dash. Turn signals are blinding, cruise control light is blinding, everything on that cluster impairs vision at night. Then in the day, you cant see it! It's the most hilarious thing, at night you're blinded, during the day you have to squint to see your speed. Bummer.
At high RPM, the engine sounds awesome. Low RPM, it nearly sounds broken. There's this ever present noise that all Toyota's I've owned make, but this one is particularly annoying. As you accellerate you can hear the drive train slowly getting louder and increasing in pitch. At first I liked it, it rather sounded like a go-kart, but now it's frustrating.
The standard manual stick shift had the longest throw I've ever seen. It was really annoying. I'd miss gears because the throw was so damn far. It was almost mandatory to install the TRD short shifter.
Front left speaker broke nearly immediately for reasons unknown.
The wire harnesses for my taillights literally lit on fire and required a $500 replacement.
Gas mileage is worse than my Honda Prelude SH's, which was 6 years older, weighed almost 500lbs more AND put out about 40 more bhp. 26 highway and 19 city? What? That's even when you reeeeaaallly baby the throttle. For a 4-cyl coupe w/ 160bhp, there's no reason for that at all. Weighs about as much as an aircraft carrier for it's size.
As I stated in the short review, the car is quick off the line (by quick I mean 6.9 second 0-60 w/ the short shifter), but super slow and lame after ~60mph. Fourth gear is a joke. Made worse by the fact that while cruising in 5th at 70MPH on the highway, the car is revved to 3.5K RPM. Which is simply goofy for a car that has no pull in 4th and 5th gear.
EVERYTHING RATTLES! The interior door plastic rattles. Windows rattle. Rear windshield rattles. Dash rattles. All of the things in this car rattle. The build quality in this car is simply atrocious. For a car that costs this much money, what the [non-permissible content removed] My old 87 Celica GT had a million times better interior quality, and I bought it for $1k! They used the cheapest plastic I've ever seen in a car. So much so that the plastic warped, so it's not even or flush on the window after 1k miles. [non-permissible content removed] Honestly, the plastic of a Fisher-Price buggy has better plastic quality.
The mesh of the seats (the option that I have, cant speak for cloth/leather) is comfy and easy to clean, but foul to the touch. Feels cheap like everything else. When I bought the car the clutch was too stiff, now it's loose and unpredictable. Sometimes I can depress it half way and shift, other times it decides that I cant. Really confusing.
At 115K miles the starter, ignition system and distributor cap failed simultaneously. $6k down the hole. I need to replace the spark plugs way more frequently than I should (nearly every 1K miles, probably related to the dead ignition system).
THE SINGLE MOST ANNOYING THING YOU WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN DRIVING THIS CAR: It's a Corolla with an aluminum block. Still a corolla. The motor just isnt special at all. Cams are small. Transmission is weak. Not enough power etc. But occasionally you'll be driving and remember "I could have saved $4k if I just bought a Corolla, and gotten the same effect". Except, somehow, even the corollas have better build quality than the Scion tC.
Unless you like boring overpriced cars that have no power, suck gas like an SUV, but look nice. Go buy a Corolla. Their cheaper, more reliable, just as fast, more comfortable, get way better mileage and dont disappoint because you never expect anything out of corollas ;)