2006 Scion tC Review

Pros & Cons

  • High quality all around, unexpected safety and luxury features, tight handling, spacious cabin, bargain price.
  • A couple of odd design elements, drab styling.
List Price Estimate
$1,711 - $3,401

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With a bargain price tag, a ton of standard features and a fun-loving personality, the 2006 Scion tC is another big hit for the Scion folks.

Vehicle overview

With the Scion brand, Toyota is making a credible effort to understand the Generation Y market and give it what it wants without pushing it down its throat. Housed within Toyota dealerships, Scion salespeople are instructed to play it straight with consumers -- this means no-haggle pricing similar to Saturn dealers and the ability to get a car the way a customer wants it in about a week. And by offering over three dozen dealer-installed options, Scion hopes to give its buyers unprecedented opportunity to customize their cars on the front end.

Unlike the xA and xB, which look like they could've come out of a comic book (and we mean that in a good way -- we like their funky yet practical style), the Scion tC is a more mainstream design. Somehow managing to look a little pudgy yet sleek at the same time, the tC has a generic rectangular grille, headlamps with BMW-like "eyebrows" and a body that boasts crisp, clean lines. Still, there are a few head-turning elements. One is the deeply tinted glass panoramic roof that features a power sunroof above the front seats and a fixed glass portion above the rear compartment. Another is the set of double-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels that look as good as anything in the aftermarket. Both of these high-end features are standard.

Inside the upscale cabin, high-quality materials abound, and features such as metallic accents, damped compartment doors, multiple adjustments for the driver seat and an outside temperature display further this impression. An elegant "waterfall"-style center stack flows into the center console, and both front seats slide forward to allow folks to get into the backseat. On the move, the 2006 Scion tC feels eager to run thanks to its standard 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. Borrowed from the Camry, this is a big engine for this class of car, where 1.7 to 2.2 liters is more the norm. With 160 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, the tC's motor handily beats the starter engines in the Civic and Ion coupes.

Out in the real world, the tC's performance makes good on the promise of the spec sheet numbers. A broad power band means that there's strong pull down low and through the midrange, and when coupled to the sweet-shifting five-speed manual gearbox, the 2006 Scion tC feels sportier than one might expect. Priced under $17,000, the tC is yet another hit for Scion. After all, there's the strong Toyota reputation, the spacious and comfortable cabin, fine build quality, entertaining driving dynamics and plenty of standard niceties. Add in the ability to customize with your own personal touch and there's plenty to like about this affordable coupe.

2006 Scion tC models

The 2006 Scion tC comes in one trim level and is chock-full of unexpected goodies such as one-touch up-and-down power windows, cruise control, air conditioning, steering wheel audio controls, keyless entry, mirror-mounted turn signal lights, four-wheel antilock disc brakes and a 160-watt Pioneer sound system with CD player and remote mini-jack port that is (XM) satellite radio-ready. The only factory option is a side airbag package, but there is a multitude of dealer-installed options. This list includes a CD changer, satellite radio, a subwoofer and a lighting kit for the footwell, just to name a few. A unique iPod connectivity upgrade is also available, and allows full iPod control, including power and display, through the tC's audio system.

2006 Highlights

The 2006 Scion tC receives a new three-spoke steering wheel with audio controls, and the Pioneer audio system has a new head unit design and remote mini-jack port for portable music sources. Newly available is integrated iPod connectivity, which delivers iPod display information and allows unit control through the audio system.

Performance & mpg

Standard power for the Scion tC comes from a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder borrowed from the Camry, with 160 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. A smooth-shifting five-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a four-speed automatic available as an option. Fuel economy is average for a budget coupe with a 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway estimate for the manual, and 23 city/30 highway for the optional automatic.

Safety

The 2006 Scion tC comes with four-wheel antilock disc brakes (with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) as standard equipment. Side airbags for front occupants and full-length head curtain airbags are optional. Other standard safety features include a first aid kit, triple side door beams and a driver knee airbag.

Driving

The 2006 Scion tC features a fully independent suspension (with a double-wishbone setup in the rear that maximizes interior space) and Z-rated 215/45R17 Bridgestone Potenzas wrapped around those eye-catching 17s. The result is a precise, well-weighted feel and flat, composed cornering. Ride quality is firm, but compliant enough to absorb most bumps and ruts on battered city streets. The 2.4-liter engine's broad power band contributes to the fun with plenty of pull down low and through the midrange.

Interior

Although the Scion tC is a compact car at just 174 inches long, a relatively long (106.3-inch) wheelbase provides more than ample legroom, especially for those riding in the back. Rear passengers will also enjoy the split seat backs that can individually recline up to 45 degrees. Although it looks like a coupe, the tC is actually a hatchback, which means flexible cargo capacity. By folding down the rear seats as well as the right front seat, a load floor that stretches 103.6 inches is created, ideal for snowboarders and surfers. Cargo capacity is 12.8 cubic feet with the rear seats in use and a whopping 60 cubic feet when they're folded down.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Scion tC.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2006
djmcruz,05/11/2010
MY 2006 Scion tc . ROCKS! 115,000 miles on it. The only thing replaced so far were Brakes,Tires every 50,000 and synthetic oil changes every 5,000.and what ever the services needed. The car does have a couple of squeeks and rattles but in all GREAT car.
Great car
lk4d4,04/04/2013
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.
Great Car
enginerdtrav,03/13/2014
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.
Love It!
Melanie,10/29/2006
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.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2006 Scion tC features & specs 

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2006 Scion tC

Used 2006 Scion tC Overview

The Used 2006 Scion tC is offered in the following submodels: tC Hatchback. Available styles include 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M), and 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Scion tC?

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Which used 2006 Scion tCS are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2006 Scion tCs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Scion tC for sale - 12 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $24,723.

Find a used Scion for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,088.

Find a used certified pre-owned Scion tC for sale - 2 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $25,662.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Scion tC?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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