2008 Scion tC Review

Pros & Cons

  • Generous standard equipment list, power and handling suitable for everyday driving, roomy backseat and cargo area.
  • Limited headroom for taller drivers, not as involving to drive as some competitors.
List Price Range
$5,995 - $6,719

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Scion tC models

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.

2008 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Scion tC.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great value for your money - looking for a first car?
iron112,08/12/2013
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.
Great bang for the buck
Mouse,05/25/2010
My 2008 is the second brand new Scion tC that I have purchased. It is a well built vehicle with the Toyota quality. After almost 100,000 trouble free miles on my first one I decided to purchase another brand new one. The 2008 tC was planned to be a performance modified race & show car, of which it is now. Being a mechanic the tC has been one of the easiest vehicles I have ever worked on and maintained. I have seen countless testimonies of owners getting 100-200K and higher miles on the tC with virtually no issues outside of normal maintenance. While no vehicle is perfect, I definitely would say that you get a lot of car and quality for the price.
Well-balanced car for the price
sushi714,09/06/2014
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.
Good Value
Ken,09/20/2010
Have owned this vehicle for about 2.5 years, with 22K miles. So far no repair issues. Vehicle is essentially used by my daughter, who is off to college in January. Only complaints are paint does not resist scratches very well and stock tires are simply crap. I guess this is the real cost of having this vehicle being priced quite low in comparison to other similar vehicles. I do question why a manufacturer would put tires with a tread wear rating of only 160 on a vehicle, the cost of adding better tires would only increase the cost of the vehicle by a couple of $100! The stock tires were Yokohamas - I made sure the replacement tires were not!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 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 2008 Scion tC

Used 2008 Scion tC Overview

The Used 2008 Scion tC is offered in the following submodels: tC Hatchback. Available styles include 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A), 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M), Spec 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and Spec 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Scion tC?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Scion tC trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Scion tC Base is priced between $5,995 and$5,995 with odometer readings between 119124 and119124 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Scion tC Spec is priced between $6,719 and$6,719 with odometer readings between 114788 and114788 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Scion tCS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Scion tC for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2008 tCS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,995 and mileage as low as 114788 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Scion tC.

Can't find a used 2008 Scion tCs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Scion tC for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $18,980.

Find a used Scion for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $22,234.

Find a used certified pre-owned Scion tC for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $19,043.

Find a used certified pre-owned Scion for sale - 1 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $21,789.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 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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