2009 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
$5,500 - $7,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2009 Scion tC models

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.

2009 Highlights

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

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. 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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

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 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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Scion tC.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great Gas Mileage
csigrrl47,02/04/2015
2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I bought this 2009 TC in 2008, brand new, I have had my first set of break put on last year 2014, I'm on my second battery only, the first set of tires that came on it were awful, they didn't align the car right so I chewed up them in less than 30,000 miles, but bridgestone on lasted 60,000 miles plus, have my third set of tires on them they are continentals great tire, the only problem I have is in the last two years my engine light comes on and its because the gas gap is bad I have replaced it twice, for some reason it lets air in or something because I pulls a code from my mechanic easy fix, but annoying. Gets me about 33-34 mpg if I don't run it hard. Rattling starting. Very trusted car.
My first ever car purchase..& I would do it again!
Caitlin Martin,03/22/2016
2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I bought my 2009 Scion tC used in 2013 with about 60k miles on it. Since owning it and now at over 124k miles I have never had to put any money to it besides your typical maintenance; oil changes, wipers, new tires! It literally is like indestructible, it has never given me issues. Even in the snow, I live in northern New Jersey and with just my typical all weather tires, I can get through the snow pretty well with taking my time. This honestly is the best car a young person can buy, I certainly got my moneys worth from it. The only thing I can complain about is the acceleration. It has the sporty look to it but drives more like an economy car, so its a little deceiving. Gas mileage is pretty good. But all in all, a great overall vehicle, VERY RELIABLE! It will be a sad day when I have to let her go to get into something a little bigger, but until that day comes I enjoy having the pleasure to have an awesome car that will do me good in the meantime.
Would buy again, oh wait I did.
serith,01/08/2013
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)
Should have bought a Civic
ihatemytc,08/06/2008
Cheaply put together car after of month of driving, things start to rattle. Very cheaply put together. The sound is awful you can't turn it up with out it crackling the speakers. After breaking the car, in it just feels so cheap. I want out of this thing and back into a Civic, worst mistake of my life is buying this car. I thought Toyota was quality.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2009 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
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Acceptable
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2009 Scion tC

Used 2009 Scion tC Overview

The Used 2009 Scion tC is offered in the following submodels: tC Hatchback. Available styles include 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Scion tC?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Scion tC trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Scion tC Base is priced between $5,500 and$7,995 with odometer readings between 92225 and109032 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 2009 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) 2009 Scion tC for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2009 tCS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,500 and mileage as low as 92225 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 2009 Scion tC.

Can't find a used 2009 Scion tCs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Scion tC for sale - 2 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,073.

Find a used Scion for sale - 7 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $20,496.

Find a used certified pre-owned Scion tC for sale - 5 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $19,954.

Find a used certified pre-owned Scion for sale - 9 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $25,662.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 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.

Check out Scion lease specials
Check out Scion tC lease specials