2010 Scion tC Review

Pros & Cons

  • Ample standard equipment allotment, peppy engine, useful backseat and trunk, extensive customization options.
  • Scant headroom for taller drivers, middling fuel economy, lacks performance credentials of some rivals.
List Price Estimate
$3,387 - $5,263

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The highly customizable 2010 Scion tC offers decent performance with room for four at a reasonable price. As affordable two-doors go, it's a solid choice.

Vehicle overview

The 2010 Scion tC is a two-door hatchback coupe that parent company Toyota has aimed squarely at the 20-something crowd. These drivers likely want rides that are stylish, customizable and affordable, and the tC is a success on all three counts. Note that the tC is not a performance car, so if it's back-road thrills you're after, we'd advise you to look elsewhere. Otherwise, there's just not much wrong with the tC, even though it's now entering its sixth year of production.

As has been the case since the car's debut, the tC offers a comfortable ride and adequate handling for most tastes. A notable tC feature is its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which provides more low-end grunt than most cars in this class. Fuel economy isn't impressive, though, so there's a penalty for that extra displacement and punch.

The 2010 Scion tC also boasts a cleanly styled cabin with an accommodating rear seat. Two adults can fit back there, a rare feat for a car of this nature, and the seatback even reclines. The hatchback's cargo area is also roomy with the rear seats up; flip them down and you'll have 35 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.

In addition to the tC's solid list of standard equipment, there are numerous accessories available at the Scion dealership, including stylized wheels, body kits, upgraded stereo systems and various interior accents. Additionally, if the 2.4-liter engine leaves you wanting more, the dealer-installed supercharger boosts horsepower up to 200. That puts the tC's straight-line acceleration (and price) in the same league as pocket rockets like the Honda Civic Si coupe, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen GTI; however, all of the above are far more engaging to drive. Our advice would be to set your sights on the base tC and cross-shop it with other compact two-doors like the regular Honda Civic, the base Mini Cooper and the Volkswagen Rabbit.

2010 Scion tC models

The 2010 Scion tC is a two-door hatchback coupe offered in two trim levels – base and the limited-production Release Series 6.0. Standard features on the base tC include 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 a dedicated iPod interface. The Release Series 6.0 features unique blue paint and interior trim, a special matte black exterior graphic, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an upgraded Alpine stereo and navigation system head unit.

There are no factory options, though dealers offer a wide array of styling and accessory upgrades, including an upgraded Pioneer stereo, satellite radio and a touchscreen navigation system.

2010 Highlights

In its final year before a complete redesign, the Scion tC is unchanged save for a new special Release Series 6.0 edition.

Performance & mpg

The Scion tC is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 161 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices consist of the standard five-speed manual and an optional four-speed automatic.

The four-cylinder's unusually robust low-end torque is helpful around town, but all-out acceleration is uninspiring, with the 0-60-mph sprint falling in the mid-8-second range. The dealer-installed supercharger boosts output to 200 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, which cuts the 0-60 time down to 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, while the manual is even worse at 20/27/23.

Safety

The 2010 Scion tC comes with antilock disc brakes, front side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag 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 passenger protection. Side-impact testing yielded five-star ratings for both front and rear passengers.

Driving

The 2010 Scion tC handles nimbly enough, though you certainly won't confuse it with a sporty rival like the Mini Cooper. Ride quality is relatively compliant for a budget-priced compact coupe. The 2.4-liter inline-4 pulls eagerly at low engine speeds, a welcome departure from the high-revving power delivery that's more the norm in this segment. The manual transmission is smooth-shifting, but it exacts a notable penalty at the pump.

Interior

The tC's interior features some upscale materials, though there's still plenty of hard plastic mixed in. The standard Pioneer sound system is crisp and powerful, but the head unit may frustrate some operators with its small buttons and busy faceplate. The standard iPod interface is a welcome feature, but we'd suggest opting for one of the upgraded stereo head units for better iPod control.

Thanks to a relatively long 106.3-inch wheelbase, the tC provides surprisingly good legroom for rear passengers, though rear headroom is limited for taller folks. The split rear seatbacks can independently recline up to 135 degrees, a remarkable feature among compact two-doors. Owners will appreciate the wide hatchback opening and 35 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the rear seats folded.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2010 Scion tC.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

This is a real nice machine!
jdlewis95,04/01/2011
I just bought a 2010 TC brand new off the showroom. I have owned nothing but BMW's for the last 17 years. My last BMW was a 2008 328 Xi, great car but it was $47000.00 and I have 2 kids coming up for college in a few years, so I wanted to get a new car that was close to the BMW comfort and handling for less $$. I fell in love with the TC. It has the Camry motor, and the TC weighs much less, so it's fast with 161 HP. With the HUGE top open and the windows down it feels like a convertible. It has ABS brakes, and it handles like a German car. The stereo is great, the Bluetooth is nice, the steering is awesome, and the car has awesome power...and it's $27000.00 less than the BMW. Very NICE!!!!
When you want "city power"...
Katy,04/19/2010
Scions are a fun, inexpensive, reliable breed of cars. My tC is 7 months old now and has been on several road trips already with two big ones planned in the future. This car is built for what I call "city power", meaning that I don't race it or expect to do lots of long haul driving or commutes. I'm a city girl who like the feel and look of this sleek vehicle. It's like a grown-up's sports car without the look of grandpa's midlife crisis. You can get this car standard without any special features and still drive off feeling like you bought a fun, high-end car (for under 20K).
Fantastic, Ultra-Reliable Car
ray137,01/19/2011
Mine is a black 2006. This same model carries all the way over to 2010. I now have 115,000 on it and the only things I have done are oil changes, transmission fluid, new brakes, and tires. Still runs like brand new. You will not find any other car out there for under 18 grand that has all the features of this vehicle. The 5-speed shifter is buttery smooth, even at 115,000. There is plenty of low and mid-range torque. I drop it into 3rd and hit the gas to merge onto highway and it blasts forward with no issues. Although the huge glass sunroof makes it top heavy, the car still handles corners very well. Plenty of power. If you want more power, then you will have to pay much more than 18 grand.
Great Car
RayL,04/25/2010
This is a great car to drive. Not only do you get a very nice price you get alot of features included. I do disagree on the ratings of performance it has great power for the engine you are working with, but it is the styling of the car which got me hooked on this car. You will have a smile everytime you drive it.

Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
161 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
161 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
161 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
161 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2010 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
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 2010 Scion tC

Used 2010 Scion tC Overview

The Used 2010 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), Release Series 6.0 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and Release Series 6.0 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Scion tC?

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Which used 2010 Scion tCS are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2010 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