2011 Scion tC Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Comfortable ride
- roomy, reclining rear seat
- smart iPod interface
- easy purchase experience.
- Droning engine and exhaust note with automatic transmission
- cheap interior materials
- not as sporty as it looks.
The new 2011 Scion tC is a good choice among compact coupes thanks to its roomy interior and generous cargo capacity. Just don't expect it to drive as sporty as it looks.
When it debuted seven years ago, the Scion tC quickly became a runaway success with America's most youthful drivers. With its hip styling, standout stereo and plenty of customization possibilities, the first tC was a cool car to buy and be seen in. It was to 20-somethings what the Mercury Grand Marquis is to 80-somethings. But as with all cool things, the moment passed, and together with the poor economy hitting young folks especially hard, the tC's popularity has suffered.
That brings us to today, where the fully redesigned 2011 Scion tC is meant to recover the lost mojo. Though it is based on the same platform as the old car, the tC has been improved in a number of key areas. The punchy four-cylinder engine has been swapped out for an even punchier four-cylinder borrowed from the latest Camry and other Toyotas. It produces 19 more horsepower than before and, more important, boasts improved fuel economy whether you opt for the easy-to-row six-speed manual transmission or the new six-speed automatic transmission.
Scion says it has tuned the suspension for improved handling and then replaced the hydraulic power steering with an electric system for improved fuel economy, but neither is successful in transforming the tC into a truly sporty car. Despite its coupe body style, chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel and well-bolstered seats, the tC is very much all show and no go. Mind you, that's OK if you want the look of a sport coupe without the rough ride and general aggressive nature of one.
With that in mind, the latest tC could work out well for a lot of 20-somethings and college students. Its hatchback body style lets you carry bulky items that never fit into a 2011 Honda Civic or 2011 Kia Forte Koup, while the rear seat's reclining backrest and ample legroom give even your gangly friends the room to stretch out. The tC also takes into account the younger generation's proclivity for electronics with a standard audio system designed specifically for an iPod.
In sum, the 2011 Scion tC takes everything that worked for the old car and adds a variety of welcome enhancements. Even so, only time and the youth of America will determine if it's enough to make the tC cool again.
2011 Scion tC models
The 2011 Scion tC is a compact, five-passenger hatchback coupe available in a single trim level. Standard features include 18-inch cast-aluminum wheels, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a panoramic sunroof, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, reclining and folding 60/40-split rear seats, driver track and seatback angle memory (for rear seat access), and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with CD player, auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB interface and RCA output jacks.
Aside from an automatic transmission, there are no factory options. However, there are a number of notable dealer-installed items, including Bluetooth, a navigation system, satellite radio, a pair of upgraded stereo head units, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, seven-color interior mood lighting, remote ignition, a cargo cover, foglights and a rear spoiler.
Performance & mpg
The 2011 Scion tC is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine good for 180 hp and 173 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is the lone factory option. In performance testing, a tC with a manual transmission went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, while a tC with an automatic did it in 8 flat -- both are quick for the compact coupe and hatchback class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined regardless of transmission.
The 2011 Scion tC comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front headrests. In Edmunds.com brake testing, the tC came to a stop from 60 mph in a respectable 123 feet.
The 2011 Scion tC can best be described as "urban agile," meaning a car that's responsive and involving enough to keep you entertained when comfortably commuting around town, but not so sporty that you'd really relish driving it enthusiastically on a back road somewhere. The steering doesn't provide much feel, and the stability control has a tendency to kick in frequently during aggressive driving. The Scion tC won't put you to sleep, but you will have more fun in other coupes.
Meanwhile, the 180-hp four-cylinder engine provides good power for the class, especially down low in the rev range. If you're game for shifting your own gears, the six-speed manual is the best choice, as the engine accelerates significantly more quickly and doesn't seem to suffer from the rather agricultural droning that plagues it when the automatic transmission is in place.
Though the tC isn't especially sporty to drive, the interior does its best to indicate otherwise. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is incredibly thick, as if pulled from a racecar. The controls are canted toward the driver and the very comfortable front seats are nicely bolstered. These aspects of the interior might be a bit contrived, but they work well. Unfortunately, the interior is filled with hard, flimsy plastics that seem cheaper than those found in the cabins of the competition. In particular, the center armrest is rock hard.
Yet the tC does have notable advantages. Cargo space is one, as the tC's hatchback design and folding rear seat create a relatively cavernous cargo area that puts other compact coupes to shame. The rear seats also recline and features impressive legroom, meaning even 6-footers can sit back there. Front seat room has also improved for this new-generation tC.
Scion identifies the stereo as a key attribute for young drivers and as such, the tC gets a standard head unit that would easily be an upgrade (or not available at all) in its rivals. Its iPod interface is especially impressive, as a large knob mimics the iPod's ring wheel, controlling volume and exploring the various menu items displayed on the sizable screen. Two additional head units with even larger screens and navigation capability are also available.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.9%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
Before us stand a three-drawer Ikea dresser and a pair of narrow bookcases. They call for a pickup truck or an SUV, but at the moment, the only car available for moving this load of furniture is a 2011 Scion tC. This is the exact predicament college students and typically nomadic post-grad 20-somethings face every year or two when the time comes to move out of the dorm or yet another crappy apartment.
If they (or we) have a typical economy sedan or coupe like a Honda Civic or Kia Forte, all that stuff just isn't going to fit. But with the hatchback configuration of the new-generation tC, those designer pieces from the Akborg collection fit with a bit of finagling and the Tetris song playing in our heads. The next night, the tC's reclining backseat with surprisingly spacious legroom accommodates a pair of average-size dudes with a second pair of 6-footers up front.
Indeed, it's this versatility that makes the all-new 2011 Scion tC stand out from the economy car crowd. Oh, there are certainly other things going for it, but the tC's ability to be the only car you need while not cramping your style should remain its top selling point for the average tC buyer, who has a median age of 26, Scion tells us. Whether the new tC is different enough from the old car — and subsequently cool enough — is another story altogether.
Used 2011 Scion tC Overview
The Used 2011 Scion tC is offered in the following submodels: tC Hatchback. Available styles include 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A), and 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M). The Used 2011 Scion tC comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed manual. The Used 2011 Scion tC comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 2 yr./ 25000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2011 Scion tC?
Price comparisons for Used 2011 Scion tC trim styles:
- The Used 2011 Scion tC Base is priced between $8,475 and$15,998 with odometer readings between 67271 and171319 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 2011 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) 2011 Scion tC for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2011 tCS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,475 and mileage as low as 67271 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 2011 Scion tC.
Can't find a used 2011 Scion tCs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Scion tC for sale.
Find a used Scion for sale.
Find a used certified pre-owned Scion tC for sale.
Find a used certified pre-owned Scion for sale.
Should I lease or buy a 2011 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.