2016 Scion tC Review
2016 Scion tC Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Quick acceleration
- roomy and reclining rear seats with easy ingress/egress
- sporty character inside and out
- lots of standard features.
- Elevated road noise
- cheap plastic cabin trim
- no rearview camera available.
The 2016 Scion tC gets a new 7-inch touchscreen interface as standard, plus keyless entry and ignition, a rear windshield wiper and minor interior trim upgrades.
The 2016 Scion tC is an appealing entry-level coupe thanks to a roomy cabin, a generous features list and snappy performance.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.52 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$165/mo for tC Base
Avg. Compact Car
Toyota created the Scion brand to add some pizazz to a corporate image that had become rather stodgy. At this point, it's safe to say that Scion has pretty much achieved its goal, offering a small range of reasonably priced, fashion-forward cars with a lot of room for personalization. The 2016 Scion tC is a two-door, four-seat hatchback coupe that fits right in the middle of the Scion range. While not the snappiest model available — that's the separately reviewed Scion FR-S — it's still a capable coupe with ample appeal.
The Scion tC has been around a while but still has some appealing qualities.
Its sporty looks and fun-to-drive nature may make the headlines, but the 2016 Scion tC's most outstanding feature is what it offers in terms of value. Standard equipment includes Bluetooth, an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system, a 7-inch touchscreen display, 18-inch wheels and a panoramic sunroof: pretty impressive given the modest price point. And while the Edmunds "B" rated tC doesn't receive the best fuel economy ratings from the EPA (26 mpg combined), we discovered that the EPA number is pretty easy to beat in real-world testing. Furthering the case for the tC are its decent-sized backseat and easily accessible cargo area, as there's both good rear-seat real estate and respectable storage for a coupe.
If the 2016 Scion tC has an Achilles' heel, it's an overall lack of refinement. The interior surfaces seem a bit cheap compared to other offerings, and at highway speeds there's significant road and wind noise. Also, the limited rearward visibility is annoying, especially as Scion doesn't offer a rearview camera for the tC. Moreover, both the suspension tuning and the seats are firmer than they need to be.
Viable alternatives in this segment include the Kia Forte Koup, which is a solid choice thanks to its comfort, performance and value. Also worth test-driving are the funky Hyundai Veloster and the upscale Volkswagen Beetle. The 2016 Honda Civic coupe is certainly one to watch, as Honda appears to be back on its game after a disappointing run in recent years. Overall, the 2016 Scion tC satisfies as an affordable and practical car with some spunk, but we recommend checking around a bit before making your final decision.
Performance & mpg
The front-wheel-drive 2016 Scion tC has a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that generates 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, while a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and automatic rev-matching on downshifts is optional.
During Edmunds performance testing, a Scion tC with a manual transmission went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. An automatic did the same sprint in 7.8 seconds. Both are respectably quick times for this class of car.
Whether it's equipped with the manual or automatic transmission, the 2016 tC returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway). In Edmunds testing we found it easy to replicate those numbers, and drivers with a light foot can do considerably better. On our 116-mile mixed-driving evaluation loop, we observed 32.6 mpg.
Standard safety features on the 2016 Scion tC include stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front headrests. In Edmunds.com brake testing, a tC stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, an average distance in its class.
In government crash testing, the tC has received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the tC earned the highest score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test as well as the side-impact and roof-strength tests. It earned a second-highest rating of "Acceptable" in small-overlap frontal-offset testing and a "Good" rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts (head restraints and seats).
Though the 179-hp four-cylinder engine in the 2016 Scion tC isn't the most thrilling powertrain in the class, it's got enough power to pull the tC around with some authority. This is the same workhorse motor used in the Camry and other products in the wider Toyota family, but since the tC is relatively small and light, it feels more eager here. If you're up for shifting your own gears, the six-speed manual is smooth and easy to operate. But the more popular automatic is just fine (it even matches revs for you on downshifts) and fuel economy won't suffer, either.
Sporty styling is another point in the 2016 Scion tC's favor.
On the road, the tC may not be particularly exciting compared to the rear-drive FR-S, but well-weighted, precise steering and the car's light-on-its-tires nature make for respectable fun. The ride quality is mediocre, however, as surface irregularities seem to produce more jiggles and vibrations than the norm. Additional drawbacks include excessive tire noise and an incessant exhaust drone that sounds more like a leaf blower than a sporty coupe.
As with the exterior, the 2016 Scion tC's cabin has an overtly sporty look. With its thick, flat-bottom steering wheel, cradling seat bolsters and controls canted toward the driver, the tC strives for a high-performance sports car aesthetic. Unfortunately, the cabin's ambience is sullied a bit by the abundance of cheap plastic trim and thinly padded armrests. Happily, the touchscreen interface is clear and easy to use, and its smartphone integration connects Internet radio, Yelp and other popular social media applications.
From the standpoint of practicality, the tC is a top choice among compact coupes. The rear seats have above-average legroom, and getting in and out of the back is exceptionally easy by two-door standards. The rear seatbacks even recline, a feature typically found in crossover SUVs (and never in this segment). Behind the rear seats the tC can hold up to 14.7 cubic feet of cargo, while folding those seatbacks yields a total of 34.5 cubic feet of space. The hatchback body style also means it's easier to load bulky items in the tC than in traditional coupes like the Kia Forte Koup.
2016 Scion tC models
The 2016 Scion tC is a compact, five-passenger hatchback coupe offered in a single trim level.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED front accent lamps, folding side mirrors with LED turn indicators, keyless entry and ignition, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a panoramic sunroof with dual manual sunshades, a six-way adjustable (manual) driver seat with height adjustment and one-touch track and seatback angle memory, a leather-wrapped shift knob and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, silver interior accents, reclining and folding 60/40-split rear seatbacks, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen display, voice controls and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with HD radio, Aha smartphone-app integration, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.
Standard equipment is very generous on the 2016 Scion tC, including this 7-inch touchscreen interface.
As with other Scions, a wide selection of dealer-sourced accessories is available, including 19-inch wheels, foglights, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) performance parts for the suspension and drivetrain and an upgraded BeSpoke touchscreen audio system with navigation.
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
More than meets the eye.
2014 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
My particular model is a 2014 with a Six-speed manual. I have had it since the late spring of 2014. My choices were down to three cars: the 2014 Corolla S manual, the Scion FR-S and the tC. My criteria was relatively simple, first it HAD to be a manual. Secondly, it had to have decent cargo room. During my test drives, the Corolla was crossed off. While it is a good car with some … incredible features and nice looks, Toyota gears the manual paired with its 1.8L more for fuel economy, so the gear range is spaced rather widely apart and I wasn't as keen on its very high revving engine. The FR-S had good performance and very good gear selection. But while it is a good car for somebody who can garage it during the winter, it doesn't make the most practical machine where my average commute to work is about 20 miles and measurable snowfall is a possibility from November to May. So I settled on this. As a plus, the tC is a hatchback, which I prefer to trunks. Performance-wise, it is not an FR-S, but the power to weight ratio of the car is very good for its size. The 2.5L engine is the exact same unit found on the Camry and it is the closest thing to a bullet-proof engine you can find. Problems with this powerplant are very rare and it has a 10,000 mile oil change interval with Synthetic oil from the factory. It uses a timing chain instead of a belt, so it will easily go over 100,000 miles with only the chain tensioner needing to be adjusted once in a while (all this meaning lower cost of maintenance). The shift throws feel very good, as does the clutch pedal. Because it is a front wheel drive, it tends to under-steer a little bit while under power, but you can still drive it like a knucklehead if you wish to. At the same time, it calms down nice for long road trips. Gas mileage is not as good as a Camry even with the same engine due to how it has been geared, but if you stick to non-ethanol regular gas and/or premium it hits the target MPG numbers nicely. In my case, short shifting helps to gain a little more MPG in the city, so I tend to average right around 29.5 to 30 MPG for my mixed road commutes (even with the AC on and going full blast). Seat comfort is very good IMHO, mainly because Toyota put about the same amount of padding in these seats as the Camrys and what I like most is I have enough room to stretch out and adjust my posture in the seat a little during long drives. By comparison the FR-S seat, while comfortable, is form fitting like a fighter cockpit and I can only tolerate that for so long. Rear seat comfort is excellent As for the factory Pioneer sound system... put it on the "Powerful" setting and it will make you feel like you are in a live concert. Trust me, include testing out the sound system as part of your test drive and it will probably win you over. Others might complain about the interior and dash being "cheap plastic" but I will give Toyota credit, after two years of use it has not developed any rattles or squeaks. Road noise is not excessive in my example and I like how the engine sounds at highway speeds. After 10 years of use, it will probably be the same. One extra I splurged for during purchase was the BeSpoke Audio, which gives me Aha and a factory navigation system. Aha works well, but I seldom use the internet radio because it is a real data hog. Instead, I have nearly 3000 tunes loaded onto two memory sticks, which I alternate in the standard USB port. The navigation feature works great and is easy to understand/use. I have only encountered two drawbacks with my tC. First, the nose sits a little low, so be careful if you go up a steep driveway or park near a curb to avoid scrapes. Secondly, while the tires are good for all-season use, major snowfall or snow with ice underneath can cause problems as they are NOT snow tires. You can get around, but plan your driving route accordingly. If you go for a used tC, the 14 through 16 models are pretty much identical for the most part. The 16 adds a smart key with push-button start and a rear window wiper (both first offered on the 2014 limited production Monogram series tC). I am considering trading in my 14 for a 16 so I can get these features. The 16's radio has a 7 inch touch screen and to do it, they sacrificed the CD player. In my case, it should be possible to swap in my 2014 radio since the 16 doesn't have a backup camera. Other than that, the engine, wheels, body, moonroof and interior are identical. If you shop for used, get a Certified one with a good maintenance history and the added warranty coverage (it will likely have new tires as well). A new one will give you standard Scion Boost/Toyota Care with 2 years, 25,000 mile paid maintenance. Not sure what Scion going away in 2017 will do to resale values, but mechanically the car is as solid as any Toyota and can last decades with proper maintenance while looking good as well.
4 out of 5 stars
great sporty commuter car
2014 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
It's no doubt why they call this "The King of The Coupe". Loved my 2013 so much, I am trading it in to get a 2014! When I bought my 13' the 14' was just outside my price range. Now they dropped the 14 to just over the price of 13, making it affordable for me. Was a good daily, fun to drive. To bad they discontinued scion and then stop the tC too from the carry over to Toyota. Horrible … decision to remove the top selling car from the Scion line.
5 out of 5 stars
Built like a tank
2014 Scion tC Scion 10 Series 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
I have owned over a hundred vehicles. I am very impressed with this one.I have the 14 10 series tc. I usually buy boxy or station wagon like or suv styles,I wanted something different from everyone else. I was actually buying another Prius V, my 2nd. They were doing my paperwork when I spotted the Scion on the showroom floor.I walked around it and then jumped in it,I love the style. I am … 6' 1" I could not believe all of the room,I even fit comfortably in the backseat,and it was easy to get in.I could not believe how well it drives and handles,a bigger and better Celica replacement.The Camry engine and revised suspension,steering,transmission are amazing.Huge hatchback opening,versatile
4.5 out of 5 stars
Much improved for 2014
2014 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
I bought a 2014 Scion tC manual transmission in blue. It has about 3200 miles on it now. It handles well in rain and snow (just had our 3rd snow storm here in Pennsylvania), It has sporty handling in the twisties due to suspension upgrades for 2014. Looks like no other car, the new wheels are beautiful and hide brake dust. The transmission is very smooth and precise. It is Camry … reliable, lighter and quicker than a Camry though. It has plenty of torque which you can feel during takeoff. The HD stereo is AMAZING! 0-60 time per Car and Driver is 6.9 seconds for the 6sp manual transmission. All this for less than 20k. Plus free service/oil changes! So far I am very pleased.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2016 Scion tC, so we've included reviews for other years of the tC since its last redesign.
2016 tC Highlights
|Combined MPG||26 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$165/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- 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%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestAcceptable
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood