Right after tC was launched in the summer of 2004, this writer remembers the
first time seeing one in public, it was a memorable experience because of what
occurred. The face of an unusual looking car greeted me upon exiting a Japanese
market. I walked over to check it out and marveled over the clean and sculptured
styling of the front end of the tC and then I examined the glass roof design and
stopped around the back of the car to look at the styling of the rear of the car,
thinking that the styling of the rear of the car was a little odd. At that time, two
Japanese high school girls exited the market and they too walked over to check
out the tC at a slightly faster pace than I did. After viewing it they both looked at
each other and said “kawaii kuruma,” which means “cute car” in Japanese. Only
later did the significance of this sink in, Scion’s designers absolutely designed this
car to appeal to Generation Y and the sales numbers and demographics show it
too. Scion has only been on the market for about 3 years and already Scion
buyers already have the lowest average age among all car brands. Not to mention
that there were over 80,000 tC Scions sold in the first full year of sales. Pretty
amazing stuff for a very young brand.
The Scion tC is a very appealing car in a market where sporty coupes seem to
have been abandoned by most car manufacturers. In the last few years the
Honda Prelude, Toyota Celica, Nissan 240 SX and many other coupes just
disappeared without being replaced by a newly updated model. The coupe
market is very small in the overall view of an automotive marketplace mostly
dominated, by full-size pickups, SUVs, and mid-size sedans. Scion’s timing could
not have been better to introduce a coupe with a fresh new look with features
never before seen in cars of this price range with things such as the standard glass
roof, Scion just filled a void in the marketplace and cashed in with 80,000 sales
and at the same time increased Scion’s coolness factor even more.
The engine in the Scion tC was taken from the last generation Toyota Camry
but make no mistake, this engine feels nothing like its counterpart in the Camry.
The tC is much lighter than a Camry and the exhaust note is actually audible and
sporty sounding. This 2.4 liter VVT-i engine provides 160 horsepower to
effortlessly propel the tC down the road at a pretty quick pace. The 4-speed
automatic transmission shifted smoothly and quickly on both the open road and
in bumper-to-bumper morning commutes. A five-speed is available for those who
want to add more driving excitement to the tC.
The inviting interior in the tC made long commutes in the car more tolerable
from the roominess which enabled driver and front seat passenger to stretch out
rather than being cramped like some compact coupes of the not-to-distant past.
The front seats will accommodate adults well over 6 feet tall even with the
potential headroom lost from the glass moonroof design. One of the biggest
surprises came from actually trying the rear seats on for size. The rear seats
proved comfy and actually had better than average legroom for a coupe design.
However, six-footers are still better off riding in the front seat. The true 4-place
seating in this coupe makes it much more practical than most coupes of the past.
If cargo room is needed, have no fear, just open the tC’s big hatchback and
watch how easily it can accommodate several suitcases and other bulky items
The tC is definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a fun to drive
coupe. Remember, Scions aren’t just for high school/college age people, there are
thousands of Scion owners in their 30s and 40s who use a tC as their daily
driver for the fine combination of comfort, style and affordability. Thanks to
Scion for heating up the coupe market.
|2006 Scion tC, Automatic Transmission
MSRP base price: $17,000
Engine: 2.4 liter VVT-i 4 cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Engine Code: 2AZ-FE
Horsepower/torque: 160 hp/163 lb-ft of torque
Front Suspension: Independent MacPherson Struts
Rear Suspension: Independent double wishbone
Steering: Power assisted Rack-and-pinion
Turning Circle: 36.1
Brakes: 4-wheel disc with Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Front Tires: P215/45ZR17
Rear Tires: P215/45ZR17
Wheels: 17 inch alloy
Curb Weight: 2,970 lbs.
Required Fuel: 87 octane regular unleaded.
Fuel Tank: 14.5 Gallons
EPA Fuel Economy: 23 MPG city/30 MPG hwy
TORC Test actual MPG: 25.54 MPG Average
Lowest MPG: 22.78 MPG
Highest MPG: 27.19 MPG
|Test Evaluation (5 stars is top rating)
Future Classic Potential.......***
Comfort and Room.............***
Fun to Drive......................***
Styling and Design..............***
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