2009 Scion tC

J.D. Power Award Recipient
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$17,000-$17,800
$16,150-$16,910
20 CITY / 28 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability

Overview

What Changed for 2009:
  • Updated seat fabric
  • tC Spec package discontinued
Overview
The tC is Scion's sports coupe, and the best-selling model among those offered in Scion dealerships. The tC was introduced in the summer of 2004 and has received updates on an annual basis ever since. The exterior styling was freshened for the 2008 model year, leaving only an interior fabric update as a change for the 2009 model year.

The tC is available in any of seven colors: Flint Mica, Super White, Black Sand Pearl, Classic Silver Metallic, Sizzling Crimson Mica, Wave Line Pearl and Nautical Blue Metallic. Interiors feature dark charcoal fabric.

All Scion models also come with complimentary factory-recommended maintenance services for the first 5,000- and 10,000-mile intervals performed by a Scion or Toyota dealership.

Model Lineup
Scion models come in \"monospec,\" meaning there is only one trim level, leaving consumers to select only color and transmission options, though many accessories are available. The tC features a standard panorama glass power moonroof, rear tonneau (cargo) cover and electronic rear hatch release. Other standard features include power steering; power windows/door locks/mirrors; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; anti-lock brakes (ABS); six air bags; Vehicle Stability Control; audio controls on the steering wheel; tilt steering column; cruise control; and a first-aid kit. Also standard is a 160-watt Pioneer audio system with iPod connectivity and a mini-jack port.

Front bucket seats offer driver's-side height and thigh support adjustments and a walk-in function with memory for both the seat and backrest. For easy access to the rear seats, a wider step-in space is available at the push of a lever at the top of the seatback. The rear seat can recline to 45 degrees and can be adjusted into 10 different positions. The 60/40-split rear seats fold forward for a nearly flat cargo floor more than 8.5 feet long.

The standard 160-watt Pioneer audio system in the tC includes iPod connectivity and a mini-jack port located beneath the heat/ventilation/air-conditioning (HVAC) controls for easier access. This standard head unit integrates track, artist and album information from the iPod into a one-line display on the head unit's screen. Connectivity is achieved by plugging the iPod into a port via a connector cable. Music is controlled through the head unit and the audio control buttons mounted on the steering wheel. The mini-jack port allows users to listen to their portable music collection through the tC's Pioneer speakers.

Scion also offers an optional Pioneer premium audio system which adds several features to the standard head unit, including the ability to download \"skins\" to play on the organic electroluminescent (OEL) screen. Customers can download images, 4-second video clips and 8-second movies from Pioneer's Web site. For personalization, this Pioneer software also allows customers to burn their own images and movies onto a CD and upload them onto the available head unit. The faceplate light also changes from deep orange to blue at the touch of a button.

Powertrain
The 2009 Scion tC draws its power from a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with double-overhead cam and Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that provides 161 hp. The engine's output reaches the front wheels through either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain earns California's Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification. The unit is rated at 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway, regardless of which transmission the buyer selects.

Safety
The 2009 Scion tC is equipped with ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA) as well as driver and front passenger dual-stage air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, and front and rear side curtain air bags. Vehicle Stability Control with traction control also is standard equipment, and the tC even comes with a first-aid kit.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Scion tC receives 5 stars (the agency's highest rating) in frontal crash testing for the driver and 4 stars for the front passenger, as well as 5-star side-impact scores for both front- and rear-seat occupants. The tC receives 4 stars for rollover resistance. As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not crash-tested the tC.

Technology
Because in-car entertainment systems are popular aftermarket accessories, the tC's optional premium audio system has rear head unit outputs allowing for the addition of external amps to boost power to additional speakers and subwoofers. All head unit features remain unchanged if this feature is used.

Both the standard and premium head units retain key Scion audio system features such as Scion Sound Processing (SSP) so listeners can choose from three pre-set equalizer settings, satellite radio compatibility, a user-customizable welcome screen, MP3 and WMA capability, Automatic Sound Leveling (ASL) and Sound Retouch Technology (SRT), which provides clearer CD sound quality, according to Scion. Both systems feature 6 speakers: a tweeter and a speaker in each front door panel, plus two full-range speakers in the rear. Also available is a Scion navigation system with a 7-inch touch-screen display.

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J.D. Power Ratings

Automotive Performance Execution and Layout
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Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical?
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Body & Interior Quality - Design?
Overall Quality - Mechanical?
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Features & Accessories Quality - Design?
Powertrain Quality - Mechanical?
Overall Quality?
Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical?

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*Please note that JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings may not include all information used to determine J.D. Power awards. Learn more about how J.D. Power Ratings are calculated.
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