2013 Scion tC Preview

Jeff Youngs | Feb 28, 2013
  • Compact coupe emphasizes affordable features
  • Car appeals to Mmillennials and first-time owners
  • Scion tC combines comfortable suspension with sporty look
  • 2013 Release Series 8.0 limited edition


The Scion tC is a compact coupe with a sporty look, produced by the Scion division of Toyota. It is a 3-door liftback, and its target drivers are young, first-time vehicle owners. The manufacturer stresses the vechicle's comfort, roominess, and features for the price, as well as the versatile list of options. Competitors include the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra Coupe, Volkswagen Beetle, among others. The 2012 Scion tC carries over to the 2013 model year with very few changes; however, Scion is introducing a new, limited edition tC (only 2,000 units will be available), called the Release Series 8.0, which is sportier and more luxurious than the standard model.

Exterior Features

The standard Scion tC is available with single trim and features 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, panoramic sunroof, and available dealer-installed rear spoiler, and cargo cover. The Release Series 8.0 offers upgraded wheels, a lower and sportier suspension, paddle shifters, upgraded interior, center-placed exhaust, and an aerodynamic body kit. Standard colors include White, Black, Cement, Silver, Magnetic Gray, Nautical Blue, and Sizzling Crimson. The Release Series 8.0 is Bright Red.

Interior Features

Standard features include air conditioning, cruise control, some power accessories, adjustable driver's seat and steering wheel, reclining and folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, and an 8-speaker sound system. Cloth upholstery is standard; the Release Series 8.0 adds upgraded black upholstery with red stitching. Cargo capacity is 14.7 cu. ft., or 34.5 cu. ft. with rear seats folded.

Optional Features

Automatic and manual transmission are available, and Scion tC offers a wide range of options for the vehicle's exterior and interior. Exterior optional features include a high-profile rear lip spoiler, paint protection film for the hood and front fender, a sporty graphic for the lower body, rear bumper appliqué, B-pillar appliqué, fog lights, mud flaps, and 19-inch wheels and alloy wheel locks. Interior optional features include a cargo cover, cargo net, tote and/or tray, proprietary security system, remote start, illuminated door sills, interior light kit, basic or premium floor mats, cargo mats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, door sill enhancements, and a leather-wrapped shift knob. BeSpoke premium audio system and Sirius satellite radio are available. Performance options include a TRD high-performance brake kit, two styles of TRD oil cap, TRD shift knob, sway bar set, performance exhaust system, front strut tie brace, and lowering springs. Scion also offers a range of protection and service options. Additional features on the Release Series 8.0 include a red-stitched interior and a two-tone spoiler.

Under the Hood

The standard power plant is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 180 horsepower and 173 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission available.

Fuel Economy

Fuel-economy figures for the 2012 Scion tC are 23/31/26 mpg (city/highway/combined) as rated by the EPA.


Safety features include antilock disc brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist, and a brake-throttle override system, plus active front head restraints and a total of eight air bags including front side, front knee, and side curtain. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Scion tC "Good" ratings across the board, and noted the Scion tC as a Top Safety Pick. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the Scion tC receives a 5-star overall rating (out of 5 stars); 4 stars for frontal collision; and 5 stars for side impact crash protection.


The Scion tC underwent a considerable technological upgrade for the 2011 model year, and some of these changes have undergone minor adjustments and refinements since then. The engine introduced in that year provided an increase in horsepower of more than 10 percent, mainly due to a more sophisticated intake and dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i).

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