The 2013 Scion tC is a moderately priced compact five-passenger hatchback coupe with a sporty look and a limited assortment of features for a base MSRP of $18,735 when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission and $19,725 for the optional six-speed automatic.
Two years ago, we test drove a Scion tC, a 2011 model, with the six-speed manual transmission and our assessment was then that it was a decent vehicle with a moderate range of features, delivering good mileage and a comfortable ride for not a lot of money.
Recently, we took another look at the Scion tC - this time a 2013 Scion tC with the six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2013 Scion tC is essentially the same as the 2011 and, after a week behind the wheel, our assessment is about the same with one caveat.
We prefer the six-speed manual transmission to the six-speed automatic for getting the best performance out of the tC and, in addition, we were a bit annoyed at the power train noise from the automatic that we did not have with the manual transmission.
Our test vehicle was a Classic Silver Metallic Scion tC with a black interior equipped with all of the base model standard features.
Our 2013 Scion was equipped with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder DOHC engine delivering 180 horsepower with 173 lb.-ft. of torque, Six-speed Automatic Transmission, Electric Power Steering (EPS), McPherson Strut Front Suspension, Double Wishbone Rear Suspension, and 18-inch Alloy Wheels with P225/45R18 tires.
This power train delivers very acceptable fuel economy at 23/31 mpg city/highway similar to the manual transmission power train.
A very nice two-panel Panoramic Glass Moon Roof with Power Tilt/Slide and Sunshades is standard on the tC. Also included are Power Outside Mirrors with LED turn signals that are color keyed to the body color, Projector-Beam Headlamps and Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers.
The interior includes Front Sport Bucket Seats (manually operated only) which are generous and comfortable. Included also are a Leather Trimmed Tilt and Telescopic 3-spoke Sport Steering Wheel with Audio Controls, Power Windows and Door Locks, Remote Keyless Entry, Cruise Control, Air Conditioning and 60/40 Split Reclining, Fold Flat Rear Seats.
Some observations from out test drive were that the canting of the center stack and its controls to the driver, the flat bottomed steering wheel and well bolstered seats, give the tC a sporty appearance inside. Front seat room and legroom are very good as we found in 2011. The doors are wide and enable easy entry and exit even for the bigger driver.
Further, the back seats do recline which helps with the legroom, but the space is not overly generous and, for us, would work best folded flat as cargo space rather than seating.
The interior fit is good. Finish materials, though, are a bit bland and not particularly imaginative, but are adequate to the task.
The audio system for the 2013 Scion tC is one of its stronger features designed to appeal to the tC target audience of young singles or couples in 20's age group.
Our tC was equipped with a base sound system powered by a Pioneer 300-watt AM/FM Radio with 8 speakers, auxiliary input plus USB port and iPOD connectivity.
You can upgrade to a BeSpoke Premium Audio Pioneer unit that includes a 5.8-inch view screen and runs the BeSpoke iPhone multi-media system app which provides access to a wide variety of personalized contented services. The cost of the BeSpoke upgrade is $495. The optional SiriusXM Satellite Radio is another $449.
The base Pioneer radio and 8 speakers in this vehicle performed very well significantly masking outside road noise and also, nicely, the power train noise from the automatic transmission.
There is a small array of mostly cosmetic options available for the tC, but our test vehicle did not include any of them.
The delivered price for this 2013 Scion tC was, including freight, $20,240.
For the record, Scion does offer another more sporty limited edition Release Series (RS) model in the Scion tC line.
For the Scion 2013 RS 8.0, there were only 2,000 were planned to be built to sell for approximately a $2,000 premium to the standard tC. The 2013 RS 8.0 models have a different design 18-inch wheels, lowered suspension, sports center exhaust, paddle shifters for the automatic transmission and special interior trim touches including texturized black fabric with red stitching.
Overall, the 2013 Scion tC is nicely executed, but would be more appealing with the six-speed manual transmission in the base tC or moving up to the tC Release Series 8.0.