MSRP: $18,725 - $19,725
Invoice: $17,789 - $18,739
MPG: 23 City / 31 Hwy
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2013 Scion tC Review

Although many test drivers say the 2013 Scion tC’s sporty exterior doesn't mean it has engaging performance, they are impressed with its spacious cabin, large cargo area and abundance of standard features.

The tC’s four-cylinder engine has one of the highest horsepower ratings in the class, but no reviewer says it stands out with best-in-class performance. The engine provides good acceleration, and both the standard manual transmission and optional automatic are called smooth, but it’s the 2013 tC’s ride quality and handling that garner complaints. Several auto writers say that the Scion tC’s steering is unresponsive and that its ride is bumpy. Reviewers don’t address the 2013 tC’s fuel economy ratings, but with an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg city/highway, the tC’s gas mileage is poor for the class. The 2013 tC also trails the class with a poor reliability score.

As with many small cars, automotive journalists complain about the Scion tC’s poor interior quality, and note that the cheap plastics that dominate the interior scuff easily. A few reviewers also say the tC also has poor rear visibility. These issues aside, many reviewers like the tC’s cabin. First, it’s well-equipped for the class, with standard features such as a USB port, Bluetooth and a Pioneer stereo. Second, the tC has an impressive amount of cargo space for a coupe, and many test drivers say its second-row seats fit adults comfortably.

  • "The car's appeal lies in spirited styling, lots of features, surprisingly good audio systems for the price and freedom to personalize the car. Actual over-the-road performance may not live up to everyone's expectations, with modest horsepower and soft suspension, but it's entirely adequate for a city and suburban runabout." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While the 2013 Scion tC looks the part of a sporty compact coupe, its handling performance doesn't quite live up to its appearance. However, the benefits of a generous list of features and a comfortable, roomy cabin should be plenty to attract the average driver." -- Edmunds
  • "The front-wheel-drive tC boasts eye-catching styling and a capable drivetrain, but its cost-cut cabin left me cold." -- Cars.com (2011)
  • "The Scion tC is unusually practical for a small sporty coupe, with good interior room and usable cargo space. Its noisy cabin and pleasant, rather than sporty, handling are disappointing. Still, tC is worth consideration for shoppers looking at small coupes, but it's no longer the class standout it once was." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Other Cars to Consider

For a small car with engine power to match its sporty looks, check out the Mazda3. Although the Mazda3 is significantly sportier and more fuel-efficient than the Scion tC, the Mazda3 sedan has less cargo space. However, if you upgrade to the Mazda3 hatchback, which has more cargo room, you may be more satisfied with the Mazda3’s combination of sporty performance, good fuel economy ratings and practicality.

Reviewers are disappointed that the base Hyundai Veloster is a lot slower than its specifications and exterior suggest, but think its sporty exterior, many standard features and outstanding fuel economy ratings are redeeming qualities. The base Veloster is less expensive than the tC, has higher fuel economy ratings and comes standard with similar features like Bluetooth and a USB port. The Veloster seats four and has more cargo space than the tC.

Compare the tC, Mazda3 and Veloster »

Details: 2013 Scion tC

The 2013 Scion tC comes in one trim, and all models have a four-cylinder engine and a standard manual transmission. For 2013, there is a Release Series 8.0 model available, and it has the same engine as the base tC. The tC hasn’t changed much since its redesign for the 2011 model year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2013 model years.

See the full 2013 Scion tC specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/22/14

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