2008 Scion tC


$3,602 - $4,194

2008 Scion tC Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Scion tC was new.


Performance: 7.6

Although a few reviews say the tC isn't as sharp as some competitors, most describe the car as a sweet ride for its size and class. Forbes says the tC isn't "overwhelmingly fast, but then it doesn't aspire to be, and it does have ample power for its size." The Washington Post adds, "you don't need to file an application to change lanes in the tC. Tap the accelerator. Response is immediate."

Kelley Blue Book also finds "The tC is not as quick as some of its turbocharged rivals, but most people should be pleased with the car's combination of good acceleration and great mileage."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Scion tC has a 2.4-liter dual overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve engine that produces 161 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The tC engine has Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence, Toyota technology that helps the tC have easier cranking, better pickup and fuel economy. When driving, Auto Mall USA finds the tC's engine is "quiet, smooth, and plenty powerful." But Cars.com represents those who wished for more during test drives. "Acceleration can be spirited if the engine is pushed, but the four-cylinder sounds strained and noisy at higher rpm," it reports.

The 2008 tC's standard transmission is a five-speed manual, but there's an optional four-speed automatic. About.com prefers the stick shift, describing it as "a breeze to use," adding that "drivers without much stick shift experience will learn quickly." Edmunds and others also advise going with the manual transmission, "as it has crisp shifting action and a smooth clutch."

According to the EPA, the 2008 tC rates at 20 miles per gallon on city streets and 27 mpg on the highway when paired with a manual transmission. A 2008 tC with an automatic rates at 21 mpg in the city and 29 on highways.

Handling and Braking

Many say the 2008 tC's road manners are adequate but still impressive. According to Consumer Guide, the tC is "Not as sharp as class-standard MINI Cooper, but entertaining and confident." Edmunds adds, "Although not as sharp or engaging as newer rivals like the Civic or Mini Cooper, the 2008 Scion tC features flat, composed cornering and a nimble feel."

The tC has MacPherson struts for the front and a fully independent double wishbone setup in the rear. Steering is power-assisted rack-and-pinion, and the car has a turning circle of 36.1 feet. MSN represents those find "a sophisticated all-independent suspension and wide track help deliver above-average handling and a smooth ride." When reviewing the steering, MSN states, "The power steering is rather heavy, but fast and accurate."

According to The Family Car, the tC "stops as good as its goes," thanks to standard all-disc anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, as well as brake assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Auto Mall USA sums the brake system best by noting the tC's Electronic Brakeforce Distribution "automatically balances braking forces front to rear, improving stability under hard braking and helping reduce stopping distances."

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