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8.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 8.2
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Scion tC Review

Those who want a hip small car with lots of standard features and impressive cargo space should like the 2009 Scion tC.

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive cargo space for a coupe
  • Standard driver’s knee airbag
  • Standard USB port and Pioneer stereo
  • Low fuel economy ratings for the class
  • Poor safety scores

2009 Scion tC Overview

With more standard features than many cars in its class, the 2009 Scion tC offers plenty of bang for your buck. The tC is only available in one trim that is equipped with a six-speaker Pioneer stereo, a USB port, air conditioning and power windows and door locks. Optional equipment included an upgraded Pioneer stereo and a touch-screen navigation system. The tC has a standard driver’s knee airbag, which is uncommon for a car in this category, as well as anti-lock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution.

Most coupes aren’t known for their rear-seat space, but because it has decent headroom, test drivers found the tC’s rear row more hospitable than most coupes. But the tC really stands out with its 12.8 cubic feet of cargo space, which is large enough to compete with small sedans.

While the tC looks edgier than its classmates and its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes a lot of horsepower for the class, some reviewers didn’t think the tC’s performance was as sporty as its looks. Other test drivers said the tC was nimble and had good acceleration. There is a downside to the tC’s extra power, though -- it isn’t very fuel-efficient. The tC gets up to 21/29 mpg city/highway, which is below-average for the class. In addition, the tC gets poor safety ratings.

See the full 2009 Scion tC specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you want a car that does more than look sporty, the 2009 Mini Cooper is considered one of the fastest and most agile small cars available, depending on the trim you get. The Cooper is also very fuel-efficient for a sporty small car. The four-seat Cooper does have less cargo space than the tC and a cramped second row, however.

The 2009 Honda Civic looks more sedate than the tC, but according to test drivers, you’ll be impressed with its responsive and fun ride, especially if you opt for the Si trim. The Civic offers fuel economy and safety ratings that are higher than the tC’s.

Compare the tC to the Cooper and Civic »

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