$3,964 - $4,163

2009 Scion tC Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Scion tC was new.


Performance: 7.8

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.

  • "The tC's pep was useful during post-toll-plaza dashes to get into the correct lane on the highway." -- Forbes
  • "You don't need to file an application to change lanes in the tC. Tap the accelerator. Response is immediate." -- The Washington Post
  • "Having a sense of balance is always a good thing, and the Scion tC exhibits that virtue by providing fairly athletic handling along with a compliant ride." -- Edmunds
  • "The tC has inherited much from its Toyota and Lexus heritage. The 2.4-liter engine sings sweetly, with plenty of pulling power, and the five-speed manual delivers crisp, short shifts. Handling and braking are also well above average, making the tC a very fun car indeed." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

As in previous years, the 2009 tC has a four-cylinder engine with 161 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, plus Toyota's Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence, technology that gives the tC easier cranking, better pickup and fuel economy. Most report the car is quiet on the highways with adequate acceleration, but its not as fun-to-drive as perhaps its exterior conveys.

According to the EPA, the 2009 tC rates at 20/27 mpg city/highway when paired with a manual transmission, and 21/29 mpg with the automatic.

  • "Quick enough takeoff with either transmission." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We'd advise buyers to go with the manual transmission, as it has crisp shifting action and a smooth clutch. Automatic-equipped tCs are less enjoyable, as the four-speed can be hesitant and indecisive during enthusiastic runs on back roads." -- Edmunds
  • "The tC gets more appealing after a few days of driving, but it's not as sporty as its shape and image suggest." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

Many say the 2009 tC's road manners are adequate but still impressive, and they especially commend the coupe's standard anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.

  • "Although not as sharp or engaging as newer rivals like the Civic or Mini Cooper, the 2009 Scion tC features flat, composed cornering and a nimble feel." -- Edmunds
  • "Body lean in fast turns is well checked, and cornering grip is impressive." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The tC will not rocket at launch, but it's plenty quick out of corners with no hint of front-wheel-drive induced understeer." -- The Boston Globe
  • "The tC stops as good as it goes." -- The Family Car

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