When Toyota founded the Scion brand in the U.S. in 2002, it promised affordable vehicles and short product cycles that would appeal to Millennials. But while Scion cars continue to be among the most affordable in North America, product cycles weren’t exactly as promised until 2015, when the Japanese launched two new cars, the 2016 Scion iA and the 2016 Scion iM. For 2016, Scion decided that the tC also needs an update.

There’s good news and bad news here. The good side of the story is that this new update comes only two years since the second-generation tC received its facelift. This can only mean Scion is concerned about keeping its product fresh, an example many automakers should follow. The not not-so-thrilling part is that the 2016 tC is identical to last year’s model on the outside.

The interior is where Scion added some new features, mostly in the convenience department. And it did so while increasing the car’s starting price only slightly, meaning the tC can still brag about its "thrill-to-value" appeal. Find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Scion tC.

  • 2016 Scion tC
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    179 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    172 @ 4100
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2016 Scion tC High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Scion tC High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Scion tC High Resolution Exterior
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As previously mentioned, the tC’s exterior carries over unchanged for the 2016 model year. Actually, Scion added a rear glass wiper as standard, but that doesn’t really affect the coupe’s design, does it?

I’m not saying Scion should’ve pushed for a redesign. The tC is still fresh styling-wise and the cues borrowed from the FR-S give it a sporty stance and work well with the somewhat boxy design. However, since the coupe will carry on unchanged until a third-generation tC is launched, Scion could have added a couple of new exterior colors and wheel designs to this update. Heck, they’ve could’ve thrown a new package in there as well, something similar to the Release Series 9.0, but not as flashy.

Exterior Dimensions

Turning Circle - Curb to Curb 37.4 FT.
Length 176.6 Inches
Width 70.7 Inches
Height 55.7 Inches
Wheelbase 106.3 Inches
Ground Clearance 6.3 Inches


2016 Scion tC Interior
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2016 Scion tC Interior
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2016 Scion tC Interior
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This is where the tC received most of its new features. The most important addition here is the new standard audio system, which includes a 7-inch Pioneer touchscreen display (replaces the previous 6.1-inch unit) with AM/FM/HD radio, voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, and Aha, an app which provides access to 100,000 Internet radio stations.

The tC also received a Smart Key with push-button start, a feature usually available with premium vehicles.

Styling-wise, the 2016 tC’s interior stands out by means of silver-painted door handles, a new center console tray cover, and a leather-wrapped shift knob. It’s not much, but it makes the coupe’s plasticky, cheap-looking cabin a tad better.


2016 Scion tC Exterior
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If you were expecting a more powerful engine under the hood, then be prepared for disappointment. The tC continues with the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder it received back in 2011, and output remains unchanged at 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Granted, the four-banger is relatively powerful for this segment, but there’s plenty of room for improvement and I think the tC would be better off with a turbocharged powerplant.

Transmissions are also carried over, meaning customers can opt between the six-speed manual and the six-speed automatic (updated for 2015, when it also received paddle shifters). When equipped with the manual, the tC hits 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, while the automatic version needs around 7.8 seconds to reach the same speed. Not exactly a rocket, but fast enough for an entry-level coupe.

For fuel economy, the coupe is rated at 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, which puts it on par with the Honda Civic Si Coupe and below the Hyundai Veloster.

As usual, customers in need of a sportier experience can opt for a range of TRD performance parts, including a brake kit, an air filter, air intake, exhaust, and springs.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine displacement 2.5L (2AR - FE) (2494CC)
Horsepower 179 HP @ 6000 RPM
Torque 172 LB-FT @ 4100 RPM
Valve configuration DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with dual VVT-i
Bore X Stroke 90.0 X 98.0 MM
Compression ratio 10.4 : 1


2016 Scion tC Exterior
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For 2016, the Scion tC retails from $20,180, including delivery and handling, which is a $200 increase over last year’s model. For that amount you get to take home the manual version, while the automatic costs $21,330 before options, also a $200 increase. Quite the deal considering the extras coming with this update. Adding the performance-enhancing TRD parts will set you back another $3,658.

Scion tC manual $20,180
Scion tC automatic $21,330


2014-2015 Honda Civic Si Coupe

2014 - 2015 Honda Civic Si Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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The Civic Si Coupe may be less engaging than most performance coupes, but it offers a lot of bang for the buck. Definitely sexier than the tC, the two-door Civic is also significantly more powerful thanks to a 2.4-liter, inline-four rated at 205 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a close-ratio, six-speed manual transmission (there’s no automatic option for this model), the engine enables the coupe to hit 60 mph in six seconds, more than a full second quicker than the Scion.

Despite being this fast, it still earns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, or about the same as the tC. Pricing for the Civic Si Coupe starts from $22,890, putting it more than two grand above the manual-equipped Scion.

Read more about the Honda Civic Si Coupe here.

2016 Hyundai Veloster

2016 Hyundai Veloster High Resolution Exterior
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Though the Veloster is actually a hatchback and not a coupe, it’s the vehicle Scion usually compares the tC to. What’s more, Hyundai used the tC as a benchmark for the new Veloster. Updated mildly for 2016, the Korean hatch uses the same 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine as in the past. The four-pot cranks out 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque when mated to the six-speed manual transmission, and 132 horses and 120 pound-feet when equipped with the EcoShift dual-clutch transmission.

Significantly less powerful than the tC, the Veloster is also a lot slower, needing around eight seconds to hit 60 from a standstill. However, because it’s 403 pounds lighter than the Scion, as well as focused on fuel economy rather than performance, the Veloster trumps the tC in the battle for miles per gallon, rated at 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with the manual transmission. The Hyundai is also the more affordable choice here, fetching $18,000.

For those in need of more grunt, there’s the Veloster Turbo with 201 horses and 195 pound-feet coming from a 1.6-liter turbo-four. This model will get you to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds for $22,600 before options.

Find out more about the Hyundai Veloster here.


2016 Scion tC High Resolution Exterior
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Despite the lack of upgrades on the outside and under the hood, the Scion tC remains appealing to sporty-minded buyers on a limited budget. Its main drawback is that it looks quicker than it really is, with some similarly sized and priced competitors offering more power. However, if you’re looking for a sporty-looking coupe with good fuel economy, an excellent audio system standard, and an affordable sticker, the tC is a safe bet. As a first-time buyers, you’re likely to appreciate the tC’s good handling and the numerous accessories.

  • Leave it
    • No updates on the outside
    • Needs a more powerful engine

Press Release

Scion’s top seller, the tC sports coupe, adds new sound, smarts and swishes as it enters the 2016 model year. A new standard audio system, a host of upgraded interior features including a Smart Key with push-button start, and the addition of a standard rear windshield wiper add to the fun and functionality of the tC.

2016 Scion tC High Resolution Exterior
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The 2016 tC retains its thrill-to-value proposition with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,385 for the six-speed manual transmission and $20,535 for the six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management®. This price excludes a delivery, processing and handling (DPH) fee of $795.

The new standard audio system features a large 7-inch Pioneer® touchscreen Display Audio system with AM/FM/HD radio™, voice recognition, Bluetooth® hands-free and streaming audio, and the Aha™ app which provides access to 100,000 Internet radio options.

Also new to the interior of the tC are new silver interior door handles, a new center console tray cover and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

The 2016 tC will be available in dealerships starting in August.

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