2009 Scion tC

  • 2009 Scion tC Base Hatchback

    Base Hatchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.4L I4
    • MSRP
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2009 Scion tC Review

A subcompact hatchback with plenty of appeal.

Reviewed by Automotive on


Based on the Toyota Avensis, the 2009 Scion tC is a three-door hatchback that targets the 20- to 30-year-old buyer market. Scion, a division of Toyota, manufactures and sells the 2009 Scion tC. All Scion vehicles sell from within Toyota dealerships under the Scion brand. Since its debut in 2005, very little has changed for the Scion tC. With the 2009 model launch, the only significant change concerns the fact that it only comes in one trim level, as Scion drops the Spec trim line.

The Range

Body Styles: Hatchback
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: tC

What's New

Previously, the Scion tC came in two trim levels. The Spec trim level was a bare bones model with very few standard features. With 2009 Scion tC launch, the Spec trim level is dropped, so that the base model comes better equipped.


The Scion tC's overall design and style is inspired by the Toyota Avensis, which is sold in Europe. The sleek shape of the car, coupled with the long list of standard features, ensures that the 2009 Scion tC catches the eye of its younger demographic. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels and a dual-pane sunroof. Toyota offers no factory options, but there are several different dealer-installed packages and accessories that allow for the 2009 Scion tC customization. Eighteen-inch wheels and different body kits can be installed by the dealer.


The 2009 Scion tC interior has a sporty feel to it. Cloth upholstered seats provide comfort and passengers enjoy plenty of head and legroom in the front and rear of the cabin. The split-folding rear row of seats can provide more cargo space as required, and recline up to 135 degrees individually. The front passenger seat can recline to a completely flat position.

High-quality materials cover the interior, which gives the sensation of riding in a much more expensive car. The instruments and console have a stylish and easy-to-use design. The 2009 Scion tC comes fully equipped with many standard features that include cruise control, air-conditioning, keyless entry, power seats and windows, and a Pioneer audio system that includes an iPod interface and auxiliary jack. A navigation system and an upgraded Pioneer audio system provide dealer-installed accessories.

Performance & Handling

The 2009 Scion tC contains a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 161 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. A dealer-installed supercharger increases power output to 200 horsepower and torque to 184 lb-ft. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, while a four-speed automatic transmission offers an optional upgrade.

Acceleration and handling prove more than adequate with the five-speed manual transmission, making the compact hatchback enjoyable to drive. Both transmissions feel quick enough on starting, but the manual transmission makes the engine feel livelier. Handling feels good, although not as sharp as on other cars in the class. The ride feels comfortable, but the firmness of the suspension translates into some shudder and bumpiness over broken ground. Around town rides stay quiet, but engine noise, wind, and tire noise become much more pronounced at higher speeds.


Scion prides itself on its safety record and features for all of its vehicles. Standard are dual side and front and rear side curtain airbags, as well as a driver’s knee airbag. Neither traction control nor stability control are available, but all 2009 Scion tC cars come equipped with anti-lock brakes. The 2009 Scion tC receives a perfect score for front crash testing on the driver’s side and four out of five stars for front passenger crash testing. For side-impact crash testing, the 2009 Scion tC also earns perfect scores.

EPA Fuel Economy

tC (five-speed manual): 20/27 mpg city/highway
tC (four-speed automatic): 21/29 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Extensive list of standard features
  • Handling and maneuverability for everyday driving
  • Roomy interior and cargo area

You Won't Like

  • Tight headroom in rear for taller passengers
  • Less dynamic handling than competitors
  • Noise at higher speeds

Sum Up

A subcompact hatchback with plenty of appeal.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Mazda MAZDA3
  • Volkswagen GTI
  • Mini Cooper S
  • Honda Civic Si
  • Mazda MX-5

See the New 2016 tC.

Front & Driver Side View

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