Scion tC

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Scion tC
Manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation
Production 2004–present
Model years 2005-present
Assembly Tsutsumi, Japan
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout FF layout
Platform Toyota "T"
Related Toyota Avensis
Predecessor Toyota Celica

The Scion tC is a sport compact coupe manufactured by Toyota and sold under their Scion division in North America, introduced in the United States in June 2004 and 2010 for Canada. The name tC does not fit in with its stablemates, the xA, xB and xD, because the xC name designation is used by Volvo Cars for their lineup of sport utility vehicles. According to Scion, tC stands for touring coupe .[citation needed] Beginning in 2011, the tC is sold as the Toyota Zelas in the Middle East, China, Central America and South America,[1] a name derived from "zelante," Italian for "passionate" or "zealous." It is not sold in Japan or in any other right-hand drive market.

First generation[edit]

Scion tC series ANT10
2008-2010 Scion tC -- 03-31-2011.jpg
Production 2004–2010
Model years 2005-2010
Body and chassis
Related Toyota Avensis
Engine 2.4 L 2AZ-FE straight-4
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2,700 mm)
Length 174.0 in (4,420 mm)
Width 69.1 in (1,755 mm)
Height 55.7 in (1,415 mm)
Curb weight 2,905 lb (1,318 kg) (manual) 2,970 lb (1,350 kg) (automatic)

Toyota debuted the production tC at the January 2004 NAIAS with sales beginning in June 2004 as a 2005 model year. The Scion tC was designed to appeal to the Millennial market.[2] Toyota hoped to do so by making standard features numerous and optional features extremely easy to add. The Scion tC shares its chassis with the Avensis[3] [4]and uses a MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension. Its low price (base MSRP of US$17,670 for the 2009 model with manual transmission) is a major feature, as well as the pure "monospec" pricing marketing style that Toyota has adopted. This generation was not sold in Canada.

Major standard equipment included power windows, cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry, mirror-mounted turn signal lights, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, a 160-watt Pioneer sound system with CD player, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a panoramic moonroof.

The tC received a minor facelift in 2007 for the 2008 model year that included a revised grille and new head- and taillights.

A bare-bones version of the Scion tC known as the Spec Package was offered without many of the standard accessories. The Scion tC Spec Package replaces the 17-inch (430 mm) alloy wheels with 16-inch (410 mm) steel wheels and seven spoke wheel covers. The glass roof is fixed in place and the steering wheel is made of urethane instead of wrapped leather and lacks stereo controls; cruise control is also not offered and many other minor interior and exterior changes. This model, which is meant to serve as a blank slate to the tuner market, was offered in only four colors: Super White, Flint Mica, Black Sand Pearl and Classic Silver Metallic. MSRP was $1,400 less than the standard model. The Spec Package was discontinued for the 2009 model year.

Car and Driver praised the 2005 tC for its list of accessories but criticized it for low headroom in the backseat and low cargo room.[5]


  • Engine: 2.4 L Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT-i, compression ratio of 9.6:1 for the 2005/06 models and 9.8:1 for 2007-2010.
  • Displacement: 2362 cc
  • Power: 161 hp (120 kW) @ 6000 rpm (2007MY+) / 160 hp (119 kW) @ 5700 rpm (2005-06MY)
  • Torque: 162 lb·ft (220 N·m) @ 4000rpm (2007MY+) / 163 lb·ft (221 N·m) @ 4000 rpm (2005-06MY)
  • 200 hp (149 kW) / 185 lb·ft (251 N·m) with TRD Supercharger
  • Transmission: Standard 5-speed manual transmission or optional 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission (2008-2010 automatic transmissions are labeled as "4 speed sequential" transmission in the Scion brochure)
  • Curb weight: 2,970 lb (1,350 kg) (automatic); 2,905 lb (1,318 kg) (manual)
  • Fuel tank: 14.5 US gal (55 L; 12 imp gal)
  • EPA ratings for manual transmission: 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) city / 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg-imp) hwy (2007MY+); 19 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 23 mpg-imp) city / 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg-imp) hwy (2005/06)
  • EPA ratings for automatic transmission: 21 mpg-US (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg-imp) city / 29 mpg-US (8.1 L/100 km; 35 mpg-imp) hwy (2007MY+); 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) city / 27 mpg-US (8.7 L/100 km; 32 mpg-imp) hwy (2005/06)
  • Performance
  • 0-60 mph 7.4sec.
  • 1/4 mile (~400 m) 15.6 s @ 89.9 mph (144.7 km/h)[6]
  • 1/4 mile (~400 m) 14.2 (TRD Supercharger)


NHTSA crash test ratings (2006)[7]

  • Frontal Crash Test - Driver: 5/5 stars
  • Frontal Crash Test - Passenger: 4/5 stars
  • Side Impact Rating - 5/5 stars
  • Side Impact Rating - Rear: 5/5 stars
  • Rollover Rating: 4/5 stars

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Scion tC an "Acceptable" overall score in both the frontal offset and side impact crash tests.[8][9]

All Scion tCs come standard with 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock brakes. For 2008 models, front seat-mounted side torso airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and a driver's knee airbag became standard. Front passenger classification was also added, allowing dual stage control of airbag release dependent upon the weight of the passenger.[10] Vehicle Stability Control is not offered.

Toyota Racing Development (TRD)[edit]

Similar to many other models of Toyota/Lexus/Scion, there are many upgrades available through the in house tuning shop Toyota Racing Development (TRD). Currently TRD produces performance parts such as lowering springs and racing struts, full coilover suspension systems, performance brake kits, rear sway bars, front strut tower bars, limited-slip differentials, upgraded clutches, axle-back exhausts and cold-air intakes for the Scion tC. Other cosmetic accessories such as TRD branded valve covers and oil caps are also offered.

TRD also offered a supercharger which is a rebadged Vortech supercharger that is capable of putting out 20 psi (1.4 bar), although when installed by a dealership and under warranty it is set at 6 psi (0.4 bar). Starting in 2008, Scion began making the supercharger with tamper-proof pulleys. As of mid-2009, TRD has discontinued production of superchargers for the Scion tC.[11]

Release Series line[edit]

2005 Scion tC RS 1.0

Beginning in late spring 2004, Scion launched the Release Series (RS) line, limited quantities of their current vehicles pre-packaged with individual numbered badging, exclusive accessories, and other special features. Their exterior colors were bright hues (i.e. orange, yellow, red, blue, green).


  • tC RS 1.0 only available in Absolutely Red with 2,500 units produced[12]


  • tC RS 2.0 only available in Blue Blitz Mica with 2,600 units produced[13]


  • tC RS 3.0 only available in Blizzard Pearl with 2,500 units produced[14]


  • tC RS 4.0 only available in Galactic Gray Mica with 2,300 units produced[15]


  • tC RS 5.0 only available in Gloss Black with 2,000 units produced[16]


  • tC RS 6.0 only available in Speedway Blue with 1,100 units produced[17]


  • tC RS 7.0 only available in High Voltage Yellow with 2,200 units produced[18]


  • tC RS 8.0 only available in Absolutely Red with 2,000 units produced[19]

Second generation[edit]

Scion tC series AGT20
2011 Scion tC -- 04-01-2011.jpg
Also called Toyota Zelas (Central America, China, Middle East, South America)
Production 2010–present
Model years 2011–present
Engine 2.5 L 2AR-FE straight-4
Transmission 6-speed automatic
6-speed manual
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2,700 mm)
Length 174.0 in (4,420 mm)
Width 70.7 in (1,796 mm)
Height 55.7 in (1,415 mm)
Curb weight 3,090 lb (1,402 kg) (Manual)
3,160 lb (1,433 kg) (Auto)

Initial release[edit]

Scion tC
2011 Toyota Zelas

In February 2009, Scion Vice President Jack Hollis announced a new tC replacement would arrive within two years.[20] The second-generation tC is built from the third-generation Toyota Avensis platform.[21]

The replacement model debuted at the April 2010 New York Auto Show, and it was scheduled to appear in U.S. dealerships in October 2010. It was to be equipped with a 2.5 liter I4 2AR-FE engine producing 180 hp (130 kW) and 174 lb·ft (236 N·m), once again carried over from the Toyota Camry.[22] Visually, the second generation is a toned-down variant of the Scion Fuse concept, featuring a similar rear quarter-panel window line and xB-style blacked-out A-pillars. However, taillights, headlights, and nose treatment are less radical. The 2011 tC continues to have an all-glass roof, roomy interior, and hatchback design. Other changes include a wider track, standard 18-inch (460 mm) wheels, larger brake discs, and a performance-tuned electric power steering system.[23] The Scion tC now comes standard with Vehicle Stability Control. It should also be noted that all measurements from the first generation to second generation are the same, with the exception of the width, which is increased from 69.1 to 70.7.

At the 2010 Abu Dhabi Motor Show, the Scion tC was introduced for sale in the Middle East under the Toyota Zelas nameplate, with an aggressive body kit not featured on the Scion tC.[24]

The 2011 tC was among the first Scions in Canadian showrooms, along with the xB and xD, appearing by March 2011.


Model Engine Power@rpm Torque@rpm Transmission 0-60 1/4 mile EPA fuel economy ratings Weight Fuel tank Tire size
Scion tC[25] 2.5 L 2AR-FE I4 (gasoline) 180 hp (134 kW) @ 6000 rpm 173 lb·ft (235 N·m) @ 4100 rpm 6-speed manual transmission 6.5s[26] 15.1s @ 92.4 mph[26] 23 mpg-US (10 L/100 km; 28 mpg-imp) city / 31 mpg-US (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg-imp) hwy 3,060 lb (1,390 kg) -3,093 lb (1,403 kg) 14.5 US gal (55 L; 12 imp gal) 225/45R18
6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode 7.4s[27] 15.8s @ 88 mph[27] 3,102 lb (1,407 kg) - 3,160 lb (1,430 kg)
Toyota Zelas[28] 178 hp (133 kW) @ 6000 rpm 172 lb·ft (233 N·m) @ 4100 rpm 3,086 lb (1,400 kg) -3,142 lb (1,425 kg) 215/50R17


NHTSA crash test ratings (2011)[29]

  • Frontal Impact - Driver: 5/5 stars
  • Frontal Impact - Passenger: 4/5 stars
  • Side Impact - Driver: 5/5 stars
  • Side Impact - Rear Passenger: 5/5 stars
  • Side Pole - Driver: 5/5 stars
  • Rollover Rating - 4/5 stars
IIHS scores[30]
Moderate overlap frontal offset Good
Small overlap frontal offset Acceptable[31]
Side impact Good
Roof strength Good


Scion expects to sell 35,000 to 45,000 units in the U.S. in 2011, which was reduced from an earlier forecast of 40,000 to 50,000 units, but still expected to at least double what was sold in 2009.[32]

2014 model year update[edit]

Changes include:

  • new headlamps
  • all-new hood that extends lower toward a more open, muscular grille with an embedded tC logo
  • new upper- and lower-grille treatments bordered by LED accent lighting
  • a new black-out valance features an FR-S style, lower-center trim piece and lower perimeter reflectors under rear bumper
  • new advanced LED tail lamps
  • new 18-inch alloy wheels in premium dark gray with machined-spoke surfaces and 225/45R18 tires
  • 2 new body colours (Absolutely Red and Blue Streak Metallic)
  • Scion Standard Display Audio featuring a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen, Bluetooth compatibility, HD Radio Technology, steering wheel-mounted controls
  • optional all-new Scion BeSpoke Premium Audio system featuring Aha smart phones connectivity, access 30,000 free audio stations, full navigation
  • auto-off headlamps
  • an auto-up and down driver's window
  • premium interior materials
  • lighter color fabric on the seats and the headliner
  • automatic transmission includes double shifting speed, Dynamic Rev Management technology from Scion FR-S
  • modifications to stabilizer bar hardware
  • optimizing the shock absorbers
  • increased the body rigidity with additional spot welds

The vehicle was unveiled at the 2013 New York Auto Show. Early models include a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine rated 179 hp@6000rpm, six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.[33]

The 2014 model tC was criticized by Consumer Reports for its loudness, cheap-feeling interior, low visibility and lackluster handling. However, Consumer Reports did like the sporty looks, cargo area and hatchback handling. [34]

Scion 10 Series tC (2013-)[edit]

It is a limited (3500 units) version of Scion tC, commemorating Scion's 10th anniversary. It included Silver Ignition body colour, Scion name illuminated on the dash before fading to reveal the number 10, silver seat belts, a solar-powered illuminated shift knob, an LED Scion locator badge that lights up when the car is unlocked, sequentially numbered interior badge.

The vehicle was set to arrive at dealerships in June 2013.[35]


In terms of sales, the Scion tC was once Scion's most popular model and from 2005 to 2007 accounted for almost half of all cars sold under Scion. Its best selling year was 2006.[36]

Calendar Year US Sales
2003 n/a[37]
2004 28,062[38]
2005 74,415[citation needed]
2006 79,125[39]
2007 63,852[citation needed]
2008 40,980[40]
2009 17,998[41]
2010 15,204[42]
2011 22,433[43]
2012 22,666[43]
2013 19,094[44]


Scion tC competition car
  • There are several tCs in drag racing. Kenny Tran Jotech Motorsports[dead link], Leslie Armendariz Horizon Motorsports[dead link], Christian Rado World Racing, and Gary White (formerly Brad Personett)Titan Motorsports. Kenny Tran has been competing in the NHRA Sport Compact drag racing series hotrod class where he garnered the 2007 championship. Kenny cut his fastest run with 7.91 ET @ 184 mph (296 km/h) during a NHRA race at Pomona Raceway. In 2007 and 2008, the Jotech Motorsports team won back-to-back Pro Import Class titles of the Battle Of The Imports drag series. Leslie Armendariz's All-Motor Scion tC pushed a record setting 9.34 @ 143 mph (230 km/h). Christian Rado claimed 2nd place in the Pro FWD class of the 2008 BOTI nationals, he also later claimed a victory with the first FWD car to pass the seven second mark in a quarter mile with a blistering time of 6.97 seconds. Gary White won second place in the Extreme 10.5" class of the ADRL Battle of the Belts World Finals.
  • A 2011 tC was entered for the Formula Drift season in 2011 and is driven by Fredric Aasbo for Team Need For Speed. The 2AR-FE engine, being 2.5 liters was bumped up to 2.7 liters for over 500 hp.
  • For the 2008 Formula Drift year, RS*R converted a Scion tC to rear wheel drive. This was done by taking a Toyota Avensis chassis (which the Scion tC is based on, originally an AWD platform) and converted it into RWD. The car was powered by a tuned BEAMS 3S-GE engine. Ken Gushi previously competed with this vehicle. After talks with team mate Christian Rado, Ken Gushi switched back to the factory 2AZ-FE engine, for the 2010 Formula Drift season.[45] Ken Gushi stated "Chris Rado, my Scion Team mate who runs his famous record tearing Scion tC uses the same base motor (of course for a different application) has proven this motor to withstand numbers up to 900hp, possibly even more."[46] Ken Gushi's tC is now pushing 790 hp.
  • For the 2009/10 Formula Drift seasons, Tanner Foust competed using a Rockstar, AEM and Toyo Tire sponsored Scion tC converted to RWD, built by Papadakis Racing. It was powered by a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) built V8 taken from a former TRD Busch Series NASCAR stocker.[47]
  • For the 2008 KONI Challenge season, Dan Gardner and Craig Stanton drove a Scion tC in the Street Tuner (ST) Class. This marked Scion's world-first professional start in road racing, and the team led the race for a period of time in a 50+ car field.
  • For 2009, a Supercharged tC driven by team owner Dan Gardner was entered in the SCCA World Challenge Touring Car 2 (TC2) class. Scott Webb drove the car to victory, bringing Scion home their first-ever professional win.
  • For the 2010 SCCA World Challenge season, Dan Gardner and Robert Stout drove a pair of supercharged Scion tCs in the Touring Car (TC) class. Robert Stout would win at the 2010 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, giving Scion its first-ever TC class win.[48]
  • In 2010 DG-Spec won the manufacturer's championship in World Challenge for Scion. This marked the first time any Toyota brand had ever won the prestigious championship. No Toyota marque has won since.
  • In 2011 Dan Gardner Spec won the WERC endurance series for the second time, capping off the performance with an entry into the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The team led the race by as much as a whopping 28 laps before an engine failure brought the car into the pits. The team accomplished the impossible, doing a full motor-swap in 2 hours, and putting the car back on track with 25 minutes to go in the race, claiming the final step on the podium.


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External links[edit]

Official website for Canada, UAE, US