Toyota Nation Forum banner

Test-Drive: 2005 Scion tC w/ 5-speed manual

5712 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Clean SE-R
Yesterday, I went car shopping with my friend to help him find a new sporty hatchback. After weeks of researching, we already had it down to two models: the Honda Civic Si and the Toyota Scion tC, both with 5-speed manuals. I didn't get a chance to drive the Si, but I did drive the tC, to see if it would live up to the hype that it had been receiving.

First, the styling. While the tC looks a bit plain, it definitely has potential to be a decent show car, and the TRD body kit is quite good-looking on it. It's almost as if Toyota intentionally gave us a blank canvas, with plenty of space for whatever wacky mods the owner sees fit. The dual moonroof feature is also pretty cool. What I really like, though, is the inside of the car. Functional yet futuristic, ergonomical yet slightly eccentric, the tC's interior should attract plenty of attention from the younger crowd at which it is aimed. One of my favorite touches is the pull-out cover for the stereo's head unit. The cabin exemplies Toyota quality, while still having a lively, invigorating feel to it. My only styling gripe would have to be the rims - they're a bit too flashy and gaudy for my tastes.

Next, comfort and ride quality. I found the seats to be rather uncomfortable; they were a bit on the firm side, and didn't contour to my back very well. The roof seemed to be too low, as well - I'm 6 feet tall, and my head was nearly touching the ceiling. Leg room was generous for a car this size, though, especially in the back seats - one of the advantages of sharing platforms with a sedan (the European-market Toyota Avensis). The ride quality was unexpectedly smooth, and the cabin was pretty quiet. Cargo capacity seemed more than ample with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats down, and there were plenty of little storage compartments up front.

Now for the engine and transmission. I'm glad that Toyota decided to go with the 2.4L engine from the Camry, and not the rev-happy 1.8L engine from the Celica. The tC's 2.4L DOHC engine with variable valve timing makes 160 horsepower at 6000 RPM and 163 ft-lbs of torque at 4200 RPM. There's plenty of power down low, and the car seems to pull pretty hard in the first few gears. The five-speed manual transmission is very slick, and quick shifts are not a problem in this car. The clutch is just the right length, and the firmness of it is perfect.

Handling is decent, although not quite as sporty as I expected. The four-wheel independent suspension is tuned for comfort, but the tC is still fairly agile, and understeer is minimal. Front and rear stabilizer bars help, as do the standard 17-inch tires (which are Z-rated, by the way).

The best thing about this car, though, is the price. Base MSRP on a 2005 Scion tC with a five-speed manual transmission is $16,465. When you consider all of the upscale features it has, such as external temperature display, two one-touch power windows (both up and down), and remote keyless entry, the Scion tC is a total bargain in the rapidly growing sport-compact market. Plus, you know you can expect a long, hassle-free life from the tC, thanks to Toyota's first-rate build quality and legendary reliability.

Overall, I am pretty impressed with Toyota's newest sport coupe. While the long-running Celica will be sorely missed when it dies (along with the MR2 Spyder) in 2005, the tC is a more-than-suitable replacement, and it's a lot cheaper, too. Than extra money could be spent on a TRD supercharger, which will be installed from the factory, thus keeping the warranty intact, and bring horsepower up to around 200. The TRD supercharger will be offered for the Scion tC sometime this fall.

In case anyone is wondering, I am 18 years old and live in Las Vegas, Nevada. The test-drive was conducted on flat, dry roads, with an outside temperature of about 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
See less See more
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
I have a review too

2005 Scion tC

By: ChewDogg

First off I would like to thank Megan Marten at Thayer Scion in Bowling Green, Ohio for letting me drive this vehicle. A little information on Scion: Scion is a Toyota division marketed toward today’s youth. With great pricing and total customibility, Scion will soon prove itself to be a favorite among tuners.
Some people think that the Scion tC is the Toyota Celica replacement. Some think that the car won’t be anything great, but from what I originally saw in Detroit, I think they are wrong. The tC is a sport compact car, with a nice overall size. Looks of the car are ho-hum, but look great. The headlights remind me of BMW style, and the side mirrors have LED turn signals in them. The tC has no standard spoiler, but one can be acquired from the dealer as an option. One of the main features of the car is its dual panoramic sunroofs. Front and rear passengers get to benefit from a stellar view with sunshade if the sun is too bright. The tC comes standard with 17 inch rims with a graphite finish to them. Wrapped in some sticky tires, this thing should handle quite well…And it did!
The tC handled like a dream. Basically, it was like driving a 7th generation Celica. Hugged the corners well, with minimal body roll. But what powers the car is nice. It come with a 2.4 liter engine found in the base model Camry sedan, with is rated at 160 horsepower and 163 foot pounds of torque. Weighing in around 2900 pounds, this big four cylinder is enough to keep the car thrusting forward. Unfortunately, the test vehicle was an automatic, although crisp in shifts, the manual would be my choice. Coming in late fall, TRD will offer an optional Supercharger for the tC and should pump the power up to 200 horsepower.
The tC had a nice selection of features inside the car. Both driver and passenger windows have an auto up and down feature from both sides. That’s a first I have seen that used in a vehicle. Front passenger space is limited for big people, so Brent didn’t fit too well there. I decided to try out the rear seat. Looks big. I had my colleague place the driver seat to his position which was all the way back, and I had room. I was actually comfortable back there. But here is the kicker…The rear seats recline 45 degrees. Also, the rear passengers get headrests and cup holders. Moving on to the stereo system. In the tC, Scion has placed a Pioneer MP3 6 speaker sound system. The system is hidden behind a panel that opens so you can control the system. Scion over hyped the system. I found it to be a tad on the disappointing side. Bass would be good, but distorts early in my sound preferences. It is a nice sounding system if your demands aren’t set high. I would rather have a DVD Navigation in that spot! The gauges in front of you are silver and at night the numbers glow orange. Nice touch! TC features dual front airbags and a knee airbag.
Performance was good. Sound was decent. Space was good except for Brent. I think Scion has a hit with this vehicle, and with base price starting at $16500.00 anyone can have a great time having fun with this car.

See less See more
tC test drive

I found myself saying, "wow . . . wow . . . wow" as I drove this car, and grinning even more widely than I did while driving the MINI Cooper S.

True, the tC doesn't live up to some folks' definition of a pocket rocket, but the powerplant seemed sprightly enough to me, and the 5-speed shifted smoothly. Visibility was good, although the hood line drops off pretty quickly. The front seats were comfy, but tall people (I'm 6') will be wedging their heads against the headliner if they sit in back. Despite this, I appreciated the fact that all three seating positions in the back feature adjustable headrests.

I drove the tC on the highway and over typically potholed Michigan streets. The car did a good job of absorbing bumps and was extremely quiet.

The tC's list of standard features is ab-so-lute-ly amazing for the price. Build quality and dependability, you ask? Lookie here, the tC is a TOYOTA under the skin, no matter what its badge says. I say, "Buy this car!"
See less See more
Hell yeah, if I was shopping for a new car right now, I'd go straight for the tC.
Hmmm, sounds like the new car I've been looking for!!!!:D
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.