2011 Scion tC Review

Front 3/4 view of gray 2011 Scion tC parked

We've said it before, we'll say it again. If you want to know the basic goodness of a car, spend some time in one that is absolutely box stock, no options whatsoever. Last time around, Scion sent us a tC with about four grand worth of options that, in our opinion, did nothing for the car. 

Well, since then, the Scion tC has been re-done...and this time around, they shipped us one with only standard equipment. The only line on the sticker after base price is $720 for delivery.

Rear 3/4 view of parked silver 2011 Scion tC

Smart move, because it underscores just how complete a package the tC is.  For $18,995 ($19,275 if equipped with a six-speed automatic like our tester), you get a nimble, stylish 3-door liftback with a 180 horsepower 16 valve DOHC four-cylinder engine, power steering, 18 inch alloy wheels, vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. There are also 10 aribags, a tire pressure monitoring system, a first aid kit, a panoramic glass moonroof with power tilt and slide, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control, a 300-watt Pioneer AM/FM/CD unit with 8 speakers, auxilary and USB ports and iPod connectivity and a leather-trimmed sport steering wheel with audio controls.

You read that right. That's all standard at a price under $19K if you shift it yourself.

Oh, and the tC just got awarded a 5-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...remarkable for a car in this size class.

Interior shot of 2011 Scion tC

Every good thing about the tC, and we've always been a fan, has been made better in the new one. More power, better handling, and way more car for very little money. Oh, and mileage? 23 city/31 highway, according to the EPA.

We've entered an era where manufacturers are putting economy sedans on dealer lots with stickers of 23, 24, 25...even 26 thousand dollars. That's a hard value argument to make. It's way harder when there's something as deep-down good and well-equipped as the Scion tC for under 20.

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