First Look: 2011 Scion tC

Six years without any significant upgrades takes its toll on a car’s sales volume. Take, for instance, the Scion tC: largely untouched since its debut in 2004, sales peaked at 80,000 units in 2006, but plummeted to 18,000 in 2009. Obviously, it’s time for a chance, and Scion hopes the new 2011 tC, which debuts at this year’s New York auto show, will help reverse this freefall.

Arriving in dealer showrooms this fall, the new 2011 tC features more-aggressive sheetmetal laced with a tinge of R34 Nissan Skyline. The updated interior is highlighted by a flat-bottom three-spoke steering wheel, bolstered front seats and an inward-facing instrument panel, gauge cluster, and center console. A 60/40 split folding rear seat is standard, as is the tC’s famous panoramic moonroof, and an eight-speaker audio system with steering-wheel mounted controls.

The 2011 tC is also getting a revamp of the unseen mechanical bits. The 2.4-liter four-banger is being swapped out for a new 2.5-liter unit that puts out 180 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque, increases of 18 and 11, respectively. Sending power to the front wheels are a pair of new gearboxes. The existing tC’s five-speed manual and ancient four-speed automatic are both exiting the building to make way for new six-speed units.

Despite the revisions, exterior dimensions remain largely unchanged. The tC retains its 106.3-inch-long wheelbase, 174.0-inch length, and 55.7-inch height, gaining only 1.6 inches in width to a total of 70.7 inches. Scion does say, however, that the cabin has been expanded to give passengers more room, but we’ll have to see the car in the steel to find out where that came from and how much of it there is, as interior dimensions are not yet available.

We won’t know if these updates going to be enough to revive the sagging tC nameplate to its former glory as Scion’s best-selling model, but it should certainly give it a fresh lease on life in the notoriously-fickle coupe market.


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2011 Scion tC

2011 Scion tC

MSRP $18,275 Base (Manual) Hatchback


23 City / 31 Hwy

Safety (NHTSA):


Horse Power:

180 @ 6000