2007 Scion tC Review – OMG! So sik. Luvz it!

Expert Reviews Scion

by Kurt Gensheimer

2007 Scion tC


  • Gutsy 4-cylinder VVTi motor
  • 30MPG on the highway
  • Nausea-free styling
  • Standard features list scrolls longer than Kerouac’s On the Road manuscript
  • Aftermarket accessories brochure thicker than War and Peace
  • Lexus-like qualities with a sub-Toyota MSRP


  • Lots of highway noise from tires and engine
  • Portly and unsettled in the twisties
  • Bulbous shifter
  • Rear seat headroom fit for someone with no head
  • What’s with the “R” instead of “E” on the gas gauge?

Ruling: For the money, this little Toy…er…Scion is a no-brainer.

This year I turned the big three-oh, and although young at heart, it’s undeniable I’m getting older. Sure, I still love making my ears bleed with punk rock and constantly questioning authority, but some things with today’s youth I just don’t get. Take for instance the whole text messaging thing. Described in text talk, it’s a total PITA (Pain in the a**, for those not up on the lingo). So although I was annoyed when I got a cryptic text from my 18 year-old cousin stating “OMG! So sik! Luvz it! L8R – Bry”, I must admit, the message piqued my interest. But instead of texting him back, I simply dialed his phone number.

My cousin’s abbreviated digital exuberance was in response to his recent test drive of the Scion tC. His parents were getting him a new car as a graduation gift, and he wanted to share his thoughts with me. Coincidentally, I was slated to review the hip hatch from Scion, so when I told him over the phone, “ROFLMAO! I B testin’ 2! SRSLY!”, there was an uncomfortable silence followed by a confused “uhhh…”.

2007 Scion tC

Our test vehicle was a metallic maroon tC with a 5-speed manual transmission generously provided by Stevens Creek Scion. The word Scion means “offspring”, and based on the shoebox and door stop styling of the xA and xB, I’d hate to lay eyes on the actual progenitor of those cars. A mangled Dustbuster, perhaps?

However, the tC looks to be of a different stylistic strain. Like Brad Pitt being adopted into the Addams Family, the tC is an attractive standout in a quirky, unsightly marque of cars. The stubby front and rear, the high door lines and the characteristic backseat window gives the tC a junior-league Infiniti G35 Coupe-like profile. So it looks presentable, but is the tC’s performance a welcome departure from the gutlessness of the xA and xB?

Driving Impressions

Right as we squeezed out of the overcrowded dealership lot and onto the boulevard, I slipped the shifter into second and gave it a little punch not expecting much in response. WTF? OMG! This little bugger can boogie. We got to the gas station and I looked under the hood to find the same 2.4 liter 4-cylinder VVTi motor that’s in the Camry. With over 160 horsepower, 163 pounds of torque and a rev-happy 6300 redline, the tC is a far cry from its underpowered siblings. And just because the tC has the same youthful exuberance as its target market, it doesn’t come at a cost of fuel economy. Our tC averaged nearly 30MPG in mixed highway and backroad flogging.

2007 Scion tC - engine

On the highway, I was disappointed to find that the punch the tC had from 30-50MPH was completely missing above 65. Even when I downshifted to fourth, the gearing wasn’t there. On top of the lacking power, the car was quite noisy from a combination of the engine and Yokohama S32A’s.

Although the shifter knob was rubbery and bulbous, the shifting itself was quite smooth and notchless, especially for an entry-level car. On the twisties though, the tC fared about average. The car itself was more than willing to swallow up the corners, but the tires weren’t. Picture Michael Jordan maneuvering downcourt in oil-slicked and howling Nikes. But even with the right treads, the Scion isn’t going to win any skidpad competitions due to its chunky 3,000 pound weight and tendency to understeer. But again, for a $17,500 base, the tC still performs at a level of cars which cost thousands more.


Although 3,000 pounds is a lot for a car of this size, it’s a hint of the tC’s build quality. The other hint is that the car is essentially a Toyota. But what really puts the tC into a category of its own is the exhausting list of standard features it comes equipped with. A few of these include blingin’ 17-inch alloys, power windows and doorlocks, a huge, ejector seat-ready sunroof, air conditioning, cruise, keyless entry, satellite radio-ready Pioneer sound system, whew. The list goes on.

2007 Scion tC - center console 2007 Scion tC 2007 Scion tC - sunroof

And if the standard features list isn’t eyeball fatiguing enough, just get try and get ahold of the hulking aftermarket accessories brochure. That is, if you can actually lift it. 18-inch wheels for extra bling, audio system upgrades, TRD performance parts, an ejector seat, ground effects kits and interior LED accent lights just scratch the surface of what owners can do to further pimp their ride – OEM-style, fool.

Scion tC interior


The tC interior scored high points with its sporty fit and feel, white face gauges, a three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and well-bolstered seats. However, one thing I didn’t get about the tC was its “R” indicator on the gas gauge where “E” traditionally goes. I mean, okay I think I get it – R means “refill”, right? But maybe it means “Rad, bro! You’re outta gas!” or “Fill R Up”, or maybe I’m just not cool enough to get it. NBD.

The tC also has quite a generous amount of room for a three-door hatchback. The rear seats fold flat for quick stowage, and when they’re up in passenger mode, you’ll find them to be rather comfortable with ample amounts legroom. But unless you’re the Headless Horseman – or even more unlikey, under five-foot nine – backseat headroom is quite miserable.


Well, after looking at the forebearing xA and xB, pretty much anything short of the Pontiac Aztek would be an improvement for Scion. Yes, because of its relatively understated design, the downside is that you won’t stand out in a crowd with the tC. But then again, who wants to be noted as “the dude with the rolling refrigerator”.

2007 Scion tC


This is where the tC really shines. With the new 2008 model MSRP of $17,500 and an evermore list of standard features and optional accessories, for the money, the tC fiercely competes on a performance level of cars worth thousands more. The tC plays up to a level of cars like the Acura RSX, Mini Cooper, and the Honda Civic Si. Buyers of the tC will be treated to near-Lexus qualities with a sub-Toyota price tag. It’s hard to argue with that, unless you’re my Dad. Then you just argue for the sake of arguing.

Who Should Buy It?

Well the obvious answer is the younger, hip teenage and twentysomething demographic who wouldn’t be caught alive in a Toyota because its too square. The less obvious answer is anyone who’s looking for a reliable, quick, fuel efficient, stylish, and value-packed three-door hatchback. In texting words, mad peepz!

2007 Scion tC


Scion has really done a great job with the tC. Almost too good. I mean, the whole point of Scion is to be the anti-mainstream, quirky brand that appeals to nonconformists. But with the tC, Scion has developed a great car that appeals to a mass market audience. Whether or not that takes away from the original cool factor of Scion is yet to be seen, but what’s certain is the tC will take away market share from its competitors, leaving them angrily texting TISNF! to their buddies.
















An appreciative thank-you goes to Stevens Creek Scion for graciously providing the Scion tC demo car. This review would not have been possible without their support and help.

stevens creek scion

stevens creek scion contact


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>> Read the Scion tC consumer reviews submitted by the CarReview.com community

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  • flippinlady says:

    R = (Reserve) means you are coasting on a reserve amount of fuel. LOL> who wouldn’t know that? lol
    And YES,,,,,,the back seats recline back for headroom.

  • tina says:

    I just bought a scion tc and its great to drive

  • RKing says:

    The ‘R’ on the gas gauge stands for ‘Reserve’. It means you are driving on the reserved portion of the gas tank. This is the same thing as the gauge being in the ‘Red’ area or the low gas light being lite. It comes from the day when cars had a true reserve tank of gas built into the gas tank. My guess is that you’re to young to know that (lucky you) lol….

  • jouster says:

    “In texting words, mad peepz!”

    those are not texting words….

  • Rick M. says:

    I bought one of these back in February after test driving nine other cars and the TC was my favorite. I haven’t “blinged” or “riced” out my car, I simply added the TRD exhaust (after being assured it was not one of those annoying coffee-can exhaust systems) and the pedestal spoiler. the only things that I do not care for with the car is the lack of a trunk keyhole (I’m old fashioned like that) and the plastic doorframe bottoms. The sunroof does rattle a bit when in the fully opened position, but I rarely do that. It was a great deal for 20K even (including tax extended warranty etc.).

  • Chris B says:

    I bought the scion TC 2008 on july 9th 2008 this car is the shiznit totally worth the price I paid and with the options I put on it,spoiler,ground effects,TRD sport exuast,upgraded the pioneer stereo,neon lights under dash scion security system and fabric protector and clear mask for the front,wheel locks,undercoat for 4500 extra you can’t beat the price.5 stars

  • steve s says:

    love my 2008 scion tc. very well built car with to many options to list and a great car for aftermarket performance . car would fly if it was built with wings. great car. thank you toyota/scion

  • Iggy says:

    you know the rear seats recline back for more headroom

  • Jenn says:

    yes, I am buying this car tomorrow!!

  • RAV3 says:

    This review seems to suggest this car is more than an econocar, which is what it is. And not a very efficient one. You also forgot to mention that operating the manual shifter is not unlike stirring a large pot of mashed potatoes. And the squishy handling. And the complete lack of power. Other than that, for the money its a solid package. Decent exterior/interior. Should get better MPGs though…

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