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Edmunds put together a list of the best used cars for college students and the 2005 Scion tC ranked high. The choice feels dated and awkward, especially when another tC seems like the perfect fit. Which year tC has the features that young people need?

2005 Scion tC | Jeff Haynes/AFP via Getty Images

The 2005 Scion tC is too old for school

Edmunds ranks the 2005 Scion tC high for young drivers, but it needs to be put to bed. Toyota designed the Scion sub-brand with young people in mind. The debut 2005 tC model may have been a comparable budget model when released. Still, now it feels dated—features like on-screen navigation and Bluetooth connectivity matter, especially to young drivers.

Safety ratings favor the 2014 tC

The 2005 Scion tC earned lackluster IIHS crash test safety ratings and is missing some basic safety features. The 2014 Scion tC comes standard with much of the equipment not offered by the 2005. Your used purchase may not have the features you hope for.

For example, traction and stability control isn’t an option in the flagship tC. Both are standard in the 2014 model. Side, front and forward airbags are 2014 standard features. Airbags are an optional upgrade for the 2005 offering.

Crash-test rating data shows that the 2014 model is safer overall. The 2005 tC is also subject to 4 active recalls. Two of these recalls involve the optional airbag systems. Even if a used 2005 tC is equipped with this safety feature, it may need to be replaced if previous owners have not pursued recall repairs.

Scion poured sporty details into the last few tCs

2014 Scion tC | Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The 2014 Scion tC is loaded with interior touches. A sun and moon roof gives the coupe a fun feel that younger drivers will appreciate. Features like hands-free calling with Bluetooth connectivity add to the 2014 tC’s appeal. The last Scion tC was released in 2016 before Toyota killed the brand.

Where this coupe really shines is in cargo space. The smart hatchback design means it can hold more items than the typical dorm room. Moving in, moving out, and packing up for holiday road trips is a breeze in this roomy coupe.

Why it’s worth the investment to upgrade from the 2005 Scion tC

Whether students are purchasing their own car or receiving one from family, value is a crucial factor. New drivers traditionally favor inexpensive options, with good reason. The 2014 Scion tC may cost more. However, it’s a better investment.

With any used car purchase, buyers must consider how many miles a vehicle has left in it. A nine-year difference between two vehicles will likely mean a large difference in mileage as well. A younger car will typically outlast an older model with higher milage.

The cheaper 2005 may seem like a better deal because of its tiny price tag. In some cases, you really do get what you pay for. A 17-year-old car is likely to need a lot of TLC. Frequent trips to the shop can quickly eat up any difference in savings. It’s worth investing more upfront for a safer, more reliable, and more enjoyable car.


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