Pros: great design, fun to drive, awesome factory sound system
Cons: short warranty, small issues (maybe 1st model year related?), dealer seemingly not knowledgeable
We've had our 2005 Scion tC since July 2005.
We bought it from our bank, so it was "used" with about 12k miles when it was new to us. Since then we've put about 24k miles on. It's fun to drive, the gas mileage is respectable (we avg 29mpg - good portion is highway driving), and I consider it to be a comfortable ride for a "sports" car. The rear seats fold down easily to reveal a respectable cargo capacity. The rear cargo cover does a nice job of keeping valuables out of sight or groceries cool on a sunny day despite the glass hatchback.
Cons ... well, suffice it to say that every service guy at our local dealer knows me by name. To be fair, that's not entirely the dealer's fault. But, here are my two main complaints:
First - our local Toyota/Scion dealer doesn't seem very knowledgeable about Scion vehicles. They didn't realize a special key had to be cut to run the engine (it's got a microchip embedded). They scratched their heads when I asked a question about something I read in the owners manual. And they have yet to put the manufacturer-recommended weight oil in the car (24k mi = 8 oil changes). One of the Toyota service guys admitted to me that they hate working on Scions - that just can't be a good sign.
Second - Quality issues. We had to replace the manifold because it welded itself to another part under the hood. We thought the front-drivers-side wheel bearing and drum had to be replaced (turns out that wasn't right - there was a plastic zip tie that simply needed to be cut off - whew!). The tire pressure warning acts up often, yet when we had a tire explode, it didn't light up (how much more pressure does a tire need to loose?).
My second concern is my biggest - we're all but out of the 36,000 mile warranty. What if the manifold had to have been replaced outside of warranty? That would have been over $1,000! What other kinds of odd things will be breaking/needing to be replaced in the next 36,000 miles? That's my biggest concern.
Overall I think this is a great car. It's cute, it's fun, it's safe (the curtain airbags are standard), and it's got lots of fun bells and whistles (sunroof, stereo, power everything). Oh - and it holds it's value very well so far. Just be sure you have service people you trust who will be straight with you. We do, and that's our saving grace, I think!