Scion’;s unique coupe is now forgettable
SENIOR MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: About 1,000 or so individuals are acquiring the Scion tC each and every month, and I envision the majority of them are pleased with their buy. For not a whole lot of coin, Scion offers a fairly exciting-to-drive vehicle — it really is no FR-S, as you would expect — with some racer-ish characteristics that must appeal to youthful consumers even though not going so far as to turn off prospective older customers.
I was there for the launch of the complete Scion brand 10 years in the past, and it truly is incredible to consider so considerably time has passed. Certainly several in the automotive press snickered at first at the notion, as it seemed maybe a bit as well contrived, but the previous decade has verified us incorrect. No, it doesn’;t move hundreds of thousands of cars per 12 months, or even 100,000, but it has brought a various variety of interest and, in some cases, buyer into Toyota’;s corporate fold. And other than the FR-S, the tC would be my selection.
Ride high quality is very good at the expense of greatest sharp managing, and the 6-velocity automated does a good occupation of matching the driver’;s wishes, be it cruising or kicking down below hard acceleration. At 6 seconds or so, its -60 time does not move the goalposts in this class, nor does handling or braking this is a strong auto that does every little thing fairly well and gives an excellent sound method, Bluetooth, big show screen and effortless-to-use controls. I constantly value steering wheel-mounted controls, as well, which are regular items here.
Scion says it revised the steering and suspension for 2014, but with no an quick back-to-back drive in final year’;s model, it’;s hard to quantify just how much far more lively the chassis feels. It is definitely not a revolution in tC dynamics.
Other than the nicely-bolstered seats, red-font gauges and flat-bottom steering wheel, the cockpit is comparatively bland in a usually Toyota sort of way. Rear passenger space is a pleasant discovery and not necessarily expected in an entry-level coupe, though I suspect some will likewise be unpleasantly shocked at the rather average fuel-mileage ratings.
I a lot favored the unique tC’;s exterior layout, but the new-for-2014 updates — new hood, wheels, front fascia — enhance this version’;s presence, though I nevertheless can not very get over the square-ness of it all. Outfitted with the optional “high profile” rear lip spoiler, as this test car is, it reminds me of a shrunken Dodge Charger at occasions, which isn’;t really what comes to thoughts generally when we’;re talking about modest, sporty Japanese autos.
Frankly, the original tC was actually interesting on method, and manufactured me quite curious as to how it drove. This vehicle — particularly with out any of the broad range of tack-on features and trim — by some means reeks of the very blandness that Scion proclaimed itself to stand against. At this cost selection in this class, it’;s not also difficult for me to accept its generally common performance, but the final thing I anticipate from this lineup is common visual appeal.
Nonetheless, for not a lot of income you get a fairly trendy, enjoyable small auto to drive, with some wonderful normal attributes that appeal to audiophiles in certain, and then there’;s constantly the Scion “aftermarket” parts cornucopia, the 2 official and nonofficial, that has manufactured the Scion range a situation review in offering consumers what they want, but only if they want it.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: There was a man I knew a number of years in the past, a small bit older than me, who was absolutely geeked about last but not least buying a Scion tC. Took pictures of the “assembled in Japan” origin/assembly plate on the door frame and everything. It was initial-generation tC, and I was attracted to it — it appeared compact, clean and sportier that its layout and powertrain would have otherwise suggested.
Anyway, last I’;d heard he had totaled it, but I guess the place I am going with this is: This new Scion does not do anything at all for me. I am ready to don’;t forget a lot about an acquaintance’;s doomed tC many many years following the truth, but I cannot genuinely bear in mind considerably past the colour and challenging plastic interior of this a single, which I drove a number of days in the past.
Mac is right it about doing everything you’;d want a car in this price assortment to do fairly nicely, and if the interior have been a minor much better (and a minor much better insulated from mechanical and exterior sounds) I would not have significantly trouble accepting it for what it is — particularly for $ 23,166.
Like the softened-up xB, though, the tC has just become a bland-if-not-terrible competitor into a crowded segment. I am not seeing why this car genuinely stands out at the second, but it almost certainly wouldn’;t take more than a medium-intensity refresh/interior upgrade to make me see it in an additional light.
Scion had a sort of great, edgy issue going on when the brand debuted. I think they require to return to that — at this point, I find Kia’;s Forte Koup and Soul and the Hyundai Veloster to be considerably much more compelling oddballs. Once again, Mac’;s definitely right about Scion’;s official aftermarket options. I just want they’;d provided us a a lot more intriguing blank canvas for us to customize.
ASSOCIATE WEST COAST EDITOR BLAKE Z. RONG: Collect ’;round, little ones, and let me inform you a story. Years ahead of the “yoofs” saved up their pennies doing work overnight shifts at the White Hen Pantry for an FR-S, the only Scion 2-door was the tC. It was the only vaguely sporty car Toyota made that was south of a Solara. For many years, the brand dragged its enthusiast credentials on just that. And could God have mercy on the bad and benighted early adopters who ever imagined the tC fit any skewed definition of “sporty motoring.”
Exactly where to start? In every single function that defines a car’;s character, the tC appears dowdy and uninspired. Steering is devoid of any come to feel or fat. The brakes are spongy and squishy. The clutch and shifter on our manual-equipped check auto in California are light adequate for site visitors but really feel flimsy — Toyota as soon as proved on the MR2 Spyder that a guide transmission could be delicate but also have feeling, an essence that just isn’;t present with the tC. Uncommon is the second when an automated is preferable, but most Scion customers know that, too. Possibly most damningly, the 2.5-liter inline-4 loathes to rev.
A handful of factors that Toyota got proper on the tC: the chassis is tight and responsive and never understeers. The ride is reasonably relaxed. The hidden hatchback is clever, and there’;s decent room in the back — even though the omission of a regular tonneau cover displays a uniquely American disdain for hatchbacks. Styling of this 2nd generation tC’;s has genuinely grown on me — one particular of the cleanest shapes in modern auto layout acquired weird angles, angry headlights and a huge, leering grille, but it also appears reliably sporty, like it really is begging to be tossed all around.
But thick C-pillars swallow up more cars than Robosaurus. A backup camera is not an option on any tC. Every single door weighs as a lot as a large school football coach. The rest of the vehicle weighs more than 3,000 lbs. Is Toyota smuggling gold bars beneath the seats?
We checked. They are not. We had been disappointed.
If you absolutely want a sporty Scion, conserve your dollars and make the $ 3K leap to an FR-S. The tC is a caricature of a sizzling hatch from all around 1999, designed for a time when APC “carbon” wings flew off the shelves. (If your favourite car in the initial Fast and Furious movie was that green, exploding Mitsubishi Eclipse, you may even be enamored with the exhaust note.) It have to be operating — the tC has the lowest average buyer age in America, at 28 — but as a 26-12 months-previous, do I actually need one more purpose to query my generation?
This is Scion’;s tC by Toyota. Despite the conspiracy theory that “tC” stands for “Toyota Celica,” there is tiny indication that this automobile could carry on this kind of a legacy.
WEST COAST EDITOR MARK VAUGHN: My realized colleague Blake Z. Rong hated this point. I consider he referred to as it a “pile.” And while I had it a person did, without a doubt, tuck into the outdoors rearview mirror help a organization card that read, “I Get Junk Vehicles!” Now this is not junk nor is it a “pile.”
I will admit at initial I considered the shifter and the clutch had been, certainly, low-cost. I may have stated “flimsy.” But there is a far stretch between flimsy and piledom. There is a TRD “QuickShifter” available for just $ 145 that sounds like a promising fix for this shifter vagueness. I would suggest it sight unseen. It would have to be an improvement. Soon after a week of hammering the tC with no the QuickShifter I a lot more or significantly less got the hang of it and actually started out wailing. It is fun to launch at greatest acceleration and pay attention to a single of the front wheels spin, generally the within 1.
The 3,082-pound tC is powered by a fairly massive — for the class — 2.5-liter 4 creating 179 hp. Which is 17.2 pounds per hp, which isn’;t undesirable for cars in this class, several of which have engines smaller than 2.-liters. Mixed with that guide transmission in our California check car, it seems like it just might get down the street. A number of runs returned a -60 mph time of 8.1 seconds. A lot more runs and far more practice engaging the clutch just appropriate would have meant a quicker time. Published figures listing anywhere from 6.3 to 6.8 seconds to 60, so, unless of course people guys are lying, you will probably get into the 6s. The trick is to handle wheelspin to get a good launch. Just a minor clutch slip then give it the rest of the throttle and you’;re off.
As soon as you get it sorted, you can wind it out to redline all day and normally have a blast. Scion need to be commended for even providing this or anything at all with a manual transmission in this age of like-sized econoboxes with constantly variable transmissions. People issues could suck the daily life out of a 1999 New Years’; Eve get together with Prince headlining. So thank you, Scion, for providing us a manual, even if it was probably carried out to conserve a half a mile per gallon and you didn’;t have a CVT sorted out nevertheless. What ever the explanation, I and maybe 4 or 5 other enthusiast drivers appreciate it.
I didn’;t think the electric power steering, additional for the duration of the tC’;s 2010 complete makeover to conserve another half-mile per gallon, was likewise as poor as BZR claims. How considerably steering really feel do you want in a FWD econopile? Oops, I did not suggest to imply, propose or state that the tC is in any way, form or kind a pile, as Blake has clearly stated.
And mileage? The EPA rates it at 23 city/31 hwy/26 combined. I ran through 2 tanksful, the very first 1 returned 22.5 mpg and the 2nd 23.8, but both of individuals were at substantial speeds and tough launches (very good title for an autobiography). Efficiency would go up had this been a smaller sized displacement engine, but Scion’;s not about efficiency it truly is about style and exciting.
While the fun element is quite properly laid out, the style, at least of this point, is debatable. I never took to the seem of this model, especially the roofline, completed at the final style makeover to supply far more rear headroom. That rear C-pillar, which I took to calling the killer pillar, is large. Why block so considerably vision with that extra-double-wide point? It’;s not like it makes the auto search good or anything. And there was no backup camera on our test tC to support in not flattening cats when backing out of the driveway.
The tC starts at $ 19,965 with a guide transmission. With a couple options, the price of this check automobile went up to $ 20,543, although the automated tester in Detroit rang in at $ 23,166. What else would the overall performance-minded purchaser search at in this section? A plain old Mazda 3 is a couple grand less, the Mazdaspeed 3 a number of grand far more. The Ford Fiesta ST and Fiat Abarth are about 2 grand or so far more. I may possibly conserve up and get the Fiesta ST, one of the ideal performance bargains in the FWD hatch section.
But if you never like the present tC, word on the street is that the new 1 is coming subsequent 12 months. So hold on and have a appear then.
2014 Scion tC
Base Value: $ twenty,965
As-Examined Value: $ 23,166
Drivetrain: 2.5-liter I4 FWD, 6-pace automated
Output: 179 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 172 lb-ft @ 4,25 rpm
Curb Excess weight: 3,124 lb
Fuel Economic system (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 23/31/26 mpg
AW Observed Fuel Economy: 23.one mpg
Choices: BeSpoke premium audio including voice-activated GPS navigation with touchscreen, aha ($ one,198) rear lip spoiler substantial profile ($ 444) illuminated door sill ($ 375) carpeted floor mat ($ 184)
Get far more vehicle information, reviews and viewpoint every single day: Sign up to have the Autoweek Everyday Drive delivered appropriate to your inbox.