2014 Scion tC Test Drive Review

28 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2014 Scion tC Test Drive Review

2014 Scion tC Test Drive Review

by Ben Lewis on 09.27.2013 08:20

The 2014 Scion tC is kind of like Donnie Wahlberg. For a good, long time it was the one getting all the attention. In the case of Scion, the affordable, stylish coupe was a big hit, possibly one of the few cars to stand up and do battle with the Honda Civic Coupe.

Unfortunately for Donnie, there is Mark. And for the Scion tC, there’s the FR-S. In both cases, getting upstaged by a younger sibling has got to smart.

The Scion FR-S, and it’s twin, the Subaru BR-Z are a global hit, offering an affordable rear wheel drive sports car in a market that’s been thirsting for one for a while.

Maybe with all this attention we’ve stopped looking at the tC. And maybe we shouldn’t have. For 2014, Scion has upped the coupe’s game with some new style, added features and enhanced performance too. And for a lot of buyers, the tC is a much better proposition than the FR-S.

There, we’ve said it.

On the outside the tC has received a freshening, with a more aggressive front and rear fascia, a restyled hood and new LED accent lighting on both ends. There’s also new-design 18-inch alloy wheels. And, well we’re not huge fans. We really liked the subtle, tasteful appearance of last year’s model. But we know taste is subjective and the target market for the tC will probably enjoy the added bling.

You decide. One thing we do love is the dove gray paint Scion calls Cement. It’s not a new color, but we got plenty of compliments on it.

There’s no such waffling from us on the driving experience, it’s a nice improvement to a car we’ve already dubbed the Japanese GTI.

The biggest news if for automatic transmission fans. Adopted from the Scion FR-S, the new 6-speed auto is reported to shift nearly twice as fast as the old slushbox, and also rev matches on downshifts, a pretty neat trick. While our tester was a 6-speed manual, we’ve driven the FR-S with the automatic and it’s fantastic.

If the tC is anywhere near, it’s a major improvement.

All models get some other notable improvements, including a retuned electric power steering system for more feel, a more rigid chassis and revised shock damping. It would be hard to tell the difference without doing a back-to-back comparison, but we can say that the tC remains a joy to drive, with an impressively quiet and refined ride and excellent grip in the turns.

The 2.4L four-cylinder is a big smoothie, the clutch is light and the 6-speed manual is an easy shift. Torque steer is negligible nice for a front wheel drive car. Still the Japanese GTI, if you ask us.

And you get a great place to play, too. Upgraded materials add to the nicely designed interior with big gauges and a center stack angled towards the driver. We especially liked the all-new Pioneer 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen Scion Display Audio system that’s standard on every tC.

The layout is great and everything works exceptionally well, especially the stuff like Bluetooth, and a major improvement over the system we tested in last year’s FR-S model.

The front seats are very supportive and comfortable, and the rear seats are surprisingly spacious. This is one major advantage over the FR-S, where the rears are useless for anything except small kids. Drop the seats and the tC has plenty of storage, and for reference, twice the volume of the FR-S.

Scion makes it pretty easy to spec out your tC, too. Starting at $19,965 it’s very well equipped, with standard goods including A/C, remote keyless entry, panorama glass sunroof, 18” alloy wheels, Pioneer display audio system, Bluetooth, and iPod connectivity. Go for the new automatic and you’ll add $1,000 to the sticker.

As in the past, Scion also gives you a wide range of accessories to deck out your tC, from performance parts and the BeSpoke audio system with navigation capability to interior goodies to make it uniquely your own.

If you really want to celebrate your Scion-ness, for 2014 the brand is celebrating its 10thanniversary with a special edition 10 Series. To the comprehensively equipped base model you get a unique Silver Ignition exterior, dark-finish alloy wheels, illuminating Scion exterior badges, an electroluminescent dash panel, solar-recharging (really!) illuminating shift knob, silver stitching on the seats and steering wheel and a numbered badge. Be the first on your block for only $22,195.

So while Marky Mark may get the big splashy headlines, we like Donnie a lot too. And if you need a dose of real world practicality to go with your grins, the tC is a great choice. Take that, little brother!

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