Monday, October 20, 2014

The other small coupe from Scion

For 2014, the Scion tC gets a styling refresh, a few upgraded interior bits, as well as an upgraded automatic transmission. You also get an option of a 10th anniversary model.

     Without a doubt, the FR-S grabs the bulk of the attention when you talk about Scion. After the quirky xB came to market about 10 years ago, the tC fast became a popular choice for the buyers looking for a extra dose of style and performance. For 2014, the tC doesn't stray too far from that path.

     If you consider how popular the FR-S is, you might not be surprised to see the 2014 tC adopting very similar styling cues, such as an arguably more aggressive front clip, a slightly more sculpted hood, and some good looking new wheels. In addition to these updates, you can also find updates on the inside as well. A fairly large 6.1 inch touchscreen is now a standard part of the sound system, as are steering wheel audio controls, and Bluetooth. Interior material quality also improves slightly.

     Under the hood, you will find the familiar 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine. However, in this instance, you actually loose 1 horsepower. To make up for that little oops however, is the upgraded automatic transmission that shifts more quickly and confidently, and rev matches the downshifts. The latter part of this upgrade maintains engine speed while the transmission changes gears. Scion has also tweaked the suspension and steering, as well as stiffened the body structure with the ultimate goal of making the car sportier and a more enjoyable drive.

     The 2014 Scion tC is a compact, five-passenger hatchback coupe offered in a base trim level and a special edition "10 Series."

     Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a panoramic sunroof, a height-adjustable driver seat, a leather-trimmed tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, reclining and folding 60/40-split rear seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface.

     The limited-production 10 Series adds unique silver paint, 18-inch dark-finished alloy wheels, projector beam headlamps, illuminated badges, LED accent lighting, an illuminated "Scion" center console panel and premium stitching on the seats and steering wheel.

 A wide section of dealer-sourced accessories is also available, including 19-inch wheels, performance parts for the suspension and drivetrain, and an upgraded BeSpoke touchscreen audio system. The BeSpoke system includes navigation functionality and smartphone Aha app integration for connected audio and social media services.

     The 2014 Scion tC is a front-wheel drive car that is powered by a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine that creates 179 horsepower, and 173 lb.-ft of torque. The car comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the 6-speed automatic, with rev-matched downshifting, is optional.

     In performance testing, when the tC is equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, runs up to 60 mph come in a very respectable 7.4 seconds. Automatic transmission equipped models are in the same ballpark. Fuel economy numbers come in at 23 city/31 highway mpg, regardless of the transmission. While decent, many other cars in the class give you much better numbers.

     For safety, Scion has given the 2014 tC things such as stability and traction control, ABS, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtan airbags, and active front headrests as standard. In brake testing, the tC managed a stop from 60 mph in about 123 feet, which is solidly average for its class.

     In crash test news, the tC earned five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with 4 stars for frontal impact protection, and 5 stars for side-impact protection. IIHS gave the 2014 Scion tC its highest score of good, in the moderate overlap frontal offset, side impact, and roof strength tests.

     Like the updated exterior, the tC has an interior that is said to evoke speed and sport. From the flat bottom steering wheel, front bucket-like seats the cradle you almost perfectly, and controls that are positioned towards the pilot if you will, the tC tries hard to give you a high-performance car feel. It almost seems like the car is trying too hard, but if they could work if they are inline with the modest price tag.

     From the popular standpoint of practicality, the tC is one of the better option on the market today. In the back, you have well above average legroom, and getting in and out of the back is pretty easy, at least by coupe standards. Behind the rear seats, you can hold 14.7 cubic feet of your favorite things, and you can fold them to reveal even more space for your worldly possesions. Because of the hatchback body style that the car has, it means that it is much easier to load larger items in the back , than say a Honda Civic.

     In the past, Scion certainly stood out for their supposedly above average sound systems, but for 2014 the playing field has been leveled somewhat. With that being said, the optional BeSpoke audio system might be worth your extra money if you consider that it offers navigation and smartphone integration that connects to your favorite internet radio, Yelp, and other rather popular social media apps.

The 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine that is in the 2014 Scion tC makes pretty good power for the class of car, especially at the lower end of the rev range. If you are one of the few people left on earth that like shifting the gears by yourself, and i'm included in that minority, the manual transmission is an ok choice as it is rather easy to operate, and somewhat forgiving even, for the people just learning how to drive stick. However, the automatic is just fine as well, especially after this year, thanks to the upgrades that the folks at Scion have done.

     Around town, the tC is certainly entertaining to drive, and the ride is pretty smooth, if you factor in the low-profile tires, and the sporty nature of the car. But if you are looking for something that is truly sporty, fun, and very smile inducing to drive on the twsitys, there are some better options. That is why Scion also makes the FR-S.

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