Monday, May 23, 2016

My Final tC review


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Toyota had created Scion to inject some youthful life into a company that was seen as studgy. At this point, it is safe to say that they achieved their goal, offering a range of small, reasonably priced cars that you can make your own. The 2016 Scion tC is a 2-door, 4-seat hatchback coupe that fits right in the middle of the Scion range. While it's not the fastest car in the line-up, it is still capable and has mass appeal.

      Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED front accent lamps,folding side mirrors with LED turn indicators, keyless entry and ignition, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a panoramic sunroof with dual manual sunshades, a six-way adjustable (manual) driver seat with height adjustment and one-touch track and seatback angle memory, a leather-wrapped shift knob and tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, silver interior accents, reclining and folding 60/40-split rear seatbacks, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen display, voice controls and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with HD radio, Aha smartphone-app integration, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.

      The front-wheel-drive 2016 Scion tC has a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that generates 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, while a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and automatic rev-matching on downshifts is optional. During testing, my tC equipped with the manual transmission did the run to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, while an auto equipped tC did the same run in 7.8 seconds. Both are good times for the class.

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      Standard safety features include traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and active front head rests. In brake testing, the tC stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is average for the class.

      As with the exterior, the 2016 Scion tC's cabin has an overtly sporty look. With its thick, flat-bottom steering wheel, cradling seat bolsters and controls canted toward the driver, the tC strives for a high-performance sports car aesthetic. Unfortunately, the cabin's ambience is sullied a bit by the abundance of cheap plastic trim and thinly padded armrests. Happily, the touchscreen interface is clear and easy to use, and its smartphone integration connects Internet radio, Yelp and other popular social media applications.

      From the standpoint of practicality, the tC is a top choice among compact coupes. The rear seats have above-average legroom, and getting in and out of the back is exceptionally easy by two-door standards. The rear seatbacks even recline, a feature typically found in crossover SUVs (and never in this segment). Behind the rear seats the tC can hold up to 14.7 cubic feet of cargo, while folding those seatbacks yields a total of 34.5 cubic feet of space. The hatchback body style also means it's easier to load bulky items in the tC than in traditional coupes like the Kia Forte Koup.

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      Though the 179-hp four-cylinder engine in the 2016 Scion tC isn't the most thrilling powertrain in the class, it's got enough power to pull the tC around with some authority. This is the same workhorse motor used in the Camry and other products in the wider Toyota family, but since the tC is relatively small and light, it feels more eager here. If you're up for shifting your own gears, the six-speed manual is smooth and easy to operate. But the more popular automatic is just fine (it even matches revs for you on downshifts) and fuel economy won't suffer, either.

On the road, the tC may not be particularly exciting compared to the rear-drive FR-S, but well-weighted, precise steering and the car's light-on-its-tires nature make for respectable fun. The ride quality is mediocre, however, as surface irregularities seem to produce more jiggles and vibrations than the norm. Additional drawbacks include excessive tire noise and an incessant exhaust drone that sounds more like a leaf blower than a sporty coupe.

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