Friday, July 1, 2011

Scion tC coupe takes a step up for 2011

Sacramento, California – I’ve liked the Scion tC two-door sports coupe from the beginning, in 2004, and there’s more to like in 2011.

The spunky little car equipped with some serious youth-oriented shout-outs has been redesigned to look more sporty on the front and back ends, and performance is more robust, thanks to a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing.

The power plant puts out a max 180 horses, and that does the job nicely for all occasions in a car that is light and nimble.

My tester with a six-speed automatic transmission had a bottom-line price of $19,995, including a $720 processing and handling fee. Absolutely no extras on the car.

Even so, my tC was liberally sprinkled with nice standard features, including the usual powered convenience devices and an ear-blasting eight-speaker sound system from Pioneer.

One important note: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2011 tC a top overall safety rating of five stars. No surprise there. The fact that this small coupe has eight airbags gives you an idea of how much safety consideration went into the design.

Fuel mileage is a nice 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, and it takes the more-affordable 87-octane.

The car is fun to drive and easy to drive.

The tC sprints briskly off the line, and the light steering makes it a top performer in dicey downtown/suburban traffic. It handles freeway duties with ease, no matter if the road is flat, twisty or hilly. An upgraded suspension system was evident – less sway and a lot less road bumping compared with my previous experiences in past tC coupes.

I would not advise trying to jam three people into the car’s back seat area. Cruel and unusual, that. Two max would be my advice, and I believe smaller adults will experience more riding comfort.

I confess that I had trouble figuring out the controls on the sound system, but this appears to be an attack of tech-challenge fever on my part. The suggested cure is more time with an owner’s manual.

The 2011 tC has been getting some very positive reviews from colleagues, who see the latest version as a vast improvement over the previous generation. Frankly, I’m not sure how much you can improve an affordable, already solid two-seater. For me, the tC is simply a better car than it was before.

Folks looking for affordable, basic transportation will like it, given that it’s a capable roadway performer with plentiful standard goodies. What’s not to like?

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