Friday, January 10, 2014

Scion's sporty tC gets a serious upgrade

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

This review originally appeared in the December 2013 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California – ­I’ve been a fan of the Scion tC from the beginning, and what’s not to like in a sporty, affordable, peppy three-door hatch with a big-as-a-movie-screen clear roof?

Apparently, the folks at Scion wanted more, so the 2014 version of the tC gets road warrior/racer styling on the front and back, plus a faster-functioning automatic gearbox and improved handling via better shocks and other tweaks.

Better than before?  Oh, yes.

My affection for the tC was likely enhanced by its exterior paint job, which was dubbed – I kid you not – “Absolutely Red.”  It was all of that.  “Flagrant Red” would have worked too.

Starting price on the tester was an easy-on-the-eyes $20,210, and that included everything: leather touches, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and ventilated front brakes, to name just a few.  The car also had about a hundred air bags, or it sure looked that way from my reading of the sticker and the owner’s manual.

Gas mileage was pretty darn good at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.  Frankly, I was getting a little better than that.  This tC also scored quite high in the assorted federal government crash-safety ratings.

The 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine has more than enough to make you smile with nearly 180 horsepower.  Throttle response is surprisingly instantaneous for a car in this price bracket.  The interior gets a little noisy when the engine is at full song, but not overly so.

In slalom maneuvers, the tC performed like a champ.  Terrific feel through the steering wheel even when the car was asked to do some serious left-and-right prancing.

Yes, it’s a hatchback, but don’t gripe about that, not with the ample cargo-carrying room provided at the rear.

I know it’s easy to talk Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla when you’re pondering a first new car for your kids, but this Scion tC needs to be on that test-drive list as well.  It stacks up quite well against the venerable competition, in every category.

With the sporty exterior upgrade, I’d give this 2014 Scion tC a solid B-plus.  Kudos to Toyota/Scion designers and engineers for not messing up an already pleasant ride.

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