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2014 Scion tC: not quite a sports car but almost

2014 Scion tC sports coupe
2014 Scion tC sports coupe
- photo by ALAN GELL

If you are wanting an inexpensive sports car, forget it. They are not low-priced. But there is an alternative in the form of the Scion tC. I was excited to learn I would have a new Scion tC for a week-long test drive.

2014 Scion tC sports coupe
- photo by ALAN GELL

Scion was introduced almost a decade ago and has been well accepted. The Scion brand was a breakaway company with the idea that Toyota would appeal to younger buyers. Scion has certainly been successful, introducing their xA, xB, tC, and FR-S models.

The newest and most updated tC sports coupe was introduced at the 2013 New York Auto Show. It took almost a year for me to slip behind the wheel for a week-long test drive, but finally that feat was accomplished. The ride was not disappointing at all. In fact, it was fun. Okay, I know – this does not have the appearance or power of the FR-S sports car, which is the flagship of the Scion brand. But this new tC is almost there and will appeal to many younger buyers wanting the 'almost' sports car feel without the added costs.

My test drive model was an attractive dark color called 'Blue Streak Metallic.' It was called a 3-door liftback, which means it was a coupe and not a four door sedan. Although automatic transmission is available, my test model was standard shift, which I enjoyed. There were six speeds in the manual shift and it did not take long to become easily adjusted to the shifting.

The 2014 Scion tC has a newer look that is more sporty. It should keep the popular sports coupe in the mainstream attention of drivers. The hood is pushed slightly forward and drops down a little bit in the front. The bumper is bigger and there are new front grills. It also has an upgraded interior and an enhanced driving experience due to updated technology with the transmission and other areas of the car.

The test model came equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels that use 225/45R18 tires. This is the standard for the tC and is new for the 2014 model. This projects a more aggressive stance for the car. Adding to that look is the all-new hood and new headlamps.

The popular FR-S sports car by Scion was copied quite a bit for this redesigned tC. The 2014 tC uses the blackout style from the FR-S for a new valance under the rear bumper. There are also new LED taillights that are more advanced.

As part of the standard equipment was a panoramic glass moon roof with powered tilt and slide. The outside mirrors were matching color and include LED turn signal indicators. Even the windshield wipers were variable intermittent. Lower priced vehicles do not usually offer features such as these without additional costs.

Inside the 2014 Scion tC, there is new technology, additional convenience features, and the materials have been upgraded. The steering wheel was leather trimmed, tilt and telescoping, and included audio controls. Again, these are standard features that normally come at an extra cost. Lighter color fabric has been used on the headliner and the seats.

The tC is powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that provides 179 horsepower. That is the only engine choice available. The power plant is mated with a six-speed manual shift or a newly updated six-speed automatic. The automatic transmission features Dynamic Rev Management which was another item adopted from the Scion FR-S. The automatic supposedly can change gears about twice the speed as the previous model, although I have not tested that. My model was a standard shift.

The 2014 Scion tC is EPA mileage rated at an average of 26 mpg. For the week-long test drive, I managed a final figure of 28.6 mpg. The base MSRP is just $19,210 on the test model and there were no additional add-on's or packages. With the delivery fee, the bottom sticker price was an amazing $19,725.

The 2014 Scion tC is room, especially for two adults or two college-age drivers. It has a back seat that can carry others for short distances and offers plenty of cargo room in the back. It handles well and most importantly, it is fun to drive.