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2014 Scion tC: For affordable fun, it's a terrific choice

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Sports cars are typically fun to look at and drive, but it's not fun to try to afford one if your wallet isn't flush with cash.

But the newest version of the Scion tC addresses that issue, bringing fun driving dynamics, cool styling and a reasonable price tag.

The 2014 tC has gotten a refresh that includes new designs at the front and rear, an enhanced suspension and some added technology.

The new front features a large grille, sleek headlights and a prominent air intake. The rear gets new LED taillights and seems to have more of an upswept look that completes its exterior appearance a bit more dramatically.

Scion says it revised the suspension to promote better handling and improve its ability to take on corners.

The trick seems to have worked, as the tC played along happily when we tossed it about for a bit.

The tC is powered by a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 179 horsepower and 173 pounds-feet of torque. It is linked to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is solid at 23 mpg city, 31 highway.

We can't honestly say that the tC can compete, performance-wise, with cars that are priced $15,000 (or more) higher, but in its price range, it would be tough to find a sportier driving ride.

But don't forget, even if the tC doesn't satisfy your race car desires, you can check out Scion's other sporty model, the FR-S .

As for new technology, the tC now features a Pioneer display audio system that can be linked to Bluetooth and HD radio. You can opt for Scion's Aha infotainment system, as well as a navigation system.

One pleasant standard feature is the panoramic roof window with power moonroof. It adds a nice bit of light to what otherwise could be a rather dark and compact cabin.

The tC is small, but its safety ratings are good. It received a five star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was a top safety pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Scion is marking its 10th year as a brand, and it deserves credit for continuing the mission it began at inception: making fun cars that are affordable.

The tC is both, with a sticker price ranging from around $20,000 to nearly $24,000.

For an energetic, sporty ride, you might say the tC stands for terrific choice.

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