In the Toyota family, the Scion branch is where the cool kids hang out, away from mom and dad and the grandparents.
There is a younger group being targeted with these rides, which are designed to look sharp and catch your eye, and not necessarily focus on the same type of features you’ll find on Toyota and Lexus side of things.
I recently had some time behind the wheel of one of the new Scion models, the 2014 Scion tC, and I’m back with a full report on what it offers and who might want to pick one up.
Fitting with the general theme of the Scion lineup, the tC is a sporty-looking coupe, featuring two doors and the hatchback trunk, and a design that is pretty low to the ground.
From the outside it doesn’t look like there would be much space inside, but it is still somewhat roomy though vs. others in its category. I got a child seat in the back comfortably, and even with the driver seat pushed all the way back someone was able to sit in the rear and not be squished.
You get a panoramic glass moonroof with power tilt/slide, which are a nice option in warm weather.
The odometer, etc. have the signature Scion Red/black features — and are almost racecar-esque in their appearance (while we’re talking racecar style, if you really want to get a car with this kind of look but that’s even more racy under the hood, the Scion FR-S is the way you want to go).
HOW DOES IT DRIVE?
In terms of performance, the Scion tC is good from a stop, quickly getting up to speed, but acceleration isn’t quite as impressive once you get up to higher speeds. It’s understandable though that you won’t be blown away, as you’re relying on 179 horsepower from a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine. Manual or automatic transmission is offered, with a slightly higher price on the automatic.
Handling was very responsive, road noise was so-so, and the ride wasn’t too rough. It’s not a cocoon, but you’re not going to hear and feel everything outside.
TECH, SAFETY FEATURES
Music controls on the Scion are done via the 6.1-inch touchscreen Display Audio system, which worked well most of the time but sometimes didn’t respond as well to touch as I would have liked.
An 8-speaker, 300-watt AM/FM/CD/HD Radio system is standard, (and it can be upgraded to the more impressive BeSpoke Premium Audio).
AUX/USB with iPod connection are standard; If you get the BeSpoke system, you get navigation and smartphone integration, so you can stream wireless music and make calls with your voice.
In terms of safety, the tC features: vehicle stability control; traction control; anti-lock brakes, brake assist and start-stop technology, plus a tire pressure monitoring system. It also has excellent ratings in crash protection.
You won’t get more advanced safety systems offered on other vehicles — like lane keeping systems, rear crosspath detection, etc. — on the tC. Those are generally reserved for more family-oriented vehicles, as they tend to drive up the prices of a new car and this vehicle is also aimed at a younger crowd that tends to be less focused on those kind of features.
The 2014 Scion tC starts at just under $20K. After adding a rear spoiler, illuminating door sill (a cool little inside touch) and the Bespoke premium audio (which costs an extra $1,198), and the destination charge, the total came to about $23K.
The Scion tC won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (it’s definitely not a family-oriented vehicle, eliminating quite a large group right off the bat), but it’s a fun ride and has a clear target market — namely younger males. Toyota and its Scion branch have a well-designed vehicle with lots of features to like, and the 2014 Scion tC could be a popular choice among those looking for a fun, sporty ride.