Sporty-looking, but not a sports car.
The Scion tC is pitched at the same youthful demographic as that of its boxy four-door siblings, with a major emphasis on customization (via a catalog of extensive accessories sold at dealerships). The tC is a cut above the four-door Scion models, but it’s still fairly low priced. There’s a lot of standard equipment included in the base price: Bluetooth, a power moonroof, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, power door locks, power windows, A/C, and eighteen-inch wheels. The interior is a mix of good and cheap, but the front seats are comfortable and the rear seats are usable, at least for passengers less than six feet tall. The tC’s 2.5-liter engine makes a hearty 180 hp; it isn’t brimming with personality, but it will send this fairly lightweight coupe from 0 to 60 mph in a brisk 7.6 seconds (8.2 seconds with the automatic). Unlike the lesser Scions, both transmissions here are six-speeds. Those additional gears help the tC deliver very good fuel economy, despite its larger engine. The standard chassis setup is decent but not stellar. Buyers eager for greater responsiveness can select from the menu of TRD (Toyota Racing Development) upgrades. For a real sports car experience, upgrade to the Scion FR-S.
Kia Forte Koup
new for 2013
Another year, another Release Series for the Scion tC. This time it’s red. Release Series 8.0, available with a manual or an automatic, is about $3000 more expensive than a standard tC. It includes a body kit with a rear spoiler, eighteen-inch gloss-black wheels, a lower ride height and TRD sport muffler, and a revised interior. Two thousand will be built.
Front, side, knee, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are ABS, stability and traction control, tire-pressure monitoring, and active front-seat head restraints.
Potent standard four-cylinder
Some cheap interior bits
Not thrilling in the twisties
Base Price Range: $19,480–$23,620
TRIM LEVELS: tC, Release Series 8.0
BODY STYLE: Coupe, 5-passenger
ENGINE: 2.5L I-4, 180 hp, 173 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 88.4 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 14.7/34.5 cu ft