Scion is so impressed with how nicely its rear-wheel-drive FR-S coupe looks that it’s making the 2014 tC coupe look pretty much the same.
A 180-horse 2.5-liter four-cylinder sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic.
Now that the upstart rear-wheel-drive FR-S is officially a hit, Scion is now trying to let some of the magic spread to the aging sibligs. So the tC now has new squintier headlights and a larger dark gray grille that expands as it heads south. There’s also a new hood and a new 18-inch wheel design.
The rear end is less slavish to the FR-S, but does get new taillights, bumper cover and lower fascia. Thankfully, the revisions still leave buyers with plenty of freedom to make dealer-supplied (and warranted) modifications such as different wheels, spoilers and even a wide-body kit. Under the hood there’s still a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 180 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. Six-speed transmissions, either manual or optional automatics, handle the shifting duties. Still in play is Scion’s philosophy of offering well-equipped cars in one trim level that can then be customized by their owners, so the standard-equipment list includes air conditioning, cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, a power dual-pane moonroof, power windows, locks and mirrors. The 2014 model does do a few things differently, though, including some softer materials used in places where you’ll appreciate them, and a new standard 6.1-inch display-audio system. The tC also comes with the requisite six airbags plus a driver’s knee airbag. With the rear seat (which actually reclines up to 45 degrees) and the front passenger seat folded flat, the hatchback-accessible stowage area can swallow objects up to eight feet in length. That’s impressive value for a car that rings in at dollar-stretching $20,000, including destination and free basic maintenance at the 5,000- and 10,000-mile intervals. It’s those little extras that make the range of Toyota’s junior-division cars so popular.
Base price (incl. destination): $20,000
Type: Two-door hatchback coupe
Engine (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I4 (180)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic (opt.)
MPG (city/hwy): 23/31 (MT)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; driver’s knee airbag; anti-lock brakes
Weight (lb.): 3,050