This year marks Scion’s 10th anniversary, and the still-young and relevant brand has proved itself a worthy competitor in an extremely tough marketplace. However, with the exception of the FR-S, Scion’s fleet has been steadily aging without many significant updates.
For 2014, the best seller of the group, the tC, gets a light refresh that is part aesthetic and part mechanical. Even though it’s not a brand-new model, the ’14 tC delivers a host of new goodies that make it a worthwhile opponent against its competition.
The most significant (at least in our opinion) upgrade to the ’14 tC is the addition of an updated 6-speed automatic transmission. That’s right, an automatic. Most tC owners will choose the auto over the available 6-speed manual, and now it has some features worth talking about.
First and foremost, this auto is very similar to the one found in the FR-S, and in that car, it’s quite responsive and enjoyable to drive fast. Thanks to the rev-matching technology, the automatic does a great job of mimicking a dual-clutch transmission, delivering fast and precise downshifts.
Mated to the tC’s 2.5L 179hp and 173-lb-ft 4-cylinder engine and chassis, it doesn’t exactly bring the same sporty feel you find in the FR-S, but compared with the old slushbox, this refined unit is leaps and bounds better.
With the addition of some tweaked suspension settings thanks to stiffer springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars, as well as a reworked electric power steering setup, the tC feels more like a sports coupe than it previously did. That’s not to say it’s a corner-carving machine like its RWD brother; the tC was never built to turn tarmac upside down. Instead, it’s a great everyday sporty alternative to the many mundane vehicles in the segment.
If you want a car you can enjoy and have fun driving to work or picking up your groceries in, then the tC ranks high on the list.
Add a BeSpoke premium audio system into the mix, and not only do you have an enjoyable driving experience but you can also sort through the 30,000-plus free radio stations through the Aha Smartphone app to find just the right tunes for your listening pleasure. The BeSpoke system offers Scion’s 17 unique music channels that are exclusive to Scion owners (if for some reason the thousands of other stations don’t fit the bill). Bluetooth connectivity, voice-activated navigation, and a host of other neat goodies round out the rather impressive infotainment system that seems like it’s more apt to be found in cars with a much higher price tag than in the tC.
If you don’t look closely, you won’t notice the new materials used inside the cabin, but aside from that, the interior is pretty much the same as in years past. The bold new exterior can’t be missed, though. The biggest change is up front, where a large, wide-mouth grille takes its design cues from the FR-S and angular-cut, LED-trimmed headlights finish off the aggressive styling cues. Outback, LED taillights add a modern appeal to the tC, while a black-trimmed rear valance is all but functional. While the restyled tC may not come off as anything revolutionary, it still has a solid foothold in the Scion lineup as the go-to car for many 20-somethings. With a no-haggle price of $19,965, it’s no wonder it’s such a great buy for so many people, offering just the right amount of performance, fun, and connectivity.
Specs & Details
’14 Scion tC
Engine 2.5L Naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder
Horsepower 179 hp
Torque 173 lb-ft
Transmission 6-speed manual or automatic
Price $19,965 base