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Car Review: 2005 Scion tC

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By Autoline Detroit

Scion’s newest entry, the tC, is an interesting car in several respects. It’s the first model exclusively designed as a Scion—the other two, the xB and xA, were Toyota models for the Japanese market that were rebranded as Scions. And they brought this model to market in record time. Toyota claims the tC was developed in only 13 months. Typically, automakers take about 24 months.

Even though it looks like a compact car, the tC sits on a wheelbase that’s 106.3 inches long. And with a width of 69.1 inches, it’s wider than most cars in its class. And surprise, it’s actually a hatchback! Not only do the split rear seats fold down, the seat backs recline quite a bit.

Scion went all out to make this feel like a more premium car. The well-bolstered seats use a woven fabric. The dash and upper door panels use a material meant to evoke the texture of Japanese paper. The temperature controls are made of cast aluminum, and metallic type trim is used on the center console and instrument gauges. Interestingly, at night these gauges completely change appearance with a red glow.

It’s powered by a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine with 160 horsepower and 163 foot pounds of torque. If that’s not enough for you a dealer installed supercharger is available. The engine is mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, and ta-da!, the automatic gets slightly better fuel economy.

The tC starts at $16,465 including destination charges. Part of the standard equipment includes this unique sunroof that incorporates a separate fixed-glass roof panel. Other standard equipment includes air conditioning, a 160 watt sound system with 6 speakers, cruise control and a whole bunch more.

The Scion brand is already off to a strong start and the tC looks like it will give this brand new brand a lot more momentum.

And that’s Autoline Detroit’s sneak peek of the Scion tC.