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2011 Scion tC Review - VIDEO ENHANCED

2011 Scion tC (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Scion tC

SEE ALSO:Scion Buyers Guide
SEE ALSO: Is The 2011 Scion tC your perfect Match?



Horsepower/Torque: 180 hp @ 6,000 rpm/173 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 174.0 x 70.7 x 55.7 in.
Tires: P255/45R18 (temporary spare)
Cargo volume: 34.5 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/24.4 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 14.5 gal.
Curb weight: 3,102 lbs.
Sticker: $21,417 (includes $720 delivery, processing and handling fee; $1,422 in options)

The Bottom Line: Scion has four or five unique small vehicles that are designed to be entries into the Toyota line of vehicles. In my mind, the tC is one of the better-designed of the group, especially when compared with the iconic and boxy xB. Besides styling, the tC offers good economy and very good handling.

So I'm headed to my local Weis supermarket and I pick up one of those small grocery carts, because I didn't have much to get. then I realized that the grocery cart was a lot like the Scion tC that I had in the parking lot. Both are light and nimble and both have very good handling. One uses that handling to maneuver around town and into small parking spaces; the other uses the handling to maneuver among the oversized carts being manhandled by old ladies.

The tC is a young person's car. Toyota developed the entire Scion lineup in order to attract younger buyers to the Toyota family, even though the demographic of buyers is somewhat higher than expected. With that in mind, the tC has several features that should appeal to younger buyers/drivers.

One feature is an instrument panel with the fuel gauge squarely in the middle. This is important, so that the younger driver will know when to whine, "Dad, my car needs gas." Seriously, the fuel gauge is positioned in between the speedometer and tachometer. there's no water temperature gauge.

The tC uses a new engine configuration, a 2.5-liter V4 that develops a healthy 180 horsepower. Since the car only weighs 3,102pounds, this is more than enough power. We had fun accelerating away from traffic lights and getting up to the posted speed limits as quickly as we could.

The tC is very comfortable to drive with good handling. It's very sports car-like with a smallish engine and good handling. It has a fat steering wheel, but the audio controls are somewhat confusing in the dark. The high beams illuminate the whole area in front of the car.

The ride is essentially quiet, but very dependent on road surface; rougher roads equal a noisier ride, meaning you have to turn the radio up loud like a teenager, smoother roads result in a quieter ride, allowing us to listen to classical music.

In my mind, the tC is the best looking Scion out there. The styling is "three-door liftback," with a rear hatch that's easy to open and offers great access to the cargo area. The rear seats fold flat to expend the cargo area, and in fact we kept the seat backs folded. As such, the tC becomes a sports car with a trunk.

Rear seat access is difficult for seniors, but since the intended market is younger people, that shouldn't pose a problem for them. The front seats are comfortable and don't contribute to back aches on long trips. Scion claims a seating capacity of five people, but at least one of those must be very small.

Click PLAY to watch the RoadTrip video of the Scion tC

With a market of younger people, there's a great 300 watt sound system. It features AM/FM/CD, AUX, USB with iPod connectivity. The USB/AUX input is in front of the shifter with a nice small cubby to hold iPods, etc. The small navigation system/audio display doesn't distract the driver. The audio system is intuitive and has good power; you can feel the bass reverberation in the arm rests.

The Scion tC is a fun car to drive and offers great handling and very good economy. It's the type of car a two-person family can have as a primary car (until the kids come along), using it for daily commuting and for weekend jaunts to almost anywhere.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate