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2016 Scion tC Review By John Heilig +VIDEO

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel



MODEL: 2016 Scion tC
ENGINE: 2.5-liter DOHC I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 179 hp @ 6,000 rpm/172 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
WHEELBASE: 106.3 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 176.6 x 70.7 x 55.7 in.
TIRES: P225/45R18
CARGO: 34.5 cu. ft. (rear seat backs down)
ECONOMY: 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/24.0 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 14.5 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,124 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Cruze, Fiat 500L, Ford Focus
STICKER: $21,330 (includes $795 delivery charge)

BOTTOM LINE: The Scion tC coupe is noisy and rough riding, but it is an inexpensive compact car.

There are eight speakers in the passenger compartment of the Scion tC, a pair of big woofers, two tiny tweeters, and four mid-range. The demographic that the tC is aimed at values these because then their “thump thump” music might just drown out the engine and road noise that intrudes into the cabin. For senior citizens, however, nothing drowns out the noise that makes even conversation difficult. It’s a shame, because he tC is a nice size for both demographics and could be improved immensely with the addition of some sound deadening.

The 2,5-liter double overhead cam inline four is rated at 179 horsepower and is always noisy. When you’re accelerating, it’s even worse. The engine does have good pickup. Whether on the Interstate or driving locally, the tC has plenty of pep. The 6-speed automatic adds to the positive experience. Without it, I might have parked the tC after a couple of days.

I hate to keep harping on the noise issue, but I feel this alone detracts from what is a halfway decent small car. Aside from the iconic and boxy tB, the tC is the essence of what I believe Scion was created to be; a small car company with Toyota values and inexpensive products.

Coupled with the ever-present noise is a hard ride. Now, I understand that light compact cars can’t be expected to have limousine-quality rides, but the tC feels every bump in the road, and in Pennsylvania, we have them in abundance.

The driver faces an instrument panel with red-on-black dials that are almost impossible to read in bright sunlight when you’re wearing sunglasses. At night, they’re fine. The tC has a tachometer, fuel and information and speedometer, with an abundance of lights for warning.

There’s a good audio system (catering to the younger crowd, I presume) with AM, FM, aha, USB, Bluetooth, CD and AUX possibilities. The simple three-knob HVAC system did its job. The knobs are for direction, fan speed and temperature.

Front seats are comfortable. The driver’s seat folds and slides forward for rear seat access. The rear seats have surprisingly good legroom with a flat floor in the middle. There are cupholders in the rear side panels, as well as room for water bottles in the doors and a pair of cupholders for the front passengers. All passengers get the advantage of a sun roof. There’s a normal-sized one for the two front passengers and a smaller one to add some sunshine to the rear.

For its size, the tC has a good trunk, and the rear seats fold easily to increase cargo capacity to a very good 34.5 cubic feet.

The tC is a small car, that’s a given. But it has one larger car feature that’s a blessing, extensions to the sun visors. Especially when the visor is unclipped and shifted to block the sun from that direction, an extension is very helpful.

I am always prejudiced in favor of small cars, since I grew my car-loving based on small cars. Sadly, the tC comes close to being a very good small car, but it loses points because of the noise issue.

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

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