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      • SEE ALSO: Buh-Bye Scion! 2003-2016 RIP

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Scion tC (touring coupe) is a hatchback designed for those on a small budget seeking decent performance and lots of extras in the technology and conveniences arena. Boasting a sportier shape than most competitors, drivers will also appreciate the roomy atmosphere and new upgraded standards like a revised new seven-inch touchscreen display.

I drove a 2016 Scion tC with the singular engine, a 179-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Available as one model trim with optional packages, the following are standard features: leather-trimmed steering wheel; keyless entry; a panoramic moonroof; front bucket seats; steering wheel audio controls; eight-speaker Pioneer audio system with the new seven-inch touchscreen; HD radio; USB port and auxiliary input jack; Bluetooth; push-button start; and eighteen-inch wheels. Price as described comes to $19,385.

For 2015, the tC adds more standard features such as the interface, keyless entry and some interior trim improvements. Competitors include the Honda Civic Si, Hyundai Veloster and the cheaper Elantra, Kia Forte Koup and Volkswagen Beetle.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Bolstered seats and black accents throughout the cabin give the tC immediate style. The acoustics from the Pioneer audio system continue to be impressive, supported by a large knob that mimics the iPod's ring wheel for menu exploration. Yet the glamour is damped by the cheap use of materials – the rear cargo cover is particularly flimsy. The whole point of the tC is to add optional equipment, increasing the style and performance through special rear spoilers, TRD lowering springs and a TRD performance air intake. There is also a tC Release Series available for further customization.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2016 Scion tC the highest score of "Good" in moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints; yet “Acceptable” in small overlap front. You can view the actual results on the website. The tC also has the highest 5-Star rating from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Cost Issues: The Scion tC features straightforward pricing with my manual transmission test drive starting at $19,385. A base Hyundai Elantra starts at $19,800; a base Kia Forte Koup at $21,295; and a base Honda Civic Si at $22,890.

Activity & Performance Ability: The Scion tC boasts a sporty four-cylinder, capable of quick pickup with a double wishbone rear suspension aiding at the corners. The manual transmission does ups the shifting fun, yet paddle shifters are now offered on the automatic. The cabin noise does increase during highway acceleration. Rear visibility due to the design’s high beltline might very well be your only concern when backing out of tight spaces with no rear camera offered. Overall, the tC is highly styled ride easy to navigate through city streets.

The Green Concern: The Scion tC gets 23 miles-per-gallon city and 31 highway for a combined 26 – this quite decent for the performance offered. However, Hyundai Veloster really sticks it to the tC by offering a more impressive powertrain with almost twice the highway fuel economy at 40 miles-per-gallon.

The 2016 Scion tC reminds you of what fun a sporty coupe can be minus the bellyaching over price. Certainly sleek and quick for its engine size, buyers will enjoy the performance perks and ability to build out a more customized coupe hatchback.

©2015 Katrina Ramser