2012 Scion tC BaseView Vehicle Profile
2012 Scion tC: Sexy on the outside, slacker on the inside
The Scion tC in special edition High Voltage Yellow screams, “look at me,” but don’t look too deep, it’s a tease. I wish it weren’t true, but it is.
With slicing body angles, gothic black 18” rims, and rakish windows, it sends out all the right pheromones. The message is tough, sexy and comfortably outsider. All that exciting edge and angst is wasted though on a car that is shooting blanks.
The Scion tC has a base price of $20,940, the bundle of extras included in the Release Series 7.0 package adds $2,485 but they provide visual appeal only such as the TRD (Toyota Racing Division) body kit. There are no performance perks to shake the tC out of its comatose state. My tester had a 6-speed automatic transmission worth an extra $1,050.
Toyota calls the tC a sports coupe, but thrash as you might, it’s hard to coax it out of slacker mode. The 2.5 litre 4-cylinder produces 180 horsepower and it should deliver some spurts of fun, but a spin through Rona on a forklift might be just as compelling. While the engine is reluctant to get you anywhere fast, it seems eager to let you know it is working — droning at a variety of r.p.m.
The steering is right in tune with the tC’s underachieving resumé. It feels disconnected from anything the car is doing, especially under hard acceleration. Brake feel is OK, the ride is civil and handling is matched to the Scion’s boy-scout performance.
So the ride doesn’t match the looks, what about an interior equal to the flamboyant outside shell? I’ll give it an honourable mention for the good-looking seats clad in funky fabric, but there’s a swath of cheap plastic that drags down the cabin’s ambience. The flat and very high dash is industrial looking, the gauges recede in to a dark tunnel, the print on the radio buttons is minuscule and the lever to move the seats back and forth for entrance to the back seat is hard to use. Backseat passengers will have to put up with windows that don’t open, and a back window that slopes so much it is pretty close to the cranium of taller types.
I liked the chunky, flat bottom steering wheel and the start-stop button, because the red plastic disk cheered up the basic black console. The centre stack is smartly angled toward the driver and it also has hatchback practicality nicely disguised in coupe styling.
The Scion tC is aimed at the under 35 group, and some of my complaints may be age-related. But I do believe the special edition with its tuner esthetic is making a hollow promise. Now that the bundle of free-range fun called the FR-S is here, the 7.0 release tC, and just minted 8.0 version, seem even more awash in an identity crisis.
If style and practicality are paramount, than the limited edition tC delivers. Or a base model minus the bold body bits and extra charges might be the right formula for shoppers in this segment. Otherwise the Mazda3, a darling of those who love to drive is a convincing alternative to the Scion, or the defiant Veloster with better fuel consumption stats, deserve attention.
For me the Scion tC Release Series 7.0 rates a 6.0.
Scion tC Release Series 7.0
PRICE (base/as tested): $20,940/$26,000.20
ENGINE: 2.5 litre 4-cylinder
POWER/TORQUE (hp/lb.-ft.): 180/173
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 8.9 L/100km city, 6.3 L/100km highway, 9.1 L/100 km observed
COMPETITION: Hyundai Veloster, Kia Forte Koup, Mazda3
WHAT’S BEST: Hard rock looks
WHAT’S WORST: soft rock driving
WHAT’S INTERESTING: only 175 of the 7.0’s are available in Canada
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