By on September 17, 2010

Eager to connect with twentysomethings, Scion has sponsored over 2,500 cultural events. Nevertheless, sales are far off their peak. Apparently free doom-metal concerts can only accomplish so much when the target customer can’t find a decent job. Or is the product the problem? Apparently Scion thinks so, as it’s forecasting praying that a redesign of the tC for the 2011 model year will double the model’s sales. (Which, if accomplished, would still leave them at half the 2006 peak.) So, might these prayers be answered?

Though technically a hatchback, the tC has again been successfully disguised as a coupe. Scion claims that the car’s revised sheetmetal is more aggressive and more masculine. And it is, to a limited degree. The blacked-out A-pillars and more dramatically kinked C-pillars are especially successful. Standard 18-inch alloys are another plus. The lack of frameless doors, as seen on the Kia Forte Koup…not so much. Though Scion must think some buyers will actually want to highlight the window frame, as it offers “carbon fiber” B-pillar appliques as an accessory (they’re on the darker car in these photos). As a whole the changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary, and the hatchback coupe, while arguably attractive, is neither striking nor beautiful. On the college campus where the drive event was staged, students walked by an entire row of parked cars with nary a glance.

The almost entirely off-black, drama-free interior is a welcome relief from recent trends in Japanese auto design. I’ve been here before—in the Celica All-trac turbo I owned 20 years ago. A pointlessly flat-bottomed steering wheel (okay, it looks nifty) and double-DIN nav screen (one of three available must-be-twentysomething-to-operate head units) bring me back to 2010. The Scion VP challenged us to replicate the typical owner experience by turning the volume of the 300-watt audio system way past 11. To my ears the system sounds loud, but not notably rich or clear. As promised, the door panels do not rattle.

The 2011 Scion tC’s driving position awakens much more recent memories. You sit relatively low behind a tall instrument panel and short, fairly upright windshield. Not as extreme as the Camaro, but pretty close to the Lexus IS-F. So it’s overtly sporty without fatally compromising visibility. The upside: unlike in the competing Kia Forte Koup, there’s no econobox flavor. Nor, unlike in the Honda Civic coupe, are you inspired to hunt down Klingon warbirds.

The front seats have been widened an inch, to enhance comfort, but lateral support remains decent. The interior’s big surprise: an adult-friendly back seat. There’s more room back there than in the Camaro and Mustang combined, and even decent thigh support. I’ve been less comfortable in some mid-sized sedans. This seat both reclines ten degrees and folds nearly flat. A hatchback provides ready access to the cargo area.

Continuing the evolutionary theme, the tC’s DOHC four-cylinder engine has been enlarged from 2.4 to 2.5 liters, and peak horsepower has been bumped from 161 to 180 at an accessible 6,000 rpm. Both the manual and the automatic now include six ratios (up from five and four, respectively). When that 1988 Celica offered 190 horsepower, it was something special. So part of me still expects 180 horsepower to entertain. Well, in this case it boosts the 3,060-pound tC to sixty in about eight seconds (a little under with the stick, a little over with the automatic) without irritating or delighting any senses. I pronounce this engine fit for duty in the Camry. TRD offered a supercharger for the 2.4, and “might” be working on one for the 2.5. Bring it on. The new engine provokes hardly any torque steer. The chassis can handle more.

The manual shifter slides from gear to gear with better feel than most in this price class. Shorter throws, a mod away, while desirable are not a must. The clutch, which engages with little transition at the very top, would benefit more from an abbreviated travel. The automatic, which can be manually shifted via the lever, was nearly as fun to drive. The additional cogs bump the EPA ratings to 23/31 in both cases. I observed 26 in fairly casual ex-urban driving with the manual, and 20 in considerably less casual driving with the automatic.

The tC’s moderately firm, nicely weighted steering, now electrically assisted, is good as such systems go. The kickback present in many Toyota systems is absent here. Feedback is limited and a quicker, more direct feel would enhance perceived agility, but the same can be said for nearly all hydraulically assisted systems. (A thinner, less heavily padded steering wheel rim would improve feedback.) I felt much the same about the steering in the Lexus IS-F, which is over twice as powerful and costs over three times as much. Scion and Lexus are both emphatically not Toyota, and yet the parent’s DNA cannot be avoided. Refinement comes first.

The rest of the chassis is better. Revised suspension tuning lends the coupe commendable balance and composure, if not agility. Only as the limits are approached does understeer prevail, and then gradually. There’s some fun to be had on the right road. The ride is firm but never harsh, and the body structure feels solid. Also contributing to the impression that the tC is more expensive than it actually is: noise levels are about as low as they get in this price range.

Given the target market, affordability is a must. The 2011 tC starts at $18,995. A panoramic sunroof remains an unexpected standard feature. The only factory-installed option, the automatic transmission, adds $1,000. Dealers offer a broad array of performance- and appearance-enhancing accessories, including a “big brake system.” The segment isn’t as large as it used to be, with only Honda and Kia continuing to offer competing coupes. The Honda Civic Si, with a smaller but more energetic powerplant, lists for $3,770 more. A Kia Forte SX, with very similar dimensions and content, lists for almost exactly the same price as the tC. How many people will pick a Kia over a Toyota Scion, if both are priced the same? Luckily for the Kia, Scion dealers aren’t allowed to negotiate, so even before factoring in the Forte’s more generous incentives the tC’s out-the-door price will be over $500 higher.

The changes to the Scion tC for 2011, though all for the better, are also all evolutionary. Scion encouraged us to turn the audio past 11; they should consider doing the same with the car. The new tC provides a very good starting point. A thoroughly entertaining car could well be just a few pounds of boost and a few tweaks to the steering away. As it is, the Scion tC, though aimed at immature buyers, feels quite mature. Some competitors feel livelier, but they also feel less composed, less substantial, and (especially in the Kia’s case) cheaper. With a hatchback and roomier back seat, the tC is also more practical. Unfortunately, such quiet strengths aren’t going to incite doom-metal-loving twentysomethings to spend cash they don’t have. Free concerts can only do so much. Want to earn lifelong loyalty and sell more cars? Forget the rock fest, sponsor a successful job fair.

Scion provided the vehicles, insurance and fuel (as well as breakfast, lunch and a branded backpack) for this review

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data

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96 Comments on “Review: 2011 Scion tC...”


  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Oh my God! It’s a tiny Saab 9-5 coupe!

    • 0 avatar
      whynotaztec

      PeriSoft nailed it!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I would have said 900/9-3 that’s been in the dryer a bit too long, but yes, 9-5 works, too.
       
      Personally, I’m really liking the idea of this car: moderately sporty, refined, quiet, hatchback, decent rear seats, reliable, economic.  I’d like an extra pair of doors, but hey, otherwise it’s everything my 9-3 was, excepting the crushing repair costs.
       
      Pity they’re not sold in Canada.

      ETA: The more I look at it, the more this looks like the NG900/9-3: the dash and console has the same “7″ shape to it, the trunk/hatch is a dead ringer, and the windscreen rake is very similar. All it needs is the ignition between the seats and a night-mode button.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re in luck: the new tC will be leading Scion’s invasion of Canada.
      Now that you mention it, the car is two doors away from being much more appealing to me as well. I’d very much like to see this happen.
      The tall bodysides might make the aesthetics iffy. The door panels would have a very high height-to-width ratio.

      Older Saabs did have much larger windows.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I can’t see it looking much worse than the 9-3 five-door did, save for the C-pillar kick-in that would make the window look awkward.
       
      I’d settle for Ion-esque suicide doors, even.

    • 0 avatar

      Suicide doors would look better and have the added benefit of eliminating the B-pillar, for easier access. But the body structure probably isn’t set up for this.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      The tC sits on Toyota’s Avensis sedan platform, hence the long rear and ample back leg room. It’s essentially a two-door Avensis with the Camry SE’s drive train.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Bingo — Pulled off the line before the final color paint and clearcoat were added and put under the Shrink Ray!
      I have children who are approaching the nether end of the target age market demo, so whom am I to make judgments?  But I will anyway: this car does not say “exciting” to me.  It does not — at least in appearance — take any risks.
      Its a blandmobile — the antithesis of the WRX, the Mini, the Mazda 3, even the GTI.
      It’s the car my wife and I would want our kid to buy . . . maybe that’s Toyota’s marketing strategy! A car for the unemployed kids that the parents will pay for (assuming they have the money).
      ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      Damn, so a four-door would be the Lexus HS? The tC looks far better than that.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Looks more like a Dodge avenger coupe :)

  • avatar

    meh…..

  • avatar
    CliffG

    As much grief as the TC gets, at least this article points out that there aren’t a lot of similar options out there at the price.  My son bought one of the first TC’s back when they were introduced -2005? -, actually I think at the time it was the only 5 speed in the Puget Sound area.  But the GTI, admittedly nicer, was also $4K more at least, and to a 20 year old Army kid, $4k wasn’t trivial.  But you got a lot of nice features for the money, and add some 18″s, intake and exhaust stuff, and a nice little ricer is sitting in front of your place.  They retain their value reasonably well, and that Toyota 4 cylinder is a pretty good motor.  And unlike Integras other kids don’t steal your intake manifolds if you leave it unattended in a parking lot someplace…

  • avatar

    Cheap tricks (parking in front of McMansions) notwithstanding, I think the look of this car is A+.

  • avatar

    Is that a detachable Nav unit?  I’ve been waiting for some smart manufacturer, especially the lower price points, to just build in a power and attachment location for an aftermarket GPS unit…so it just snaps in and is powered by the battery.
    It’s an ok little car.  I do think that the young are catching on to the idea that a car can have 4 doors and still be fun (which we adults already discovered).  So competition runs well beyond just the similarly priced coupes.
     

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      Suzuki’s been doing that for a few years in the SX4. They advertised it as the lowest-priced vehicle with a nav unit (I believe it was standard, even in lower trims). Not that anybody’s noticed anything from Suzuki in the past three years.

      Suzuki’s is an off-the-rack Garmin unit with a pop-up holder and charging plug, affected by the Garmin battery recall currently sweeping the automotive world.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not detachable, at least I don’t think so. It’s a double-DIN audio head unit with nav built in. Larger screen than a portable unit.

  • avatar
    PGM-FI

    Being in the throes of mid 20-something, I agree with the idea that we are looking for jobs/better pay more than we’re worried about what car we get there in. Of all the people who fit the profile at my job I can honestly say have the ‘hottest’ car, a 5spd ’98 Maxima. The rest have hand-me down taurai, contours, blazer/explorer, 2.slow automatic Jettas, etc.
    That being said, since Honda decided it couldn’t bother producing fun, 2 door cars like the Integra any more (the fit = wagon, and only 100 or so hp – Civic SI = expensive/Subaru STI is only 2k more) I think this could grab people of my age who found a good job and want something nice, sorta fun, and without too much drama. Hell, if i wasn’t so cheap and mechanically inclined I’d consider one too. Maybe after another 100K I can justify a 6spd/trd supercharge tc, but by then it’ll be time to crank out some offspring and 4-doors/not caring what happens to the interior will take precedence. Best of luck Toyota!

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      Last time I checked, an Impreza WRX STI was about $11k more than a Civic SI.

      Re: “cranking out some offspring,” I refer you to the comment thread of an article at an automotive journal that doesn’t hold itself to the same standards as TTAC: http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/2010/09/2010-volvo-xc60-t6-awd-bulletin-from-sweden.html

      Different people have different priorities…

    • 0 avatar

      Clearly he meant the WRX, not the STI.

    • 0 avatar
      PGM-FI

      RE: Wagen
      Many apologies, I meant WRX.
      I’ve dated my very sweet, fun and caring girlfriend for a couple years now. I couldn’t be happier (She rides an ’03 Suzuki SV650 S!).
      Lately I’ve been getting the ‘So when are you buying a ring?’ question from all sides. Hence the cynicism about taking further steps toward procreation. Besides, just because I’m not gushing about how wonderful it’ll be to become not just a father but a dad, doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to it. Settle down.

  • avatar
    Mercennarius

    I didnt think they could but they have succeeded in making it significantly uglier. Honestly…Toyota just needs to swallow up the Scion brand.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I, too, thought the side profile was hideous. And who said that color had any place on a car somebody might want to buy?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I disagree on the ugly comment.  I think it looks great, although it is not distinct from its predecessor.
       
      However, it would sell much better if it wore a Toyota badge.  Six to seven years on, many people still don’t know that Scion is part of Toyota.  Scion as a brand has failed, even though they’ve built good cars, including my 05 xB.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I like that near-satin cloud/light gray color.  It is quite complimentary to the vehicle’s shape. 

    Anyway, it sounds like a decent enough car for the money.  I don’t understand why Toyota/Scion is so adverse to offering a factory turbocharged/supercharged little sport coupe.  Add AWD and a turbo, and I think that these would fly off the lots for $24,000. 

    • 0 avatar
      Apollo

      Really? I spent a while trying to determine whether that was the final color or whether this car left the factory with only primer. I only concluded that it was the former because Mr. Karesh would have told us if it was the latter.

      Does this car have no shine on it in person, or is that just in the pictures?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a flat gray, and looks much like primer in person. Gutsy choice that I applaud. Even better would be flat black.
      Toyota might be afraid of going the turbo AWD route because of how poorly the Celica All-trac turbo sold two decades ago. But the Celica cost $24,000 back when a regular Celica cost perhaps 2/3 as much. It was terribly overpriced. I bought one a year old for $14,000 that I strongly suspect was from the press fleet.

    • 0 avatar
      mpresley

      Primer?  Personally I’m holding out for the Bondo finish.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It certainly seem an entirely sensible car. Question is, is that what the target demographic wants? Reliability is a good thing but I would have liked to see a little emotion and youthful exuberance to make it more than just something that appeals to the left side of the brain

    • 0 avatar

      I have scant data on the first-gen tC, possibly because people in their 20s aren’t very concerned with reliability. They’re young, and they didn’t live through the cars of the 80s and early 90s.
      The data I do have suggest that these are reliable, perhaps even very reliable cars.
      I’d love to have better data on the 2011.
      To help with the Car Reliability Survey:
      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    RGS920

    Am I the only one that gets annoyed by a relatively cheap car having massive wheels come standard.  At least the manufacturer is usually polite enough to offer a trim with a normal size wheel.  18 inch rims come standard… holy crap you’re looking at looking at $150-$200 per tire when the time comes to replace them on what is essentially a cheap/underpowered coupe.  Also if you end up with a flat that can’t be fixed just try and get a replacement from your local tire store.  Those size tires almost always need to be ordered special. 

    • 0 avatar

      Fit and Yaris have normal wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      <i>Those size tires almost always need to be ordered special. </i>

      Hello?  It’s 1988 calling – where’ve you been?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Your prices for wheels are out of date.  You can find appropriote tires all over the web for under $120.

      The cost of tire isn’t so much related to the size as the popularity of the tire from OEMs. If Toyota started shipping the 4cyl Camry with 235/35-19 tires from the factory, the price of tires that size would drop significantly because supply would be ramped up to meet demand.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Better that than the absurd little donuts you see on most subcompacts. Not only do they get lose inside the fender like a shopping cart wheel, but the offset is so far back that you’d have to crawl in there with a miner’s headlight and a canary to change the tire…

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      right now there are many cars with 18” wheels
      but I agree that this is the problem! It is too expensive to maintain.
      Now, I like this car (take away interior) but if Toyota Scion wants me to buy it they must do the following: remove standard panoramic roof, bring on 16 or 15” tires (this should slash at least $1000 off), and make mileage into mid 30 range. Bigger Camry has better mileage with the same engine. Then we’ll talk money. There is no car there is no money.
       
       

  • avatar
    John R

    Coming to a Toyota dealer near you as the Celica as soon as the Scion brand dies.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    “It’s a flat gray, and looks much like primer in person. Gutsy choice that I applaud. Even better would be flat black.”

    If you read the care and feeding required for the BMW “frozen gray” M3. you won’t applaud, you will cry. Basically, you can’t wax the car, you can’t rub the paint too long in one spot lest you make it “shiny” It is stupidity on anything but a rat rod. For a DD likely to see it’s share of bird droppings, it’s a fail.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    A lot of people rag on this car(car mags and journalists too) and they just don’t seem to get it. It isn’t a sportscar. It isn’t *meant* to be a sportscar. It is a slightly sporty, fun-to-drive, comfortable, low-priced, and efficient touring car… much like the Celica used to be in the 1990s before the last generation where it went batshit crazy in search of younger buyers. I bought a 2006 for cheaper than than anyone wanted to sell me a Mazda3 hatch at the time. I sold it before it the value took a dive due to high mileage I put on it in a very short period of time. I’ve got the Mazda hatch now. Compared to the Mazda, the TC was way more reliable, I loved the huge retractable glass roof, it had a bit worse handling due to the extra weight (but not as bad as most reviewers that have not owned both would have you believe), but it made up for it with a more powerful engine and about the same gas mileage, it had better, colder A/C, and just as versatile of a cargo area (though not as comfortable to sit in the rear, obviously). I love my Mazda3 – sometimes I don’t believe it loves me – but I’d still buy another TC. It was just a great tourer that could pack on miles comfortably and was still playful when you wanted it to be.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    My wife and I bought an ’09 tC shorter after college. It has been a great car. Like Michael points out, it is by far the cheapest offering in the sporty coupe category, and has tons of standard options that are expensive or not available on its competitors. That is the tC’s appeal, not an exciting VTEC motor or cheap Korean labor and copycat styling.
    Even so, the tC is less than a half second off a Civic Si to 60mph, while it gets much better than advertised mileage (we have recorded just over 29mpg lifetime average in 43,000 miles of ownership) all for $5,000 less than the Honda, plus the standard iPod cable, panoramic sunroof, subwoofer, big back seats, etc.
    Also, Michael did not point out that Scion offers $1,000 off MSRP for college graduates

  • avatar

    The 2.5, oddly enough, is an entirely different motor from the 2.4. It appeared in RAV4 a year ago or so and seems working pretty well. There is a notable power bump and it seem to be reliable. But I don’t think anyone has hit 200,000 miles with one of those yet.

  • avatar
    mikenem

    I’m in the targeted age group and Scion has been lame to me and my friends since day one. A car that can be “customized” with factory mods ordered off their website, isn’t exactly customization is it? Looks like they try to appeal to the remaining few who haven’t gotten over the Honda Civic tuning craze of the mid ’90s. Most in my age group seem prefer a used 3 series, WRX or Infiniti G anyway. Failure

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      You aren’t the target audience, actually.  You and your status-chasing friends wouldn’t be satisfied unless it has a luxury badge.  A used 3 series for $18k is either a late, low mileage e46 or an early high mileage e90/92.  When you calculate operating costs in there, the person that can afford to shop a new $18k car probably can’t afford to maintain a used $18k luxury car. 

    • 0 avatar
      Canuck129

      Status chasing friends!  Nice!

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @Quentin: Agreed, and I’m in the mid-40s group that’s not supposed to buy Scions, but have anyway.  Frankly, even I couldn’t afford to keep on of those used status cars.

    • 0 avatar
      FJ20ET

      I love Infiniti’s, but dislike some their drivers.

      Like your friends, who are blissfully unaware that you drive a Fucking Nissan Skyline.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Being middle aged with a clot of kids, Scion is sort of off my radar, but I see a lot of value here.  180hp, honest-to-god 6 speed manual, hatchback utility, usable back seat, expected excellent reliability, decent fuel economy, and – I think – good looks, all for under 20K.  I like the primer gray too.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Being middle aged with grown kids, this checks a lot of boxes for me.  Not crazy about the styling, but I wouldn’t rule it out until I’ve seen it in person.  No way the wife would go for primer gray though!

  • avatar
    DearS

    Sounds like they did a good job on this car, more than I was hoping for in some ways. I’d be happy owning one I guess, although I’m not paying for one.

  • avatar
    mikenem

    Actually, my friends used to be Honda / Nissan people and have moved on to more modern rear drive/ AWD platforms….

  • avatar
    ajla

    The segment isn’t as large as it used to be, with only Honda and Kia continuing to offer competing coupes.

    And with that statement, the Mitsubishi Eclipse hits the liquor bottles-hard.
     
    It might also be worth mentioning the Genesis Coupe 2.0T, which seems to be available for about $21K right now.
     

    • 0 avatar

      The Genesis Coupe is clearly in a different class, at least for me. Adjusted for features it’s about $4,000 more than the tC.
      Must admit that the Mitsubishi totally slipped my mind. I had a sense that I was forgetting one, and just couldn’t place it.
      This said, I also don’t feel like the Eclipse is in the same segment. It’s considerably larger and heavier, with a big V6 to target enthusiasts. It’s also clearly a hatch rather than a coupe. You can get the Eclipse for $19,000, but it will then have about $2,000 less feature content.
      I did intentionally say “coupes” to exclude the GTI. Though it’s clear hatchback configuration and German pricing also lead me to consider it in a different segment.

      To run thorough comparisons:

      http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      I had the exact same thought.  The Genesis 2.0T Coupe with a 5-speed can be had for under $22K, is very nicely equipped, is right wheel drive, and has 30 more HP under the hood.
      I just don’t get the Scion tC I guess and surprised at this glowing review.  Sure, they start at $19K, and if you spend another $3K to $5K making it “right” and upgrading the performance goodies Toyota left off, you have a nice car.  OR, you could just buy a car that was built right from the word go:
      1) VW GTI – $23K
      2) V6 Ford Mustang – $22K + RWD
      3) V6 Chevrolet Camaro – $23K + RWD
      4) Subaru WRX – $24K + AWD turbocharged insanity
      5) Hyundai Genesis 2.0T Coupe – $22K +RWD
      6) Splurge on the Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Coupe – $25K +RWD
      7) Mini Cooper S – $23K
      8) MazdaSpeed3 – $22K
      Scion’s reliability is far below that of Toyota additionally.  I agree to a 20-something buyer that $4K is not trivial.  But to then go and say right in the story, spend $4K on ricer goodies to make it “right,” is even fiscally worse.  A used car buyer doesn’t care about CAI, suspension modifications, and other, ehem, tweaks.
      As a base model on its own merits, the tC is a solid offering.  Put any kind of modifications on it or add some options and there are vastly better choices out there for the money that have plenty of street cred (2011 Mustang, MazdaSpeed3, Subaru), don’t wear an American iron badge if that turns you off, and have some serious advantages in utility (Subaru, VW), and/or resale value (Mini Cooper S).
      Buying a basic stripper tC and not putting a penny in it; good car.  Beyond that walk away.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Holden – Michael was reviewing the standard tC from what I can tell.  I’d venture to say that the factory accessories are not typically on these cars when purchased, as well.  I get the feeling that you’re assuming that since upgraded brakes are available, the standard ones are terrible and so forth with the rest of the “upgrades”.  Going up to $22k is a huge chunk of change in this price range.  I just bought a $36k SUV and getting the optional leather, that added $1800, was a difficult decision to make.  That only increased my cost by 5% by getting the leather.  Going up $4k when you’re looking to spend $18k is pushing the price up over 20% higher!
      And really, some people just want a cool looking* car that drives pretty good.  They don’t care about RWD, they don’t want the add’l reliability issues of a turbo, and they really need to keep it under $20k.
      *subjective to the potential buyer, of course.  it looks cooler than a corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’ll concede that the Gen Coupe and tC probably don’t get cross-shopped too heavily.
       
      The Ecplise GS is kind of a weird one though.  I’ve always considered it a tC competitor, but in hindsight maybe it belongs more to the Altima/Accord Coupe part of the world.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

       

      HoldenSSVSE

      All of the cars you listed end up in the 30K range with options.
      Try searching these cars. It’s awful!!
      Well, maybe not the speed3.

      What I would like is a comparison with the Mazda3 hatch.  The hatch ENDS at around 22K with all the options checked.

      A little reality helps here.  The FINAL pricing is what should be playing more of a part in theses reviews.
       

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Move along now, before the Bloomfield Hills police shoo your bourgeois car like a housewife shoos a smelly cat.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Is that were the pic was taken?  So, that place is like what  180 maybe 200k?

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      Probably not far off, sadly.  I’m pulling for the D’s revival.

    • 0 avatar

      North of Rochester Hills, Silver Bell area. Even with the recent 40% drop the prices, Zillow estimates the value of the 11,000 square foot home in the top photo at $2,644,500:
      http://www.zillow.com/homes/2424-Pond-Vallee-Drive,-Oakland,-MI_rb/
      They’re usually a little high, so a mere two mill might do the trick.

      The gray 14,000-foot home in the photo further down the page: perhaps $3,369,000, though this is up nearly a million from their estimate just a month ago:

      http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2299-Pond-Vallee-Dr-15-Oakland-MI-48363/70853709_zpid/

  • avatar
    ringomon

    I’m interested in the ‘roominess’ of this. One of my coworkers has the current model- and it’s uncomfortable for me to sit in the front seat.  It’s one of those cars where I feel that everything is an inch away from me.  The ceiling an inch from my head- the window an inch from my ear- the glovebox an inch from my knees.  It’s not a car I wanted to spend a lot of time in.  Other than that I like it perfectly fine.  (I am in my 20′s)

    That being said, I am 6’4″.  But I also drive (and love) Mazda 3′s, so I’m not used to huge cars. I haven’t had the same claustrophobic feelings in the front of a Fit (The only other modern small car I’ve ridden in)…
    I get the same feeling in the previous model Honda Civics and other b segment cars of the previous gen- but the TC is worse.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Karesh… you got a 1 year old All-Trac for 14k back in the day?
    Damn! That was the deal of the year! I couldn’t find one of those cheap back in the day to save my a$$ from first base. Most of them were in the mid to high 20′s and I still thought that was a far better deal than a Vette.
    Great review Mike. I see a lot of goodness in that Celica. In fact, I’ll even disagree with the TTAC Best & Brightest on this one. The Scion brand is absolutely fine and there is a dire need for Toyota to reach a more youthful audience. I don’t think it’s needed. But I would wager that renaming this car the Scion Celica would offer a lot more good rep for it than a Tc.
    Let me see here. Karesh and Lang are former AWD Celica enthusiasts.
    Pretty cool.
     

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    The funny thing is… I sort a like it, but I liked the old one too.  Bring on the supercharger!

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    As a Toyota, this would be a hot-selling automobile (which, let’s face it, should just be called the next Corolla). As a Scion, this will not be a hot-selling automobile because it does not have the novelty factor of the first generation (“Hey, look at this new car model from this new car company”) nor does it have the performance value that young people are looking for.
     
    I ask you, where is the “S” model? You mentioned TRD, but that trim never gained any real “cred.” The Scion brand failed because it never branded the “sport” side of the brand. EVERY one of their cars should have had an “S” option (with larger engine, bigger wheels, etc.) to generate interest in the performance crowd. That’s what young people like.
     
    Call it tC “X-treme,” tC “X factor,” tC “Sport,” or whatever other bullshit marketing buzzword you want. You don’t even have to make that many of them for the model to be successful. Just sort of a halo car. Think of Mustang V6 vs. Mustang GT. People who can’t afford the GT get the V6 and think, “Hey, it’s still a Mustang, it still has the sporting credibility.” That’s all they had to do with Scion and they failed. Now it’s too late.

  • avatar

    None beat its pants off in terns of acceleration. The Mazda3 is probably the most fun to drive in this price range, but no two-door so I didn’t mention it.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Wasn’t the tC supposed to replace the Celica when it came out ? Major fail ! Doesn’t have the looks , gas mileage or headroom of the Celica – with wasn’t exactly spacious sans sunroof to begin with  . And those blinkers in the mirrors are as tacky as they are on a SUV with chrome wheels that have innards that keep spinning when the rest of the enormous land barge has stopped ! The Camry engine works fine in my 2006 2wd Tacoma extended cab 5 speed returning 22-24 mpg avg mpg . Surprised that it doesn’t do better here in the new tC even with more horsepower . They put that engine (2.4 version) in the Matrix too (traded my 03 Matrix for the Tacoma) ruining it’s gas mileage for dolts that wanted more torque too stupid to consider a Camry or learn how to shift a standard as I’d never buy a 4 cylinder without a standard tranny. That’s right Japan , Americanize the cars which are bought for their fuel economy and you’ll lose the customers you have/had for the few you don’t and may never get anyway ! Scion xB anyone ?

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Not a fan.  So, does the branded backpack look sporty?

  • avatar

    BTW, how’s the sex in the back, better with seats folded or raised?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The Tc’s 2 Door Competition
     
    Kia Forte – Most direct competitor. Lucky for Toyota, it’s nothing special.
    Mitsubishi Eclipse – Pretty much a dead model.
    Honda Accord Coupe – 4k ‘MSRP’ disadvantage on low end… but real world difference would be around $1500 to $2000.
    Honda CR-Z – Not in terms of ‘horsepower’ specs… but I believe that a lot of folks who look at Toyotas look at Hondas and vice-versa, and the Tc is still primarily for one to two people.
    Honda Civic – The EX model would likely represent the best real world competitor for the Tc. The Civic Si is far too pricey.
    Ford Mustang – I think this is one important competitor that gets overlooked a lot. A lot of the young and young at heart would gladly opt for the 2010 version with 210hp over the Tc. The shape is even a bit similar between the two models.
    Although the 2011′s will begin a few thousand higher in ‘drive out’ during the debut . I do believe that the usual short buzz for the Mustang and Tc will make them price competitive within a couple of years. Especially since Ford has to hit big numbers with the Mustang.
    Hyundai Genesis Coupe – This one is a stretch… for noe. But if the coupe continues to languish in the marketplace you may see the base Genesis start to go out the door at the 22k range. I could see someone opting for the warranty and the look of this Genesis over the Tc for a couple thousand more. In financing terms you’re likely looking at perhaps a $75 to $100 difference.
    Mini – Another fashionable vehicle. BMW is very strong on leasing and they may just have to offer a cheap lease to keep the Mini’s numbers up. That will hurt the Tc.
     
    At most, three of the above vehicles will make money. The sport coupe market has a damnable short shelf life and the strong push for premium hatchbacks in this price range will put a lot of stress on this market.
    The Tc will have at the very most two ‘decent’ years.

  • avatar

    cars.com said that the interior is more “low rent” than the previous tC. Karesh, what’s your take?

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t driven the first-gen car in 4-5 years, and cannot recall it well. The new one certainly isn’t high-rent. But I cut some slack when the interior isn’t trying to appear more premium than it is. Instead, I see this one as functional.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I like it, mainly because its a hatchback. I HATE flat paint jobs however. Too bad they could get another 20hp out of the engine to advertise its got 200hp. A turbo and AWD version would be awesome, but since this is Toyota we all know that will never happen.
    When my mother’s Saturn’s SC finally dies the tC would be perfect for her. This tC is just missing that little suicide door to access the back.

  • avatar
    jeremy5000

    As a 20something that currently owns a 1985 Celica, I’m looking forward to seeing this car in person if it makes it’s way to Canada anytime soon. Now that I am gainfully employed a new car will be in order by next summer.

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    Being at the midpoint of this demo, a roomy hatchback manual 5spd fun to drive that would fit my dog with the seats flat makes a very compelling argument. I also agree that in theory supercharged or turbo with awd would be pretty cool too lol.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I can’t consider this car solely because insurance companies seem to hate it. Traditionally all the wrong people are attracted to the tC.

  • avatar
    colin42

    So how does it compare to the old one? Is the evolution in the right direction or have they made it more of a boremobile?

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    I’m done with Scion. I bought my wife a 2005 tC when they first came out. Not a bad little car, but not very sporty. My biggest grip with the car was that it was a Toyota. I had the car serviced in three different states and every Toyota/Scion dealer service dept. was very arrogant, difficult to work with, and had poor customer service.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’ll take the Kia Forte Koup than you.

  • avatar

    drive a corolla le at about 18,200 and then look at this car and its like damn for 1800 more i can get so much more. alloys, nice stereo, sunroof, cool styling,decent mileage. i think 18′s on this car is great. same engine as the camry for reliabilty. the  camry 22/32 mileage and weighs 3307. the scion weighs 3060 and gets 23/31.

  • avatar
    threeer

    For the record, the color is “cement” and it is not flat…there is a bit of metallic in it, but it is very subtle (you have to be pretty close to notice that it is, indeed, not flat). I’m sure there are faster, cheaper, better handling…but the wife test drove one and promised numerous acts of pleasure when we got home afterward…needless to say, there will be a new tC in our driveway within a few weeks!

  • avatar
    siuol11.2

    It would look great… If the shoulder line was 2 inches lower.


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