When the driver pulled up in the Absolutely Red tC test car, I knew it was going to be a fun week with the two-door coupe. The new 2014 Scion tC at first, reminded me of the Scion FR-S but with a bigger back seat. Scion has updated the tC for the 2014 model year and gets new styling on the outside. Scion is celebrating its 10th birthday and continues to appeal to the Millennial generation it was intended for.
Scion is keeping the tC fresh and the changes could be seen immediately in the interior upgrades. This three-door liftback tester as with all tCs now comes with more technology for the generation that wants it the most. It comes with a standard Pioneer 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display, a 300 watt six-speaker HD radio, USB port with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth wireless technology. Overall interior materials quality stays about the same with hard plastics covering most surfaces.
The cabin feels sporty and evokes a sense of speed. From the new thick flat-bottom steering wheel with touch controls to the sport bolstered seats, the tC at least looks like its ready for the track. The tC still comes with an affordable price at $20,210 so don’t expect the same performance as the Scion FR-S. The three-door is practical and offers 14.7 cubic feet of luggage, while folding the rear seat yields additional cargo space. The hatchback body style makes it easier to load bulky items than in traditional coupes.
New six-speed automatic gearbox with rev-matching feature
Unlike the FR-S with rear-wheel drive, the 2014 Scion tC uses a front drive configuration. It’s powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a respectable 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, while this tester came with an upgraded six-speed automatic gearbox. It now features a rev-matched downshift feature that adds to the sportiness.
Out on the road, we couldn’t tell the new tC lost one hp over the outgoing model. Power is decent and the tC is relatively quick off the line. The updated suspension gets larger brakes, lowering springs, sport shock absorbers and stabilizer bars are now utilized. The tC performs better in the corners, but it’s still prone to body roll at higher speeds. The power steering has been reprogrammed as well, helping to improve steering feel and response.
The biggest difference can be felt in the new automatic gearbox that features the same Dynamic Rev Management technology found in the FR-S. The new tranny blips the throttle on downshifts and provides quicker shifts during more aggressive driving. It does provide a small performance gain and makes the new tC feel sportier and more enjoyable to drive than the outgoing model.
The tC is still an economy compact and gets EPA-estimated fuel economy of 23 city/31 highway and 26 combined mpg regardless of transmission. For its class and price, the Scion tC is a good choice for someone looking for a sporty compact coupe. But if you are looking for a true performance coupe, you will need to look elsewhere.
The newly updated 2014 Scion tC should still be a popular economy coupe for younger buyers looking for a little more style and performance than the average car. It’s still a good commuter three-door hatch and maneuvers well around city streets. The tC provides a sporty driving experience and the new automatic is a great choice for those wanting quicker shifts and a bit more performance. But the Absolutely Red exterior paint will attract attention from the local law enforcement.