"The tC is a sharp little car, offering a compelling blend of standard equipment, style, performance and reliability.
Even a 'base' (non-Spec model) tC provides a healthy complement of standard equipment, including power windows, locks, mirrors, a healthy 160W sound system and god's own sunroof overhead.
Performance is strong for the class, with plenty of power available from fairly low RPMs and fairly short gearing in the manual model - a strong contrast to many of the 'peakier' engines in the segment (e.g.: Honda Civic), and provides great off-the line thrust and passing power. While the engine lacks the character of more high-revving engines, it's far better suited to real-world city driving. Unfortunately, the short gearing means you'll be turning right around 4K RPM at 85 MPH. A sixth gear for better fuel economy and somewhat more relaxed (though you'll never hear the engine above the tire and wind noise at anything over 75 MPH) highway driving would have been appreciated.
Handling is good, but not great - the tC corners fairly sharply, but rolls more than I'd like. In exchange for this, you get a great ride, with well-controlled responses to uneven pavement, even mid-corner.
Fit and finish are excellent both inside and out. Inside, matte silver plastics and the large spun-aluminum HVAC knob are set against a backdrop of soft-touch material on the dash and side panels (with an unusual texture that helps prevent light from reflecting off the rather long dash in the steeply raked windscreen) and a grippy (and durable) black fabric on the seating surfaces to create an upscale 'modern/technical' look. Wheel-mounted stereo controls are a nice touch, but the wheel rim is a bit thinner than I'd like, save for the palm swells at 10 and 2 o'clock. The only real downsides are the high door sill and low seating position, which combine to create a feeling of sitting in a bathtub.
Externally, the tC combines a pastiche of other makes' ideas with good proportions to good effect. A Volvo S40 nose/front clip, BMW-ish headlights, taillights that look stolen from an A4 and even the BMW 'Hofmeister kink' in the C-pillar all make a showing, but they all blend well with the somewhat slab-sided body, short overhangs and slick-looking dark-chrome 17" wheels to create a car that you'll look forward to seeing in the garage.
My ownership experience has been flawless, with the tC proving to be a dependable and fairly economical traveling companion. The interior is a quiet, comfortable place to while away miles, with great seats and the aforementioned comfortable and controlled ride making miles disappear in seemingly short order. Fuel economy is decent, with my example averaging around 25 mpg in city driving and 30-35 on the interstates over the 15 months I've owned it.
In summary, the tC is a stellar value, offering 'a lot of car' for around $17K. Toyota reliability and resale value add a little extra to the equation, and the 'no-haggle' pricing at Scion dealers is a refreshing change from the usual back and forth at purchase time. Buyers interested in a stylish, sporty coupe would be remiss in not giving it a chance, though for pure sporting intent, the Civic Si may be a better (if somewhat more expensive) choice."
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