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2014 Scion tC Quick Drive

The 2014 Scion tC carves a name for itself in this competitive segment.

The Scion tC is one of those models that you see on the road every now and then, but isn't talked about as much as we think it should be. We've driven this model with a manual transmission in the past, but this time around, we opted for the automatic, as less and less people can actually drive a stick shift. The tC is a curious combination of a hatchback and a coupe, and with a back seat that accommodates more than just kids, we were impressed. But while the tC may offer functional style, there were definitely aspects that we didn't appreciate as much. Read on to learn more of what we thought about the 2014 Scion tC.

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Model and Price

Scion has targeted younger buyers with the styling and affordability of its vehicles, and while there may be cheaper or sportier cars out there, they aren't backed by Toyota's reliability or quality. You can walk away with an automatic 2014 Scion tC for $20,965, including the $755 destination charge. And for a base model, you get a surprising amount of features. Our only additions to the base model were the Bespoke Premium Audio system featuring aha ($1,198), a rear lip spoiler ($444), and a cargo cover ($79). Added all together, the price of our tC came out to $22,686, including destination.

Safety and Key Features

All new Scion vehicles come standard with the Star Safety System, which includes features like vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and smart stop technology. Standard on the tC, you'll find an array of airbags to help in the event of an accident. Its thanks to features like these that helped the 2014 Scion tC earn an IIHS 2014 Top Safety Pick award and an NHTSA 5-Star safety rating. And while there aren't a whole lot of options to choose when it comes to the tC, we'd definitely recommend the upgraded sound system from the standard radio.

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Family Friendliness and Utility

Although the 2014 Scion tC is a coupe, there's surprisingly plenty of room in the rear seats for child seats and taller passengers. Legroom was surprising, and although someone around 6'0 may have enough head and shoulder room, we wouldn't recommend someone taller sitting in the back row for extended periods of time. The hatchback truck offered plenty of cargo room, whether you're filling it up with weekend essentials or that week's groceries. Because the doors are longer than they would be on a sedan, getting out of the car in tight parking spaces may be challenging, but getting into said spots is easy thanks to the tC's good visibility and tight steering.

Comfort and Quality

If there is one thing I would change about the interior of the tC, it would be the materials. While everything looked great and offered a cohesive environment, there weren't very many soft-touch materials. Hard plastics surrounded the entire cabin, and the seats were outfitted in a durable fabric, but it could have been a little less industrial-feeling. For the price, you'd expect to at least have the driver's seat power-operated, and the manual adjustments made it that much harder to find that ideal driving position. But once you get this thing on the road, the minor irritants flow to the back of your mind.

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How it Drives

We were pleasantly surprised with how the 2014 Scion tC handled. While Toyota may have a reputation for having less-than-exciting vehicles, Scion is different. While the engine noise permeated into the cabin a little more than we would have thought, that's where the negative aspects end. The tC had good acceleration, sharp steering, and an actual personality. While this was an automatic, there was still that sense of fun when driving more aggressively. It made us wish it was a manual. The 2014 Scion tC had no problem getting up to speed on the highway, and road imperfections were barely noticeable.

Summary

While the Scion tC may have been around a while and has seen a few generations, it's clear why it's still around. Although it may not be the most exciting thing in the segment, it offers more personality and fun-to-drive qualities than many of its competitors, even if it's just slightly more expensive. You're getting what you pay for. We didn't have many complaints about the tC, aside from some excessive road noise and the quality of the interior materials. If we were buying this car, however, we'd opt for the manual transmission, just for a more engaging drive. However, if you want to shop around, check out the Hyundai Veloster or the Focus ST.

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Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $22,686
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 23
EPA Highway: 31
EPA Combined: 26
Cargo Space: 14.7 cubic feet
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Good
Estimated Combined Range: 377 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Poor

"Our feelings are generally mixed about the tC. Personally, I can't stand the road noise that infiltrates into the cabin, nor do I appreciate the car's bare-bone interior." - Kelly Pleskot, Online Editor

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