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It’s simple: Toyota’s youth brand had become stuck in a bit of a rut before the introduction of the Scion FR-S, and although that car’s debut has pushed overall Scion sales into the black in recent months, it hasn’t had much help—deliveries for the rest of the lineup continue to head in the opposite direction. But the 2014 Scion tC provides a nice opportunity to build on the brand’s revitalized success with the enthusiasts by offering a freshened entry in a niche that is poised for growth.
That would be the affordable compact sport-coupe segment, currently home to only the Honda Civic and Kia Forte Koup, but likely to see a sales spike thanks to an all-new version of the latter. And the 2014 Scion tC is certainly ready to get in on that action with its fresh design and improved materials.
“The sustained success of the tC, which accounts for 40 percent of all Scions ever sold, challenged designers to enhance the 2014 sports coupe in ways that keep it exciting to today’s drivers without losing its core appeal,” said Doug Murtha, Scion vice president. “The outstanding result is a 2014 tC with a sportier style and driving experience that will thrill buyers and hold its unique spot in the marketplace.”
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What’s New for the Scion tC
The 2014 Scion tC was introduced to the public at the start of the New York International Auto Show, and is expected to reach Scion studios in June with new features like:
- Revised, more aggressive exterior styling, bolstered by redesigned front and rear fascias, a new hood, and new 18-inch alloy wheels
- Upgraded audio choices, highlighted by a standard Scion Display Audio System and an available “BeSpoke” premium sound system with a Scion-exclusive, 17-channel audio station
- Improved, higher-quality cabin materials
- An updated six-speed automatic than can swap cogs almost twice as fast as the current version (a six-speed manual, of course, remains the standard gearbox)
- Wholesale suspension improvements for more aggressive handling capabilities
- A “10 Series” model that will be part of an exclusive release of special editions across the lineup to celebrate Scion’s 10th anniversary
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New 2014 Scion tC: Styling and Design
The 2014 Scion tC maintains its aggressive, “ready-to-pounce” proportions and this generation’s hallmark C-pillar shape, but showcases new details both fore and aft. At the front, for example, designers have introduced dramatically shaped headlamp fixtures and a modernized lower grille, now set off by intricate fog-lamp housings and a more prominent lip-style spoiler. And yes, LED lighting accents have been added, as well as a has a more imposing hood that further emphasizes the tC’s athletic stance.
Two eye-popping new colors also have been added to the mix for the 2014 Scion tC: Absolutely Red and Blue Streak Metallic.
At the rear of the 2014 Scion tC, designers borrowed the blackout-style lower valance from the FR-S to create a sense of connection between the two, and also deployed upscale touches like perimeter reflectors and LED taillamps. Stylish 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark gray finish and machined spokes complete the look outside, setting the stage for a noticeably upgraded cockpit.
New, more premium materials there help enhance the 2014 Scion tC’s driver-oriented cabin, which also gets a more technical appearance with the standard 6.1-inch audio touchscreen taking its place in the center stack on all tC models.
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New 2014 Scion tC: What’s under the Hood
Motivation for the 2014 Scion tC is provided by a 179-hp I4 engine that displaces 2.5 liters and offers up about 173 lb.-ft. of torque; in a car that weighs just over 3,000 lbs., the result is brisk acceleration across the power band, complemented by an expected EPA line of 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/26 mpg combined. And keep in mind, those numbers are the same regardless of whether drivers choose the car’s standard six-speed manual transmission or newly updated six-speed automatic.
The refreshed autobox can deliver shifts that are almost twice as fast as with the current automatic transmission, and it also introduces Dynamic Rev Management technology to the 2014 Scion tC. Based on a similar system in the FR-S, this feature automatically gooses engine rpm to match the transmission’s gear ratios for smoother, more dynamic performance.
Not exactly under the hood—but certainly enhancing what’s there—is a tightened-up suspension that delivers a more engaging driving experience. Modified stabilizer bar hardware, and electronic power-steering system that have been retuned for a more engaging driving experience and sharpened reflexes.
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New 2014 Scion tC: Features and Technology
Knowing that owners of the 2014 Scion tC are as interested in turning up the volume as they are in tearing up the road, the brand also put much effort into upgrading the car’s sound system for the new selling season. More specifically, they put the all-new Scion Standard Display Audio setup into the tC, where it delivers a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen, Bluetooth capabilities, HD Radio, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and Pioneer componentry—including eight standard speakers. (For what it’s worth, the expanded availability for the Display Audio system means Scion is now the only non-premium auto brand in the country to make touchscreen-enabled audio systems standard across its entire lineup.)
Scion also has a new treat for audiophiles: The 2014 Scion tC will be the first member of the team to offer the Scion BeSpoke Premium Audio system. When paired with a compatible smartphone, the system can provide 30,000 free audio stations through its Aha services interface, and that includes outlets for audiobooks, sports, news and an exclusive station for Scion owners with 17 unique music channels.
The Aha service also enables access to most of the country’s popular social media apps and online traveling resources like Yelp and TripAdvisor, while providing full-function navigation capabilities as well.
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New Scion tC: What Autobytel Thinks
Now, the 2014 Kia Forte Koup will no doubt provide some increasingly tough competition for the 2014 Scion tC, but with the affordable sport-coupe niche now boasting three entries—also including the Honda Civic—we could see the ol’ high tide of consumer interest lift sales for all players. In that kind of environment, the 2014 Scion tC will be well-positioned to attract more drivers with its strong combination of affordability, performance, efficiency and style.
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