2014 Scion tC Hatchback (2.5L 4-cyl. 6-speed Automatic)
The 2014 Scion tC is very much a car of high highs and low lows. Chief among the highs is a spacious and versatile cabin that makes life with a two-door car much easier than you'd expect. But cheap cabin plastics, an unrefined ride and excessive noise make it feel like a lower quality product than its competitors.
PerformanceThe Scion tC is definitely not a true performance car, but its above-average acceleration, solid braking and responsive handling lend it capabilities that most compact cars (coupe or sedan) cannot match.
Punchy 2.5-liter 179-horsepower engine with responsive gas pedal. As-tested 6-speed automatic transmission is quick to downshift. Zero-60-mph time of 7.8 seconds is quick for a compact car.
Stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is an average distance for the segment. Multiple stops demonstrated a resistance to fade, and the solid pedal feel is reassuring.
Great grippy, chunky wheel attached to nicely weighted steering that feels like it's going to go where you point it. The interaction between driver and car is better than in most competitors.
Exhibits the kind of light, tossable nature you'd hope for from a small coupe. The car can transition quickly from understeer to oversteer, so most drivers should keep the stability control on.
Responsive gas pedal, a traditional automatic transmission and naturally aspirated engine make the tC feel "normal" in this age of sluggish eco-throttles, CVT transmissions and turbochargers.
ComfortThe tC lacks a degree of comfort and refinement present in its key competitors from Honda, Kia and Hyundai. This, along with the chintzy cabin materials, make the Scion feel like the low-priced car it is.
The driver's seat adjusts to a generous degree, which is rare for a small compact car that lacks power operation. Unfortunately the tC's seat became less supportive the longer the drive went.
Not a firm ride per se, but every bump in the road seems to translate into a jiggle or vibration felt in your bottom and back. Nowhere close to the supple Honda Civic Coupe.
Tiresome, incessant droning from the exhaust sounds more like a leaf blower than anything remotely sporty. Wind noise remained at reasonable levels, but the road noise is excessive.
InteriorThe sacrifice you make for having only two doors is minimized in the tC thanks to a long wheelbase and doors, generous front seat travel and an adult-friendly reclining rear seat. Simple controls and a big hatchback trunk are other virtues.
Although it has a different color scheme, the touchscreen head unit is the same user-friendly unit found in most Toyotas. Center stack is canted toward driver, all other controls very simple.
Hard to think of any coupe that makes it easier to climb into the back seat. Huge gap between B-pillar and front seats. Those front seats even return to their previous position after sliding forward.
Rare compact coupe with sufficient front headroom. Back seat uniquely reclines and offers plenty of leg- and head-room. Your head will be under the blacked-out glass of the hatchback, though.
Not easy to park. High dash and low seating position limit the view ahead, while big rear quarter-blind spot limits the view out back. A rearview camera is unavailable.
Big hatch provides easy access to 14.7 cubic-feet of space, which is large for a coupe. Easily folded seat allows you to carry bulky items. But neglible small item storage up front.
ValueNo-haggle pricing and a lack of trim levels make buying a Scion tC easy, but it also means it's not available as either a cheaper base model or with the sort of luxury/convenience equipment available on rivals. Chintzy interior materials drag down the entire car.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Cheap plastics everywhere, barely padded armrests and flimsy sunroof shades are the lowlights in a cabin that looks and feels a step below its competition. Toyota's reputation for durability is not enough.
Every tC comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-pane sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone/audio, iPod interface and touchscreen. Rearview camera, leather, heated seats, keyless start unavailable.
The tC's price of $20,965 is on-par with similarly equipped rivals. The only notable option is the $1,198 BeSpoke Audio system that adds navigation and some smartphone apps to the standard touchscreen.
The EPA rates the tC at 26 mpg Combined (23 City/31 Highway). We achieved 32.6 mpg on our evaluation loop, compared to the less powerful Civic Coupe's 32.5 mpg and the turbocharged Kia Forte Koup's 29.5 mpg.
Basic coverage is 3 years/36,000 miles. Powertrain is 5 years/60,000 miles. Rust is 5 years/unlimited miles. These are all typical.
Complementary maintenance and roadside assistance are not offered. But Toyota/Scion has a long-standing reputation for reliability.
Fun To DriveThe fact the tC does not have a four-door counterpart makes it unique in the segment and certainly adds to its personality. Driving it is more interesting than a typical economy car too, but don't expect sport compact performance or handling.
Although the tC doesn't hold a candle to its lithe, rear-drive FR-S sibling, it is still more interesting to drive than the average compact car. There's more here than just an econobox with two doors.
Sharp styling inside and out, which, despite being familiar now, remains distinctive. There's more personality here than in a Civic, but you'd expect even more from a youth-oriented brand like Scion.
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator
The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Scion tC Hatchback in VA is:
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