What it is:
The tC is a five-seat, front-wheel drive coupe that slots below the sporty FR-S in Scion's lineup. The 2014 Scion tC is updated following a 2011 redesign. The front and rear fascias are new, as are the model's 18-inch wheels and two paint colors: Absolutely Red and Blue Streak Metallic. Inside, the tC uses a new touchscreen along with upgraded materials. While last year's 2.5-liter four-cylinder is carried over, it now uses a faster-shifting 6-speed automatic. Handling is improved with steering and suspension adjustments, while automatic headlights are newly standard.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but we wouldn't expect a huge jump over today's figure of around $19,500 with shipping.
When you can get it:
The updated tC goes on sale in June.
Add it to your shopping list because:
While the FR-S is still Scion's top performer, the tC offers sporty looks and an exciting drive for less money. With an expected base price under $20,000, the 2014 Scion tC is about $5,000 cheaper the FR-S. But it still boasts 180 horsepower and direct steering, which is said to be improved with the latest revisions. The tC also includes a standard power sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels and Bluetooth. Equipped with the 6-speed manual, the tC is also quick. It reaches 60 miles per hour in 7.4 seconds - a figure that may improve with the latest updates.
Honda Civic Si: like the tC, Honda's sporty Civic Si offers high-performance thrills for drivers on a budget. But with a starting price of nearly $23,000, the Civic Si can't match the tC's MSRP. However, the price jump does buy more power: the Civic Si offers 201 hp to the tC's 180.
Kia Forte Koup: the Forte Koup is a handsome 2-door version of Kia's compact Forte sedan. Starting at $18,000, the Forte Koup offers a lower base price than the tC. But it doesn't have the same sporty feel. That's especially true under the hood, as the Forte Koup offers only 156 hp.
Used Ford Mustang: the Mustang's base price of more than $22,500 likely causes many tC buyers to drop it from their shopping lists. But lightly used examples for under $20,000 can be found easily. In addition to muscular styling, they use a brawny 305-hp 3.7-liter V6.
Used Scion FR-S: a new FR-S may be more expensive than the tC, but used examples are starting to drop in price. That means shoppers on a tC budget may soon be able to pick up a lightly used FR-S, which features rear-wheel drive and 200 horsepower.