I'll second that. The last, 2Gen version had a good chassis, but, unlike the fairly nice 1Gen version inside, the cardboard-thin black-plastic interior panels and poor-quality trim reeked of cost-cutting. Even the much-maligned 2012 Civic, IMO, was nicer inside. Of course, it can be argued (with some justification) that many tC buyers often customize their cars to an extent, replacing many of the interior factory-parts, that it is not necessary or practical for Scion to spend a lot of money trying to make the standard interior of the tC look like a Jaguar.
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Exceptional features will now come at even more exceptional prices. The 2014 Scion FR-S and tC gain premium features with the competitively priced, limited edition Monogram Series™ models on display for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Monogram Series vehicles will be available in dealerships starting in February.
“Through this limited edition Monogram Series, Scion brought together extra comforts and conveniences in the FR-S and tC without sacrificing value,” said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha. “By incorporating these features as standard for a limited time, we provide a great price to go head-to-head with the competition and encourage more drivers to get excited about experiencing a Scion.”
High-end features like Alcantara® inserts in the FR-S and navigation technology in both the FR-S and tC set the Monogram Series apart. Vehicles will be available in all standard body colors and both transmission options. Just 2,000 of these limited FR-S models and 2,500 tC models will be available this year.
Scion tC Monogram Series Specifications
-Leather trimmed seats with perforated inserts
-BeSpoke® Premium Audio with navigation and connected services
-Smart Key with push button start
-Heated front seats
-Leather shift ****
-Rear window wiper
-Color-keyed low-profile rear spoiler
-Carpet floor and cargo mat
-Upgraded center console lid with accent stitching
-Upgraded interior door trim
Pricing: The MSRP for the six-speed manual and six-speed sequential automatic transmissions are $21,400 and $22,400 respectively, representing a value package of over $1,500.
All Scion models are covered by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Monogram Series vehicles also come standard with Scion Service Boost, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and two years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
Scion MSRPs do not include a $755 delivery, processing and handling (DPH) for all Scion models. The DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary. The complimentary Scion Service Boost includes normal factory-recommended maintenance services up to two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and 24-hour roadside assistance for up to two years from the date of purchase.
Introducing the Scion Monogram Series tC, available in all seven standard tC exterior color options.
The Scion Monogram Series tC comes equipped with a list of premium features including Smart Key and push-button start, premium leather-trimmed seats, a rear spoiler and rear window wiper, heated front seats, and BeSpoke® premium audio with onboard navigation and Aha™.
Available only for a limited time. Contact your local dealer or visit Scion.com for more details.
Once upon a time, the Scion brand sought to bring more youthful buyers into the Toyota stable. In the early 2000s, Scion launched with its plucky xA and xB hatchbacks, and a lot of people bought into its affordable, customizable, funky lineup – myself included. I was once the proud owner of a 2006 xB, and though the box-on-wheels wasn't really a proper enthusiast machine by any means, I loved its unique driving dynamics, clever packaging and fresh style.
Following those two hatches, Scion released its tC coupe – a modestly sporty little thing that stayed true to the brand's core values of being affordable, neat-looking and endlessly customizable. People really dug the first-generation tC, and with good reason – it offered a bit more personality than a comparable Honda Civic Coupe, effectively the only other two-door compact then on the market from Japan. And for folks who wanted a sporty, low-cost two-door, the tC was a pretty decent buy.
But then Scion changed. The xA was killed and the comparatively frumpy xD bowed as its replacement. The xB was totally renewed, but it got bigger, heavier and less attractive in the process. And then after a few years of standing idle (will we ever see xD/xB replacements?), Toyota birthed the Scion FR-S – a properly sporty, enthusiast-minded rear-drive coupe created with the help of Subaru. I really dig the FR-S – if I had to buy something from the Toyota/Lexus/Scion stable, it's easily the car I'd want. But by offering a properly good two-door package with its new coupe, where has that left the older, front-drive tC?
The tC was still the best-selling Scion in 2013, but at 19,094 units, its deliveries were only slightly better than the newer FR-S, which rang up 18,327 sales. Toyota has given the tC a modest refresh for 2014, so I spent a week with one to see whether or not there's still real merit to the original Scion coupe, or if it's already reaching has-been status.
The tC isn't a bad car to drive – let me make that clear right from the get-go. No, it doesn't offer the perfect weight distribution, excellent chassis tuning and great steering of the FR-S, but really, it's still good fun. Allow me to explain.
Under the hood is a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque – plenty of grunt for this 3,082-pound coupe. My tester came with a six-speed manual transmission, controlled by a linear, nicely weighted clutch and a shifter that offers decently crisp throws that could be a bit shorter. The tC has no problem getting up and going, and the transmission makes it easy to keep the engine on boil. It may have less power than the FR-S, but the 2.5-liter engine offers more torque, and that's really noticeable off the line.
The suspension is tuned for easy, daily-driver fun – while not as feedback-heavy as the FR-S, it's certainly not a washy setup. There isn't much in the way of body roll, and for longer trips on the highway, I found the tC to be a more pleasant cruiser than the more taut FR-S.
Steering tuning is okay, with a relatively dead on-center feel that picks up weight while turning. Again, it isn't FR-S good (it's hardly a fair comparison given the different drive axles) but take that car out of the picture, and the tC still offers some of the best steering weighting and feedback in the entire Toyota stable.
For my money, this car is still better to tool around in than a two-door Honda Civic, and the optional TRD exhaust ($699) adds a muffled growl to the package. In times where the involvement-above-all FR-S can get a little jarring and old, the tC makes up for it by being more comfortable and more laid-back. I'm not sure that's a sacrifice I'd be willing to make every day, but I can certainly see why less-enthusiast-oriented drivers would.
The tC still looks pretty cool, too – it always has. I dig the flat roof and slimmer headlamp design that came with this year's refresh. I really like the Cement paint of my test car, as well. And though I'm not sold on the costly, flashy 19-inch TRD wheels ($2,199, instead of the stock 18s), clear taillight housings and tacked-on spoiler ($499), I can see why a lot of people would enjoy this sort of tuner-friendly tC style. It's truer to the original Scion flavor, though my eyes still prefer the FR-S any day.
Inside, the tC doesn't offer a particularly wonderfully appointed interior, yet it's comfortable enough for two adults. Headroom is an issue (thanks, flat roof), but there's a decent amount of space in the rear with which to cart small passengers short distances. What's more, the hatchback design allows the rear seats to be folded, which creates a surprisingly spacious and functional cargo area. You can't get that in the FR-S.
Climate control, navigation and radio functions are all very simple to use, with a minimalist, clean layout. The sound system is pretty decent, too – something I used to complain about all the time in the previous-generation Scion products. (Us punk kids still like good stereos, automakers.)
All in, for a $19,210 starting price, I can see how this tC makes a lot of sense for budget-minded folks who want a car that's pretty good to drive, relatively functional and less frumpy than a normal econobox. Of course, optioning it up with all of this TRD nonsense (wheels, illuminated door sills, spoiler, exhaust, etc.) brought my tester's bottom line to $25,064, but consider this – that's still less than the basic FR-S I tested.
So... do I want a tC? Personally, no. The FR-S is still my choice – but I'm willing to sacrifice comfort and functionality for a car that's amazing to drive above all else. But the truth is, most people don't think like me. And for the rest of the world, I think there's still plenty of merit to the tC package.
I had a first gen tC (it was a 2006) with the TRD supercharger and quite enjoyed it, other than numerous quality issues. I did a fair bit of modding and always enjoyed driving it, but the constant trips back to the dealer for warranty work killed the ownership experience for me. One thing I never had issue with was the styling which is, even to this day, still relevant, in my opinion. The newest model just doesn't have the sleek appearance of the original.
By the way, when I bought it (Oct '05), I had to order it, as the demand was so much greater than supply that ordering was the only way I could get my hands on one.
From the inside looking out, I think it’s safe to say that Kei Miura has become the de facto go to-guy for next level bodykits. Some seem to think that Miura-san’s monopoly in the bodykit game is overwhelming and almost too much, whereas others welcome his next move like it’s their next fix.
Here’s my take on it: I’ve hung out with Miura-san on several occasions in the US, in Japan and in Europe, and I have to say that his 100% genuine passion for cars is very inspiring. Everywhere he goes, he soaks up the local car culture like a sponge, giggling like a kid at the crazy car contraptions that are scattered around the world.
For a car enthusiast, Miura-san is the real deal.
In the same time frame as Miura-san’s rise out of the shadows, I’ve been working closely with Stephan Papadakis and his crew in the US, and last year was our best season yet. Both Steph and Miura-san share a very strong enthusiasm for what they do, and they’re both icons in the world of Speedhunters.
Now, I believe in team building and if there is one thing we can all learn from Lance Armstrong it has to be this: the recipe for success in racing is to motivate your sponsors and partners to all pull in the same direction.
After Stephan and co successfully turned the tC into a super nimble, lightning quick race car that takes no hostages, we decided that we wanted the car’s look to match its inner qualities. So wouldn’t it make sense to introduce Steph to Mr. 6666 Customs/TRA Kyoto himself?
It’s been a work in progress for a year and a half, but here it is: the Rocket Bunny Scion tC widebody kit, which will debut on the 2014 Papadakis Racing Hankook Tire Scion tC at Formula Drift Round 1 in Long Beach!
The kit brings with it all the goods: built to match the aggressive 2014 facelift Scion tC front and rear bumpers (along with the Toyota Mark X G Sports style headlights), front and rear widths to match the race car’s stance and extended sideskirts for visual lowness.
Miura-san also made his signature, high rise GT wing an option for us. We will start off with the duckbill-style tail spoiler but it will definitely be interesting to test out the pedestrian slicer at the faster tracks.
Luckily he sent along several extra sets of the rear side fins…
And at the Papadakis Racing shop in California, the angle grinder is in full swing as the tC and the brand new, prototype Rocket Bunny kit is about to become one. First, the parts will be fused together by a handful of Cleco pins, and then, it’ll get ready for next week’s Scion media day.
Stay tuned for further updates as we get closer to FD Round 1, as our tC receives the most major overhaul it’s seen so far. And by the way, this overhaul may or may not involve a significant livery change.
A major thanks to 6666 Customs/Kei Miura, Papadakis Racing, GReddy USA and Speedhunters for making this dream come true!