Sometimes I drive a car and wonder why there aren’t more on the road. Obviously, this thought occurs more often in high-end, luxury vehicles with astronomical price tags and the thought process is more along the lines of: “Dear God, how do I acquire the funds to drive this every day that doesn’t involve selling my left kidney, only son, and soul? And why aren’t more people offering up the same to drive it, too?”
However, on the other spectrum, I’ve driven a few “normies” that have left me scratching my head as to why there aren’t more on the road. One such car is the Scion tC. After a week behind the wheel in both dry and wet/slushy winter driving conditions, I was left with a pleasant taste in my mouth and a need to question why there aren’t more around.
Appealing to the young’uns
There’s no denying that the Scion tC was designed with the younger kiddies in mind. Its modern-looking, hip exterior speaks volumes to those under the age of 45, particularly those parking on University campuses. And that’s perfect. This isn’t the kind of car the “older crowd” need pay attention to. It does look great, but it’s pretty simplistic, too. There’s nothing overtly high-tech about it, the tC doesn’t massage you while you drive nor does it offer up laser-guided cruise control or a “comfort” setting for cloud-like road travel.
No, the tC offers a stylish alternative to some of the more bland $20k vehicles on the road today.
So, why are there so few out there?
The sexier sibling
For anyone with a brother or sister (I am not one of them -- blah, blah, spoiled only child, blah, blah -- so I’m only speculating here), there’s always a measure of comparison going on. And inevitably one always ends up being the stronger one, the smarter one, and the prettier/sexier/hotter one. Come on, we all know it happens.
And it happened to the poor Scion tC. Before the FR-S came along, it was the sexiest car on the Scion lot. I mean, the xB? Um, no, just no. The iQ? Well, it’s “cute” but looks to have some serious anger issues. And then there was the tC; sleek, kinda curvaceous and sporty to drive. Winner!
That is until the Scion FR-S came around. It effectively stole the tC’s thunder. And despite starting almost $5k above the tC’s starting price, I truly think that’s why there are fewer tC’s on the road.
Let me break it down for you this way: I’ve driven both (and within a few weeks of each other so it’s a fair comparison). The tC can offer up just as much fun behind the wheel as the FR-S (with more torques and more interior and trunk space). Sure, the FR-S has 21 more horses and feels tighter and sharper than the tC, but then it’s also more uncomfortable on most road surfaces and the backseat isn’t as practical as the tC’s.
Would I choose the tC over the FR-S? That’s the kicker, I don’t think I would despite liking it immensely over the week. My first instinct is to say: FR-S, please. And I’m not entirely sure why. Peer pressure? Sex appeal? My inner racer-girl taking over and three letters (RWD) taking precedent? Something about the FR-S is just more… appealing.
That really is a shame because driving the 2.5L 179-horsepower Scion tC with a 6-speed manual transmission is a lot of fun. It’s happy to go when asked, and is the ideal transmission choice for beginner manual drivers. Revs are held a little longer upon each gear-shift, which can seem obnoxious but for the learner it’s ideal.
With more than two times as much trunk space as the FR-S, the Scion tC is gobs more practical as well. The backseat is more than functional and I was never wanting for space the entire time, despite prepping for the holidays and buying way too many groceries and gifts.
But I’d still take the FR-S.
The quiet child
Despite the sexier sibling taking the spotlight, I still think the Scion tC has its place in the automotive scene and should be a serious contender for those in the market for their first car, wanting something a bit sportier, a bit edgier. The closest competitor that comes to mind is the Kia Forte Koup, which carries a higher base price tag, and I don’t think it’s as nice to look at.
Sometimes, it’s the silent ones that come out on top, and perhaps that will be the case for the Scion tC as it watches its in-your-face, look-at-me-I’m-so-cool FR-S sibling steal all the glory…