If you thought the advent of the rear-wheel drive Scion FR-S spelled the demise of the front-wheel-drive tC coupe – well, think again. The new 2014 tC receives a raft of cosmetic upgrades both inside and out to help keep the sporty hatchback fresh.
Up front, the 2014 tC borrows several cues from its FR-S sibling. New headlamps have a pronounced scallop just below the turn signals, much like those on the FR-S. The upper grille is more slender than before, but the lower grille – a hexagonal aperture that bears some resemblance to the FR-S’ mouth –dominates the front end. The 18-inch aluminum wheels shown here – which pair a painted gray finish with bright, machined spokes – are standard equipment on all 2014 tCs.
You won’t find much new sheetmetal employed as you walk around the sides of the car, but there are a few new tweaks in the rear clip. The L-shaped tail lamps housings remain in place, but they now boast clear lenses and round LED-illuminated brake lamps. A new rear bumper fascia not only sports recessed reflectors, but a large, argent diffuser panel that emulates the FR-S down to the triangular fog tail lamp housing.
Don’t expect big change within the 2014 tC’s cabin, but do expect some upgraded trim materials, including lighter colored fabric for both the seats and headliner. The new tC is the first Scion to come equipped with a new touchscreen audio head unit that will eventually become standard equipment in all Scion models. The audio system boasts a 6.1-inch LCD screen, Bluetooth, and HD Radio capability. An optional upgraded system adds full navigation, along with Aha Web radio capability when paired with a smartphone.
Mechanically, the 2014 tC is essentially unchanged. The front wheels are still driven by a 179-hp, 2.5-liter I-4, and buyers have a choice between a six-speed manual transmission or an updated six-speed automatic, which Scion says changes gears twice as quickly as the outgoing unit. Dampers and stabilizer bar rates are revised slightly, the electronic power steering assist recalibrated, and additional spot welds within the body-in-white help tighten the tC and improve its handling. We won’t know for sure until we drive the car this summer, as the 2014 tC should arrive at dealers in June.
Although we’d love to live in a world where everyone drives drift-happy rear-drive sports cars like the FR-S, there are customers who want something a little more comfortable, efficient, and practical. Perhaps that’s why the tC was Scion’s best-selling model in 2012, and why the tC has accounted for 40 percent of all Scion sales – ever. Seeing as the 2012 tC eked out a one-percent increase last year despite being nearly three years old, we wouldn’t be surprised if the updated 2014 tC remains an important vehicle in the Scion lineup.
In related news, 2013 marks Scion’s tenth anniversary. To celebrate, each Scion nameplate – including the 2014 tC – will be offered as a limited edition Scion 10 Series model. Each Scion 10 includes unique silver exterior paint, graphite-finished aluminum wheels, silver seatbelts, unique badging, and exterior Scion emblems that glow blue when unlocked with the remote key fob. Scion will build only 10,000 Scion 10 Series models in total.