INTERIOR and STEREO, including RANT #1
Luckily, the outgoing tC's panoramic sunroof remains (as standard equipment), and now comes with a mesh wind deflector that changes the pitch--but sadly not the volume--of the considerable wind noise present when it's open at highway speeds. The steering column now telescopes too, bringing closer to the driver a pornographically thick (in a good way), slightly oversize, flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel that comes standard with radio controls.
Unfortunately, most of the other surfaces in the tC's interior are less luxurious. The dash consists of three different plastic grains, all of which nearly meet (and clash, visually) above the glovebox. None look or feel particularly high-quality. The center elbow rest is, sadly, also made of hard unyielding plastic. Luckily, the door panel armrests are padded.
A red LED clock in the center of the dash seems out-of-place these days--and like it has for the last 30 years, it washes out in bright sunlight. Also from the 1980s, but not necessarily in a bad way: in each door panel are three speakers arranged like a big three-way speaker tower: woofer at bottom, midrange in between, and tweeter up top. Those six speakers are augmented by two drivers in the rear. The eight-speaker system, replete with a separate two-channel amp to drive the woofers, is fed 300 watts of peak power, and can definitely crank out the tunes. Audiophiles will be disappointed with the sound quality, though. Depending on which head unit is installed (and there are three to choose from), the sound ranges from muffled to boomy, though the mid-grade head unit's "loudness" equalization does a good job at compensating. And hey, at least it goes all loud.
Not nearly as loud as the tC's new 20-year-old driver will be when he realizes that the top-spec Alpine head unit he paid for doesn't allow browsing through your music collection while you're moving.
*STEREO RANT BEGIN*
What lawyer won that battle? So great, Toyota's lawyers would rather have some young driver unplug their iPod, manually queue a song up while holding the device in their hand, and then plug it back in? And that's safer than just designing a head unit that's easy to browse through the music collection? Doubtful. Luckily, the Alpine's entire user interface sucks so bad that no one will buy it in the first place. And at least the tC's dash has a double-DIN opening, so buyers can choose from their own favorite aftermarket stereo. So there. Buy the base stereo and do your own upgrades, kids.
*STEREO RANT END*
Where was I? Oh yeah... um, the rear seats are comfortable (especially since they can recline slightly) and commodious, restrictive only in headroom. And that's really only an issue for rear-seat passengers taller than six feet--and only because the material directly above their noggin is rock-hard glass. Happily, the glass is tinted, so tall back-seat drivers won't get sunburn to match their concussions.