Toyota hasn't released final weight specifications for the tC, but we're told it gained less than 100 lb over the last model, which would make the 2011 tC weigh a bit over 3000 lb. Thanks to the additional horsepressure and gears in the transmissions, Toyota says acceleration times are significantly improved. The automatic is said to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds (down from 9.1). The six-speed manual does the deed in 7.6 seconds, down from 8.2.
From the (comfortable, wide, and supportive) driver's seat, the tC feels quick and fun. The automatic's considerably longer top gear makes up for any fuel economy disadvantage inherent in its design (both cars are EPA rated at 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway), but gaining additional speed on the highway requires a downshift or three.
The tC suffers from no major torque steer, and its power steering, now electrically boosted, feels commendably natural. Not a huge amount of steering feedback comes through, but neither is the system numb. The tC will exhibit some wheel hop on grippier surfaces, but its front end is overall well behaved.
Sadly so, too, is its rear. The tC understeers ferociously, and with moderate grip limits. We drove a tC equipped with TRD sway bars, and it improved handling balance considerably -- trail-braking now helped rotate the rear rather than causing the front to wash out farther -- with no real sacrifice to ride comfort. In fact, the tC rides very well, especially considering its diminutive size. (A fully tricked-out TRD tC didn't, however. The combination of nineteen-inch wheels and lowering springs made for a brutal ride. That itself wouldn't have been such a big deal if the sunroof hadn't rattled incessantly because of it. Luckily, we could drown the rattles out with the exhaust note. Vroom!)