The tC is no sports car, but it's definitely a sporty car with a lot of great qualities, including an impressive price, an excellent manual gearbox, a comfortable ride, good looks, nimble packaging, and large double sunroofs. The Volkswagen GTI or the Honda Civic Si would be superior track-day choices, especially considering their better steering and stronger engines, but as a daily driver, the tC is a more than respectable alternative.
Unless you have little kids, that is: The rear seats are spacious enough, but climbing back there to strap in a toddler is tricky. On the plus side, though, the flat-floored trunk, accessible through a hatchback, provided an easier way for me to extract my little one. (Does that make me a bad parent?)
If I were to buy a tC, I'd skip some of the options fitted to our test car, including the underdash lighting, the illuminated doorsills, and the boomy exhaust system. That overwhelmingly bassy stereo would have to go, too. I'd definitely opt for these supercool black wheels, though. Dream options like a turbocharged engine and a sixth gear (boy, is this thing ever revvy on the highway!) could bring the tC closer to King GTI.
All in all, the tC is my favorite current product that Toyota offers.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor