It's interesting to drive this car after we've recently had in a Nissan Sentra SE-R. After all, both are front-wheel-drive compacts that have been sported up, and both were about $23K. This car is $23,500, and I prefer it. It has a lot more style and presence than the Sentra SE-R, and it's much more fun to drive, partly because it has a five-speed manual. Our test car was larded with some expensive options, most notably a set of very, very cool black TRD 18-inch wheels with Toyo sport tires. The $600 TRD exhaust is just about right: not too noisy, but noisy enough. I'd much rather have this exhaust from TRD than from the aftermarket. I've always liked the tC; I think it's a nice combination of sportiness and practicality, with its hatchback. After several years on the road, it also still looks very good. Ergonomics are very straightforward. I'm not exactly sure why they felt the need to have a lid for the stereo system, but I suppose it looks kinda cool when it's shut, and this car is all about looking cool.
One of my favorite features, actually, is an insert into the cupholder that was very clearly designed to hold a cell phone. Very useful, very obvious. Everyone has a cell phone and everyone needs a place to put it when they get in the car.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor