Review: 2014 Scion tC Combines Sport With Function In An Affordable Package

2014 Scion tC

The 2014 Scion tC is a small, sporty coupe with great exterior styling and a price that can’t be beat, but it’s up against stiff competition. Not only are there other sporty coupes deserving of consideration, but buyers will likely also be looking at small non-coupes so the 2014 Scion tC has a lot to overcome.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2014 Scion tC $19,965 $20,210 179/172
EPA Rating MPG As Tested MPG
Rating: BUY IT! 23 / 31 Combined 26 23.8 Combined

Styling-wise, it’s a knock-out. It just looks good, telling the world, “I am a sporty, fun, drive so only grab my keys if you know how to have a good time.” This is not a cushy sedan and it makes no pretenses as such. This is a sports coupe and the focus is on the drive and the style, not on creating a luxurious interior.

2014 Scion tC Rear

This year’s update includes an altered front fascia with a large hexagonal grille that makes it more rugged. There are also new headlamps and tail lamps along with a blacked out lower rear bumper that makes it look as good coming as it does when it’s leaving you in the dust. It’s got a nifty dual sunroof with a larger front panel that opens and a smaller back panel that’s stationary but gives some nice additional light.

The interior is typically Scion in that it feels like an economy car. It’s well-styled if utilitarian, with a flat-bottomed, chunky steering wheel and multiple finishes. The drawback is that all those finishes are plastic and they look it. Compared to other vehicles like the Honda FR-Z or Kia Forte Coupe, the interior comes up short.

The sparse interior of the 2014 Scion tC actually does work to a point though, since it adds to the idea that you’re driving this car to drive, not take a ride in a glorified couch.

2014 Scion tC Interior

And drive it does, with a 179 horsepower, 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder with 172 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed manual or optional 6-speed automatic. It’s a capable engine for the car, although you’re not going to get the instant, gratifying rush that you will in more powerful, and more expensive, sports coupes.

The tested vehicle was a 6-speed automatic, sadly with no paddle shifters, but a 6-speed manual is available. In a car so focused on the driving experience, the manual will likely prove the more enjoyable option for many. The automatic was fine, but without paddle shifters you aren’t able to enjoy things as much as you could.

The ride itself is, expectedly, firm, but not so much so that you feel every bump in the road like a jolt. It gave a smoother, more comfortable ride than pricier cars like the Infiniti Q60 which is capable of rattling your fillings right out of your teeth on a rough road and that costs a good $30K more.

2014 Scion tC Grille

Steering weight and feel are good though not exceptional and the all-disc brakes give the vehicle confident stops. The 2014 Scion tC feels a bit like it’s standing in the shadow of the Scion FR-S which more fully embraces its sport focused design. The trade-off comes in space. How badly do you want a backseat and trunk that can hold more than a munchkin and a backpack? If the answer is that you don’t, then make a beeline for the FR-S.

There is a lot of cabin noise, from the road but mostly from the wind. Highway driving for short distances is one thing, but to take this car on a road trip would be difficult. The noise is enough that you can’t hear the sound system well, nor the person next to you, and forget about passengers in the back.

Speaking of rear passengers, despite the compact size of the 2014 Scion tC, there was a nice amount of space in the backseat. It was also easily accessible, with the front seats tipping far forward and then sliding forward to boot. You won’t be putting your grandma back there, but the average able-bodied person isn’t going to have trouble.

2014 Scion tC Back

The 2014 Scion tC straddles two different worlds. It is at once a sports coupe with aggressive styling and performance-focused driving but also a compact car with a functional backseat and some room in the trunk. Add to this a price starting under $20,000 and the 2014 Scion tC holds its own unique place in the sports coupe lineup.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2014 Scion tC a Buy It!

Check out this video of the 2014 Scion tC’s big brother, the FR-S…

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.