2011 Scion tC review: a maverick among Toyota’s youth brand models

First of all the front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive. Power is acceptable but not exceptional (0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, according to the manufacturer), the electric rack-and-pinion steering is nicely weighted and properly responsive, the suspension provides a firm but not jarring ride, and the brakes stand ready to call things to a halt in a hurry.

Add all this together and you get a compact coupe that is mildly entertaining on  twisty two-lane macadam and a comfortable cruiser on the open road. Push it too hard, however, and you’ll be reminded immediately that its front-wheel-drive configuration guarantees a noticeable amount of understeer.

Now, about the price — a 2011 tC starts at $18,275, and that includes a full complement of safety equipment , air conditioning, cruise control, multi-information display and a variety of other comfort and convenience features.

Add a premium audio system, Bluetooth capability, satellite radio, sport muffler mats and a couple of other minor extras and the price jumps to $20,417, including the $720 delivery and processing fee.

All in all, I learned to respect the tC, but I did not fall in love with it.

Things that I particularly liked were the easy-to-drive size, the hatchback configuration, the comfortable and relaxed demeanor on the highway, the fold-down rear seats that markedly improved luggage space, the reasonable price and the coupe styling.

Things that younger motorists might pass off as inconsequential bugged me from the first time I set foot in the car until the last. I guess I have to admit it. In some respects, I have become that man of a certain age, and more.

•    A bop on the head reminded me that the low roofline requires extra care when entering the coupe.
•    The rear seats were surprisingly comfortable for passengers up to 6 feet tall, but getting in and out of them is a chore for the less lithe among us.
•    The thick rear pillars blocked rearward vision, both right and left.
•    The optional sound system was controlled with myriad small buttons that were difficult to see from the driver’s seat. This was a system that works best when full use is made of the presets.
•    The dull, monochromatic, nearly black interior is more likely to lower than raise the spirits.

Mock me if you will,  call me an old codger if you must, but if I had my druthers, I’d druther have a sensible four-door Toyota Corolla.

But that’s just me. And I’m not the one the Scion tC was designed to please.