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    Review: 2014 Scion tC


    • Keeping the Scion brand afloat, one coupe at a time


    If you have ever taken a class in economics, then you were most likely taught the economic cycle. The cycle explains periods of growth and decline in a economy via four different parts; expansion, boom, recession, and depression. A perfect example of this cycle in action is Scion. The youth-oriented brand which came on the scene in the early 2000’s experienced massive growth for the first few years. In fact, 2006 was its best year ever with sales reaching 173,034 vehicles. But since that time, Scion has been seeing its sales drop precipitously with 2010 being the worst year with 45,678 vehicles sold.

    2013 was a mixed bag for Scion. On one hand, the brand told its dealers that they can drop their franchise with no penalties at all and that new products wouldn’t be here till 2016. On the other hand, Scion is slowly crawling back up in sales. 2013 saw sales reach 68,321 vehicles thanks to two models; the FR-S coupe and refreshed tC coupe. So what is it about these two models that are keeping Scion afloat? We’ve driven the FR-S and now its time for the tC to help us answer this question.

    For the refresh, Scion tweaked the tC’s exterior to make it look more like the FR-S coupe. This is apparent in the front as there is now a longer hood that sits slightly lower than the previous model. The fascia has been slightly altered as well with a new bumper and grille layout. While not pulling the illusion of the FR-S fully off, the refresh does make the tC more interesting to look at. Other changes for the 2014 refresh include a set of LEDs on the bumper and a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels.

    2014 Scion TC 2

    One area that Scion left mostly alone with the tC’s refresh was the interior and that’s a good and bad thing. Let’s start with the negative on the interior. The look and quality of the materials used in the tC looks like they come out of a mid to late-nineties vehicle. I get the tC is a cheap coupe, but with competitors such as the Honda Civic Coupe and Hyundai Elantra Coupe stepping up with the materials used in their interiors, Scion really needs to step up.

    Aside from the materials, the tC’s interior does everything else very well. Front-seat passengers are treated to cloth-covered seats with moderate side bolstering. Back-seat passengers will find a surprising amount of legroom. Headroom is surprising good if you’re under six feet. Cargo space is very generous with tC getting 34.5 Cubic Feet thanks to Scion’s decision of making the model a hatchback.

    2014 Scion TC 12

    Equipment is generous on tC will all models getting a flat-bottom steering wheel, dual-screen sunroof, telescoping steering wheel, power windows, and a 8.1-inch touchscreen head unit. My tC tester was equipped with the optional BeSpoke Premium Audio package which adds aHa internet radio and navigation. While the interface looks like something from the Windows 95 era, it’s a very straightforward system and quick to respond. One downside is that to get SiriusXM satellite radio, you need to pony up an extra $449 on top of the $1,198 price tag for the BeSpoke system.

    For thoughts on the powertrain and ride, see the next page.


    Under the tC’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder with 179 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. To access all of that power, you’ll have be ready to put the pedal down or close to floor. Otherwise, the tC feels like it can’t get out of its own way. This is somewhat surprising since the tC only weighs 3,113 pounds. A manual transmission is standard, but my tester came equipped with the optional six-speed automatic transmission with a Dynamic Rev Management system that blips the engine when downshifting. When left to its own devices, the transmission is quick on the upshifts. Downshifting is another story as it takes a few moments for the transmission to realize it would be a good idea to do that. This is very annoying when I was trying to make a pass on the freeway or merging and I found myself throwing the automatic into the manual mode when making a pass because it would be quicker. The dynamic rev management system is one of those systems that you either think is the coolest or stupidest feature. I personally liked it because it added a sense of excitement when I pushing the tC.

    2014 Scion TC 9

    On the fuel economy front, the EPA rates the 2014 tC at 23 City/31 Highway/26 Combined. My week’s average landed at 27.2 MPG.

    Along with the changes to the exterior, Scion worked on improving the tC’s handling. This includes revised stabilizer bars, electric power steering system, new struts, and more welds in the body to make it stronger. The changes really make a difference as the tC is a really fun coupe to push around. Body roll is kept to a minimum and the grip from the low-profile tires were excellent. Steering really didn’t have much feel, but the heavy weight more than made up for it. Out of all the compact coupes, the tC has to be the best driving one.

    But there is a downside to changes made by Scion, the tC is a rough rider when it comes to day to day duties. The suspension will send up every bump and road imperfection there is known to man, making for a very uncomfortable. Also, a fair bit of road and wind noise comes into the cabin. Those who are thinking about a tC for long-distance trips might want to reconsider.

    After spending a week in the Scion tC, I can see why its a big seller for the brand. The tC packs a lot of driving fun for not that much money. Add in the loads of standard equipment you get for the price, and tC makes a very good case for itself. But I do wonder if the tC can keep up this run of success, especially considering that Honda has launched a refreshed Civic coupe, Kia making huge strides with the new Forte Koup, and the Hyundai Veloster which has a pricetag that undercuts the tC by $2,000.

    gallery_10485_788_660400.jpg

    Disclaimer: Scion Provided the tC, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Scion

    Model: tC

    Trim: N/A

    Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder with VVT-i

    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive

    Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 6,000

    Torque @ RPM: 173 @ 4,100

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/31/26

    Curb Weight: N/A

    Location of Manufacture: Tsutsumi, Japan

    Base Price: $20,210.00

    As Tested Price: $23,166.00 (Includes $755.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    BeSpoke Premium Audio - $1,198.00

    Rear Lip Spoiler - $444.00

    Illuminated Door Sill - $375.00

    Carpeted Floor Mats and Cargo Mat - $184.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Amazing that People would bash the heck out of a US based auto company if they produced and tried to sell this but it is OK for garbage like this to exist and no one cares because it is Asian.

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    Out of curiosity, what platform is this on? The Auris/Corolla platform or the Avensis platform?

    I think its still the Avensis' platform.

    Thanks for the reply. Interesting that the platform is flexible enough to offer something a little less boring than an Avensis which, to be kind, is a Valium pill on wheels :D

    Edited by ZL-1
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    This is one of those Toyota products that, unlike the FR-S, receives universally negative reviews. I don't think I've read a positive review outside of a Toyota loving forum. Even Consumer Reports panned it, saying a basic Elantra or Impreza were more fun to drive. Ouch. Personally, I've only been able to go as far as the interior. That was enough for me to move past the tC permanently.

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    This is one of those Toyota products that, unlike the FR-S, receives universally negative reviews. I don't think I've read a positive review outside of a Toyota loving forum. Even Consumer Reports panned it, saying a basic Elantra or Impreza were more fun to drive. Ouch. Personally, I've only been able to go as far as the interior. That was enough for me to move past the tC permanently.

    Very true, and makes sense once you've seen and driven one.

    It's not terrible...but there are so many better choices, and some questionable "why?" on this one.

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    The things I find comical about these are the way young kids drive them like they are race cars and there lackluster mileage. The look on one guys face when my 2013 Impala blasted right pass him was priceless. And the fact that it will beat this thing in MPG on the open road is icing on the cake.

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    I know someone that recently bought a 2008 tC because she needed a used car under $10k and there isn't a lot sporty looking with low miles in that price range. There is a lot of back seat leg room, more than a lot of full size sedans, and the dual moonroof is cool. Other than that the interior is cheap and basic. They drive a little like the Grand Am to me, sort of punchy off the line, stiffer ride, and a little noisy. This isn't at all my kind of car, but I can see why people in their early 20s buy them. I think the Hyundai Veloster is better at the mission of being a cheap and sporty looking coupe to appeal to young people.

    The problem with the under $20k segment is the Corolla and Cruze seem built for people in their 50s or 60s, they just have an old image to me. The Mazda 3 and Focus can't be bought in a coupe, only a hatch. So you either have to over pay for a Civic coupe or buy a Scion or Hyundai, or Kia Forte.

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      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
    • By William Maley
      They say timing is everything. As I mentioned in our quick drive piece of 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium, the automaker announced a refreshed version for 2017. Changes included a revised exterior, improved interior materials, and a revised EyeSight active safety system. Once we heard about the refresh, we knew we need to get one in for review. That’s what happened this past fall as a 2017 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring arrived at the Cheers & Gears Detroit garage. The XT is the important bit as it means we have the turbo engine.
      Let us begin with the engine as this is one of the best points of the Forester. The XT gets a turbocharged 2.0L boxer-four producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive. The turbo engine solves some of the issues we had in the previous Forester. The 2.5i wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked and it takes its sweet time to get up to higher speeds. With the turbo engine, the Forester leaps into action. Yes, it does a take a moment for the turbo to spool up. But once it does, the engine delivers power at a steady and smooth rate.  Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is one of the better CVTs on the market. Part of this comes from the simulated gear changes Subaru has programmed for the CVT. This will fool most people into thinking that the transmission is a standard automatic. Also, the CVT doesn’t have much of a groan when you decide to floor the accelerator. The downside to the turbo engine is fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the 2.0XT stand at 23 City/27 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week was 24.7 MPG. If you’re expecting Subaru to make some changes to the suspension and/or steering for the Forester 2.0XT, then you’ll be very disappointed. The 2.0XT is the same as the 2.5i we drove earlier. That means a smooth ride over some of the worst roads Michigan has on offer, but a fair amount of body roll when going around a corner.  Changes for the 2017 Forester’s exterior include a new grille design, LED accent lights for the head and taillights; and a new set of wheels. The XT also gets a more aggressive front bumper. While the Forester is still a box, at least the changes have made it a bit more stylish. The interior remains mostly unchanged when compared to the 2016 model. The only change we noted is the option of brown leather for the XT Touring that is used for the seats and various parts of the dash and doors. It is a nice touch, but it would have been nice if Subaru had gone a bit further with the luxury touches - especially considering the price of our tester. Subaru has upgraded their EyeSight system for 2017 by installing a new set of color stereo cameras. Subaru says the new cameras allow better detection of various objects and a wider range of monitoring. We believe it as the updated system was able to detect vehicles slightly faster than the previous system when using the adaptive cruise control system. There is one big issue for the 2017 Forester 2.0XT Touring, price. The base price is $34,295. Equipped with an option package that brings a larger screen for the Starlink infotainment system, EyeSight, and reverse automatic braking, the as-tested price comes to $36,765. Taking into consideration for what you get for the price, the Forester 2.0XT Touring isn’t worth it considering you can get into some luxury crossovers for around the same price. You can get the Forester 2.0XT in the Premium trim which kicks off at $29,295, but you cannot get EyeSight as an option. If you really want a Forester with a turbo engine, wait for 2.0XT Touring to hit the used car lot as it will become a slightly better value. Otherwise, skip the 2.0XT and go with the Forester 2.5i or another crossover. Disclaimer: Subaru Provided the Forester 2.0XT Touring, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Subaru
      Model: Forester
      Trim: 2.0XT Touring
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC GDI Boxer-Four
      Driveline: CVT, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 2,000 - 4,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/27/25
      Curb Weight: 3,686 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: OTA, Gunma, Japan
      Base Price: $34,295
      As Tested Price: $36,765 (Includes $875.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Option Package 34 - $1,595.00

      View full article
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