Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Scion tC review

I test drove it this afternoon.  The salesmen asked, "so who you buying this for, Son?, Daughter?"  His eyebrows went up when I said, "me".
My general reaction is that is a really nice little car.  Two door hatchback.
I'm beyond the car seat, booster seat, running the kids to soccer practice stage of life. But, I'm also not at the stage of life where I can run out and drop 45k on a new Audi either.
The specs on it note the horsepower at 180 and the torque at 178 ft/lbs, both around 4000 rpm. I don't think I've ever run an engine up to 4000 rpm in my life, but there you have it. So my performance review resides in the 0 to 2200 rpm range via the kx59 derriere dynomometer.
The bucket seats adjust for height and length, and fit my bulky 6'-2" frame just fine. The steering wheel both tilts and telescopes.  Not much is needed in the way of options. The base car model is surprisingly well outfitted. The base sound system pumps out 300 watts, which is not a necessity for AM talk radio, so I left that off during the test drive.
The auto transmission is a 6 speed that can be run in full auto or semi-manual shift.
The tC looks a lot faster than it is. I thought it was a bit sluggish off the line, but it upshifts and downshifts through the gears pretty well.  More on the resolution of that later.
One of the key things I was looking for in this test drive was how well it handled on the highway at kx59 speed.  If memory serves from my research, this car has a curb weight of 2900 lbs, which usually translates to rather flighty handling on the interstate.  Cruising at 75 or 80, the tC feels like a much longer and heavier coupe.  It tracked well and felt rock solid. kx59 was highly pleased.  The ride is firm, but not teeth rattling.
In the pro vs. con comparison, the only two cons I have are the sluggish throttle response and the brake pedal being so close to the gas pedal.  I have the same problem with the Astro van with respect to the pedals (just call me paddle foot), but I adapted quickly.
Four wheel disk brakes, dual moon roof , 18" alloy wheels. Back seat lays down flat for more lengthy cargo room (ammunition, Belle's Tokorev, etc, etc, etc)
The sluggish throttle response is easy to resolve however.  To boost gas mileage, auto manufacturers de-tune the engine via the engine control module (the 'puter that controls everything and costs a butt load when it craps out).  Being the Great Entrepreneurial Nation that we are, serious gearhead aftermarket auto parts manufacturers have a solution. Its called a performance chip, which replaces the OEM chip in the ECM (l m n o peeeee). I just love acronyms.  Makes me want to sing the alphabet song.
I digress.
So the sluggish throttle response, I can solve for very little money, or time for that matter.
I'll miss being able to see over most of the other vehicles on the road, the ground clearance, and the lack of AC..and Heat....
mmmaybe not.


  1. Wow.
    The old ride had no AC?
    Damn, dude.
    No wonder you're so pissed off all the time.


  2. Now to find one that's 2 years old so you don't have to pay for all that depreciation...

  3. they make a nice low psi turbo kit for it, and the stock motor will last just as long on ~6psi as it will NA. that will not fix the lag issues(wont spool until ~2500rpm) but will give you some passing power and holding power on the hills at freeway speeds.

    sub note, i live in germany, and the ta/tb/tc are just not safe at autobahn speeds, but at US speeds they are great little cars and very good for the price.

  4. Glad to hear that it will fit rifle cases. That is my main concern these dayw when looking at cars.

    Scion is what Toyota used to be. Affordable, reliable transportation. I wish they made a truck.

  5. TBG, the key to driving the Texas summer without AC is to work flex time. Get to work before sunup, and leave after dark. Of the two extremes, driving in 20 degree weather with no heat is worse.

    TG, yeah I wish they made a truck too. Like, a real truck, harking back to the days before they became cowboy cadillacs.

    Bluesun, I've got the next best thing. My neighbor across thee street owns a paint and body shop. He rebuilds cars that have been "technically" totaled by the insurance companies and sells them. I have a "previously owned" fleet of 5 right now that run, and one dead in the driveway. I need a break from driveway crawling.

  6. That's exactly why I like that my uncle's a mechanic. My truck was "totaled" (the rear driver side panel was bent by the previous owner going into a ditch via ice, and the insurance bought him a new truck, so my uncle put a new panel on it and sold it to me for pennies on the dollar).


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