Senin, 15 Agustus 2011

2011 Scion tC Review – Calling out to the Millenials, but speaking at low volume

Diposting oleh mas brow di 02.46 ,
By someone posing as Derek
  • Optional Alpine sound system
  • Smart iPod interface
  • Reclining rear seat
  • New exterior design looks very close to the first generation
  • Too much use of hard plastics inside the cabin
  • Droning exhaust note
  • Uninspiring road handling dynamics
Toyota merrily points out that Scion has the youngest average customer in the industry and that 71 percent of all 800,000 or so Scions have been sold to buyers who are new to the Toyota brand. It seems Scion’s customers are America’s newest generation, the Millennials, who are in their middle of this coming-of-age phase of its life cycle. Its oldest members are approaching age 30; its youngest are approaching adolescence. Interestingly enough, with a median age of 29, it’s the tC coupe’s 310,000 total sales since 2002 (accounting for 41 percent of all Scion production) that manages to attract the youngest customers of all.
In other words, while the funky xB may be the most recognizable, it’s actually the tC that is the brand’s most important product. Therefore, Scion absolutely needs the new 2011 tC to be a runaway hit. Especially since the second-generation of the xB has, by many measures, failed to live up to the success of its straight-ruled predecessor.
The new 2011 tC is very similar to the previous generation. The differences are subtle, but improvements were made in several key areas: the engine, the steering performance, and the stereo options.
The new tC is powered by a new 2.5L four cylinder engine that cranks out 180 hp and 173 lb-ft of torque for a 19 hp and 11 lb-ft bump over the outgoing model’s 2.4-liter engine, and it is connected to a standard six-speed manual transmission in place of the old five-speed unit. There are bigger brakes at all four corners, too.

The new car sits on a retuned version of the previous platform with an updated suspension still featuring MacPherson struts in front and double wishbones out back, thicker antiroll bars and wider 18-inch wheels and tires as standard equipment. A new electric power-steering system includes a quicker 14.8:1 ratio compared with the old hydraulic system’s 17.7:1 ratio.
More power, bigger brakes, updated suspension, and an improved steering response. Piece it all together and the 2011 tC still doesn’t drive anywhere near like a true sports car. The “tuned” exhaust drones under heavy acceleration. Very uninspiring and makes me dread having to stomp on the pedal — something you have to do quite often in order to get the car up to speed with its 2.5 liter engine that has a power curve flatter than an Iowa corn field.
If the exterior looks a bit familiar (particularly the C-pillar shape), it shouldn’t be a surprise because styling is influenced by the Fuse concept introduced way back in 2006 at the New York auto show. With its tall doors, the redesigned tC has less glass area than the Camaro. Looking at the rear hatch, ou would think that the designers would include a wiper blade for the rear window that is angled almost horizontal.
The interior is comfortable, decently attractive, and is without the plastic door that covered up the radio head unit in the old car. Budget trimming is evident everywhere judging by the amount of the hard plastics used throughout the cabin. The one saving grace is the steering wheel. It is thick-rimmed with a flat bottom, is wrapped in nice leather and something you will enjoy every day wrapping your fingers around every time you slide into the sports coupe.
If the drone of the “tune” exhaust gets you down, then buyers will appreciate the three audio head units. The base tC features a 300 watt, 8-speaker Pioneer audio system with auxiliary audio and USB input ports, and iPod connectivity. Buyers can also opt for an Alpine premium audio system that has a plug-in for a navigation system or backup camera and an XM® Satellite Radio. The top-of-the-line head unit offers a built-in navigation system.
The 2011 tC may look very similar to the previous generation, but it does have some significant improvements which are not immediately visible such as the stronger engine, retuned suspension, and more standard equipment. Just don’t expect those improvements to add up to a performance car because the tC lacks the energy for anything beyond getting the groceries. What the tC lacks in performance, it does redeem itself by offering a safe, comfortable, and unassuming compact car with some useful utility added to the mix.

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