2014 Scion Tc, the Other Most Important Car of 2014

2014 Scion Tc

Last week, Google introduced the world to its self-driving, autonomous car. Google’s car launch was the type of bombshell that has the potential to upend massive industries, reinvent culture, and dramatically change the way we think about our needs, our cities, and – maybe – ourselves. Google’s self-driving car is, without question, one of the two most significant new cars of 2014. The newly-freshened 2014 Scion Tc is the other one.

Don’t follow? Read on.

If Google’s autonomous car seemed like a really innovative thing the first time you saw it, that’s probably because you never saw a concept car called the Rinspeed MicroMAX. Like the Google car/pod-thing, the MicroMAX was all about connectivity and re-thinking car ownership as a thing that had to happen. The guy behind it was genius-turned-old-dude Frank “Rinspeed” Rinderknecht, and he envisioned a future where people would “carpool” to and fro, and it was a vision that was motivated by – wait for it – the notion that millenials don’t buy cars.

What does that have to do with the 2014 Scion Tc?

In a word: everything. That’s because this car, the Scion Tc, is absolutely killing it with the Generation Y types. Like, really: more than 50% of its buyers being in the coveted 16-35 “Generation Y” demographic. That’s more than any other car, apparently, making the 2014 Scion Tc very, very important to any auto industry product planners who hope to, you know, sell actual CARS YOU CAN DRIVE in the future.

So, now you know.


2014 Scion Tc | How it Drives

Scion’s Tc is, like all Scions, built by Toyota (it’s actually based on the Toyota Avensis, which is a UK model that’s bit smaller than a Camry, but larger than a Corolla). As such, it’s expected to be capable of getting you and yours from point A to point B without incident. Despite coming from the A-to-B appliance specialists at Toyota, however, the Scion Tc has sportier suspension, tighter steering, and much more direct (I hesitated to use the word “improved”) road feel than the similarly sized – and priced! – Corolla.

All of which is to say “it drives like a Corolla, but stiffer”.

That’s not a bad thing, by the way. If Toyota made a sporty Corolla coupe, it would be hard pressed to perform its sporty Corolla coupe duties better than the Scion Tc did. It’s decently quick, thanks to its Camry-derived 4 cyl. engine and 6 speed manual, it doesn’t buzz noisily at highway speeds like Honda Fits new and old, and it changes direction with enough visceral aplomb to impress anyone whose last car was a 90’s Civic or Celica. So, yeah – mission accomplished.


2014 Scion Tc | How it Works

The most surprising thing about the 2014 Scion Tc isn’t how raw or hard it is as a sports car (it’s neither of those things, in fact). Rather it’s how well the Tc works as a Corolla, in the sense that the interior is decently roomy. There’s plenty of head room, despite the “chopped roof” look and short windows. The back seats of the Tc have generous amounts of legroom, too, and it was pretty easy to swing a rear-facing baby seat in and out of. Maybe easier than in the Corolla, in fact – despite that car’s extra set of doors.

The trunk of the Tc, also, is surprisingly roomy for what is, on the outside, a sporty package – and, weirdly, I think that’s one of the keys to this car’s success with the millenials. That’s because you don’t always expect a car that’s marketed like this …

Scion Tc Ad

… to be an actually practical people-and-cargo hauler, which the Tc really, actually, kind of is deep down in its non-threatening, A-B appliance of a Corolla soul. With a gorgeous, ginormous moonroof.


2014 Scion Tc | Final Thoughts

“Who would buy this car?” asked the wife as she eyeballed the Scion suspiciously. “Like, who is it being marketed towards?”

“People,” I replied. “You know, people who want a sporty car.”

“Is it fast?” she asked.

“Not particularly,” I answered.

She looked around at the interior, touching the cheap plastics and poking at the infotainment system disdainfully. “This is a car for guys who want a sports car, but, either their wife won’t let them have one, or they can’t afford the (Nissan) GT-R they really want.”

I thought about that for a second, and I couldn’t really fault her thinking. The 2014 Scion Tc really does look like a baby Nissan GT-R … but it’s practical, inexpensive, gets decent mileage, and even carries an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating. So, it’s a compromise – between the Corolla that meets our needs and the raucous go-fast that we really want, but can’t really swing for. That makes sense for millenials, actually – many of whom are working jobs that pay less than they thought they would, are saddled with debt that was heavier than they thought it would be, and who could probably get by without a car at all, in fact, but now that they need a car – because married and breeding age – they might as well get one that ticks all the “must have” boxes while presenting, at least, the illusion of fun and sportiness.

If that sounds like a bad thing, it shouldn’t. As I pointed out before, millenials are buying the 2014 Scion Tc, and that makes the car a success. And, if the mainstream automakers want to offer a drive-it-yourself alternative to a driverless future populated by people with less disposable income, more debt, and more social pressures to spend money on things that seemed frivolous just a few years ago (think: smartphones), they’d be smart to pick up a Scion Tc for “benchmarking”.


Original content from Gas 2.


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.