2011 Scion tC
2011 Scion tC
2011 Scion tC. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Chris Chase

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2011 Scion tC

As a child of the late-1970s, I grew up gawking at the cars of the ’70s and 1980s, so it was the simple, angular (some might say uninspired and ugly) designs of the period that activated my car nut gene.

It took me a couple of days before I clued into why I like the look of this Scion tC as much as I do: its body is pretty much all straight lines and tight angles. It’s hardly a dead ringer for the many dud designs that came out around my formative years, but the commonality is in the simplicity of the tC’s look, a real contrast to the compound curves, swoops and rounded edges that dominate new cars right now.

The tC is one part of Scion’s 2011 Canadian invasion. This budget-oriented Toyota brand finally reached Canada last year (as 2011 models) after being available in the U.S. since 2003. This is the sports car of the line-up, contrasting with the utilitarian xB and subcompact xD. Nothing about the Scion line looks much like anything wearing the Toyota name, but the tC is indeed based on an existing Toyota model, in this case the Avensis family car the company sells in Europe and the United Kingdom.

The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine under the tC’s hood isn’t sports car material – it’s mainly known for powering Camrys. Still, it’s a nice motor, revving smoothly and pulling hard to its 6,200 r.p.m. redline. It feels stronger than its 180 horsepower and 173 lb.-ft. power ratings suggest, too, particularly as my tester was fitted with the optional six-speed automatic transmission (a six-speed stick is standard).

Credit the tC’s European roots for its tautly-tuned chassis, which blends sharp handling with a firm ride that rarely got uncomfortable. This car’s affinity for twisty roads is reinforced by the thick-rimmed, small-diameter, flat-bottomed steering wheel. Toyota says the Scion brand is aimed at a young demographic, some of whom are bound to be enthusiasts, and the tC’s performance fits the company’s marketing quite well.

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