No, the new 2011 Scion tC is not a hybrid. But that doesnÕt stop Scion engineers at Toyota from wringing out substantially more fuel economy out of their flagship four-passenger sports car. EPA fuel economy numbers are up by over 10 percent versus the prior Scion tC.
And Scion didnÕt have to sacrifice performance to achieve these new remarkable numbers. It has a new larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with all the bells and whistles that pumps out 180 hp (up 19) and 173 pounds of twist (up 11). Consequently with either its new six-speed manual or six-speed automatic (the four-speed auto is gone), performance can be called a bit exhilarating. Scion claims a 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds with the manual and a couple of quick tests affirmed that time. Both trannies were excellent with the manual being especially smooth and the clutch was light and progressive.
Fuel economy is now rated at 23/31 mpg city highway. During our 100 miles of testing, the Scion averaged 26-27 mpg overall and 31.7 mpg on the highway. Scion achieved a near impossibility, more performance and more fuel economy. But wait there is more.
Its new design maintains all exterior dimensions of the prior tC including wheelbase except for width which is up by 1.6 inches to 70.7 and track has also been increased by almost identical numbers. However, in creating the new Scion tC the rear roof line was raised to improve rear passenger headroom and that perhaps leads to its only design flaw, a large expanse of sheet metal behind the rear side windows and a more upright look about the car.
Otherwise it is a slick ride with some clever details like etching ÒScionÓ into the taillights and a tall, strong squared off rear end.
Inside a new thick leather ÒDÓ type steering wheel sets the tone for a sporty experience. Binnacle gauges are large, legible and all business and the vertical stack contains all the connectivity of the Space Shuttle along with a sound systems that will literally blow the doors off most cars.
A new electric power steering rack is quicker helping in creating that sportier feel. New larger wheels and wider low profile tires make for sharp, relatively benign handling as the tC showed no vices when transitioning the twisties at speed. Its attitude was flat and the grip was tenacious.
Coming is a few months will be the ultimate green Scion, the iQ. It will be conventionally powered by a 1.3L approximately 100 hp four cylinder engine and will only be 10 feet long with four-passenger capability. A smarter car if you will. Fuel economy should exceed 40 mpg without going hybrid.
Price $18,995 to about $22,000
2.5L DOHC 16-valve inline four180 hp @ 6,000 rpm
173 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 4,100 rpm
Transverse mounted front engine/front-wheel drive
Wheelbase 106.3 inches
Length 174.0 inches
Width 70.7 inches
Height 55.7 inches
Track 60.6/61.4 inches
Ground clearance 6.3 inches
Weight (manual auto) 3,060/3,102 pounds
Fuel capacity 14.5 gallons
Wheels 18X7.5-inch alloys
Co-efficient of drag 0.325
0-60 mph 7.60 seconds
50-70 mph 4.30 seconds
50-70 uphill 6.50 seconds
Without intervention from the electronic gremlins, more than 130 mph.
EPA rated at 23/31 mpg. Expect slightly better.