Carried through the cabin, that magically rediscovered T-square puts some starch in the Scion tC's instruments and controls and some glaring lapses in finishes. The fat steering wheel has a flat bottom, and begs your attention as soon as you slide into the wide, sculptured front seat. It's not enough to distract us away from the trifecta of differently grained plastics that hook up in an unnatural way right over the glovebox, but the cockpit wears red-lit gauges well, and the cut-tube gauges and Reese's-sized climate controls inject some much-appreciated function-over-form simplicity.
Compared to last year's model, the 2011 Scion tC appears to have received testosterone treatment. Its extensive redesign makes the sheetmetal a little more creased and 'ripped,' the details and little more chunky and forthright. On the outside, its collection of straight edges have crisped up the 2011 tC's design out of mock-Celica doldrums and into a new happy place of visual distinction. From the side, the big notch in the rear quarter glass is supposed to look like a helmet. We're seeing a mix of GT-R, Camaro and Cylon in the profile. Some fitting sci-fi references are at work, for sure, and they turn concrete when the tC wears its "cement" paint color, a battleship gray that mimics a Steelcase desk (or an ur-Audi TT). The angles slashed into the front and rear ends amplify the bolder design character that makes the tC a lot easier to pick out from the crowd. .