From a design standpoint, the Scion tC has evolved, from the rather conservative, somewhat premium coupe it started as, to an edgier, sportier coupe in its current, second-generation form. More so than in the past, it arguably occupies the spot that the Celica used to in Toyota's lineup.
As if in admission of the more flamboyant Scion FR-S--a model that truly looks the sports-car part--Scion has dialed the tC up a little more for 2014 with “more assertive styling.” With the current generation notchback coupe already buffed-up and chunkier in appearance over the previous, softer hatchback, this model was already far from subtle.
But with LED accent lighting and taillamps, new upper- and lower grille treatments, new headlamps, and a blacked-out lower rear valance—plus new 18-inch dark-gray-finish alloy wheels—the 2014 tC does keep that promise of being more assertive, if a bit overwrought and high-shouldered.
Overall, the tC remains a more masculine plaything in appearance than what it actually is. Sharp angles, creased corners, and a brusque attitude make it recognizably Toyota from some angles but a little alien from others. From the Cylon-like helmet shaped into the rear roofline that's also a nod to the Nissan GT-R and Chevy Camaro, to the shoveled nose and tail that fall into line with an Eighties subtext, it's still a Celica at heart, we think, but less subtle.
Inside, the design carries over, with enough design nuance where it counts, in the cut-tube gauges and M&M-shaped climate controls, but the big news is that Scion has upgraded all the materials, with lighter-colored fabrics. It's as if Scion has put a T-square to the tC's instruments and controls, which can be good or bad to some eyes. And on the down side, there are some glaring lapses in finishes.
A 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 those small, intuitive controls inject some much-appreciated function-over-form simplicity.