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2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Scion tC

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/12/2010 Michael Floyd

Despite being more of an update than a completely new version, the 2011 tC starts with positive first impressions. Its new macho styling draws admirers wherever it goes, especially when paired with that pale, primer-like Cement paintjob. Even better, the now 180-horse, 2.5-liter inline-four has this budget-priced coupe nipping at the heels of serious sport compacts. And would you look at that flat-bottom steering wheel? It's thick enough to make M3 owners envious.

The TC's engine provides ample power, but it has an artificially boosted induction note that turned off more than a few judges. And sure, it may feel fast around the handling circuit, but the tC is 1 second slower than the Si in our figure eight. A frequent complaint was the insufferably long rev hang between shifts; another was pedal placement, which isn't friendly to Fred Astaire footwork.

The tC does boast seats that juggle sport and commuter duties well and has backseat that is both easy to access and comfortable to sit in. Other elements, however, like the stereo's integration into the center stack and the sunroof shade, look like a botched Circuit City install job. Ride quality too was suspect; editors noted damping a touch too firm and a noisy interior.

2011 Scion Tc© Provided by MotorTrend 2011 Scion Tc

What you have here is solid, by-the-numbers entry-level coupe in fancy clothes.

Does the Scion tC have enough going for it to win it the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year award? Come back to MotorTrend.com on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. EST when we will reveal the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year LIVE as it happens

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