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That Other Scion Model

Much attention was paid this week to the newly unveiled re-designed Scion xB and all-new Scion xD. As David Kiley wrote in BusinessWeek two days ago, the hip, young brand is an important part of Toyota’s growth plans for the coming years. Scion sales already surpass those of brands like Volvo, Mercury, and Suzuki and are gaining on others such as Subaru.

Less attention was paid, obviously, to the introduction of the 2008 tC. But, that model is still the company’s most popular and arguably the most impressive in the lineup. More than 79,000 of the 173,500 Scions Toyota sold last year were tC coupes. The car is, in essence, a baby Lexus, a redistribution of high-style and high-quality from the $30,000 set to the $17,000 crowd. More importantly, it’s the model with the most street cred among tuners and modders — the very core of the company’s brand pitch, even if its customers don’t always correlate exactly.

The new 2008 version doesn’t much mess with the formula. Styling updates include a new mesh grille, blacked out headlamps, and altered lower lattice work. iPod compatibility is standard across all of the brand’s models, tC included. The 2.4-liter inline-4, which makes 161 horses, stays unchanged.

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