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August 28, 2010

Scion Fans Celebrate New Generation tC

119_0317 A couple of months ago, we posted the details of Scion’s “Unlock the tC Road Trip” …an eight-week online game with the promise of a fabulous prize for one lucky winner: the newly designed 2011 Scion tC. Players racked up points by embarking on a virtual cross-country road trip designed to introduce them to the new vehicle, its customization options and the Scion community.

The contest culminated with a final round between the top four contestants live on stage, at a celebration in Santa Monica, California. Several hundred Scion fans were there to cheer them on. Many of them showed off their own Scion tC's and awards in a"classic car" show held behind the banner (I was a little bit amused at the idea that a brand that debuted in 2004 could be called "classics," but I had to admit, some of the customizations on the vehicles were really inspired.)

Attendees also scooped up free swag, chatted with race car driver Ken Gushi, dined on gourmet catering truck cuisine, listened to some hot bands (and downloaded new music), viewed Scion’s latest video art installation, lined up for free haircuts from trendy shop Barracuda…

…and had the opportunity to check out the new model tC’s.

Now, I have a confession to make: I'm a middle aged married mom of a teenager, and it has been a long time since I've been to such a youth-oriented event without my kid. I get it, because Toyota has targeted the Scion line at young drivers on a budget. So it's understandable that I had never heard of the bands that were performing live on stage, or the trendy hair salon that was providing attendees with free haircuts. And my doctor would not approve of the burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches offered up by the catering trucks out back (although I think I did OK by ordering a chicken-based Asia Dog with kimchee toppings).

I'd bet good money that very few of the Unlock the tC contestants were women my age. I mean, who has that kind of time? It was no surprise that three of the four finalists were very young men. However, the fourth finalist was 49-year-old Robin Cunningham, a machinist from Midland, MI. He found out about the contest in an email from his daughter, and he likes to listen to AC/DC and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I was rooting for him.

But just because I was a bit out of place at the event doesn't mean I couldn't appreciate the new model tC's that were displayed around the hangar (particularly the one with the color described as "sizzling crimson mica").

I have middle-aged friends who own Scions and are always gloating about how little they cost to own and maintain.

As a mom, I find the tC especially attractive for its 180 horsepower engine (derived from the Camry), decent fuel economy, and standard safety features, which include anti-lock brakes, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control and a brake override system... all for a list price of under $20,000.

This is a car I could feel good watching my teenage daughter drive.

Also attractive from a woman's point of view is Scion's policy of no-haggle pricing. This was not a consideration for the young man who won his own ride home on Saturday night. Alas, it was not my middle-aged favorite. The winner was Kevin Malby, a 20-year-old student at UCSB.

Who said playing computer games was a waste of time? I'm sure his mom is happy.

2010 by Donna Schwartz Mills
Contributing Editor

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