If you’re in the market for a new car and like myself are not supported 100 percent by mom and dad’s bank account, then chances are you have a strict price range in mind.
If you fit into this category then it is also likely that you’ve noticed the increase in gas prices, and therefore need a vehicle with decent gas mileage. Despite both of these criteria, as hip college students we still want a ride that is fun to drive and that gets attention as well.
It would seem that currently, the Scion tC fits that criterion more than adequately. With a base price of around $16,465, it boasts standard equipment including power windows and doors, a six-speaker Pioneer AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, and some slick 17-inch alloy wheels. The 2.4 liter four cylinder engine puts out 163 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque while achieving 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.
One thing about that engine that usually isn’t mentioned is the fact that it is the same four-cylinder you can find in grandma’s Toyota Camry. With little tuning done to make the engine in the tC more exciting, you might as well be riding in grandma’s car.
And in case you haven’t noticed, you’ll see the tC everywhere you look. There is no doubt that Toyota did something right with their Scion lineup. But if you’re like me, you’ll want to try something different; you’ll want to stand out.
While most Honda enthusiasts would like to forget the last generation Civic Si, the new 2006 model is already being touted as the best Civic ever designed for enthusiasts. The Si gets the same i-VTEC K20 engine found in the RSX Type-S and features 196 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque.
The 2006 RSX Type-S has an M.S.R.P of nearly $25,000; the new Civic Si is expected to start at just under $20,000. While the Civic Si may set you back a little more than the tC, you’ll be getting what “Sport Compact Car” magazine calls “the best naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine in production” as opposed to grandma’s not so exciting Camry engine.
The Scion tC can be ordered with an automatic transmission, but don’t expect to find one on the Civic Si. It is a true drivers car and features a six-speed manual transmission. Learning to drive a stick shift may seem like a daunting task, but after only a couple practice sessions you realize how little effort it really takes and how much fun it can be.
The Civic Si comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, a 350-watt stereo with MP3 playback, iPod connectivity, six speakers, and an 8-inch subwoofer. In addition, Honda has provided standard front, side, and curtain airbags to ensure the highest level of driver safety.
The Si is expected to manage 22 mpg city and 31 mpg on the highway, allowing you to enjoy a truly impressive driving experience without having to worry the next time you visit the gas station.
You may have to work a few extra shifts to make up the price difference between the Civic Si and the Scion tC but it should be worth the effort. The best way to decide is to drive both cars. Chances are someone you know has a tC, because lets face it, they’re everywhere.
After you manage that, head to the local Honda dealer and experience the new Civic Si and decide for yourself.
Michael Salseda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.