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Photo: carphotos.com

Power and efficiency can seem like contradictory qualities in a vehicle.  A big truck may have lots of towing power but relatively poor fuel economy for that long trip to the lake, making such trips more expensive for the driver.  On the other hand, a tiny hybrid coupe may have a driving range that ranges from California to Texas, but with little power to accelerate up mountain roads, it can feel like a less than satisfactory compromise.  Luckily, a new crop of sporty yet economically sound vehicles has arisen in recent years.  They appeal to the driver’s heart as well as her head with great acceleration, handling, and braking, while also having modest price tags, great reliability, and strong fuel economy.  The Scion tC is a great example of this vehicle category.

How to Appeal to the Driver’s Heart

When many drivers first shop for a new vehicle, they are likely to want a car that catches their attention.   How does that happen?  A vehicle that has a unique look, perhaps with an aggressive stance or sleek lines, is a good starting place.  A driver might look for a car that has the potential to be fast, handle well in differing conditions, and stop quickly.  A powerful engine and a great transmission are two building blocks for such performance that bring a grin to a driver’s face.  A modestly priced but innovative sedan like one of the offerings from Scion might have some of the following specifications to deliver that kind of performance:

  • 2.5 Liter engine
  • DOHC 16 valve 4 cylinder
  • Close to 180 horsepower
  • 172 foot pounds of torque at 4100 RPM
  • Six speed manual or automatic transmission

Any car that purports to have a performance-oriented ride will also have an anti-lock brake system with brake assist for its disc brakes.  That makes drivers a bit more comfortable as they accelerate smoothly on a curvy road, knowing they can stop quickly if a dangerous situation arises.

Building the Perfect Ride

A good suspension will help make a smooth and steady ride through all kinds of conditions.  That includes windy roads, rough roads, and slick conditions.  Potholes, off camber curves and other drivers can all be forces to which a driver or vehicle must react.    Multiple components come together to make that perfect ride for any situation:

  • Front Macpherson struts
  • Rear wishbone suspension
  • Front and rear stabilizer bars
  • Electronic power steering

Of course, the perfect ride also demands stability control and traction control. When all of those elements come together, the feeling of the car moving down the road is truly a joy to behold.

Saving Money the Easy Way                                                          

Buying a new car is not inexpensive, but buying the right car can make a lot of economic sense. The suggested retail price is one factor. Drivers will also factor in the future costs depending on overall mechanical reliability. A vehicle with 36 month warranty on most components beyond normal maintenance and a 60 month warranty on the drive train is easy to feel good about.  Getting a combined 26 miles per gallon is great for a car that actually has some power and style. The combination of those factors can make the driver confident in the choice she has made.

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