We have always thought that the Scion tC was a pretty tidy looking little hatchback, but as it's been on sale since 2004, well, it's gotten a bit tired, even though there are very few inexpensive front-drive sport-ish coupes to choose from these days. With that in mind, we've been looking forward to the introduction of the long-awaited 2011 model, expecting a fairly radical step forward. Judging by this new spy shot from an anonymous tipster, perhaps we ought to temper our expectations a bit.

While the single snapshot in question is blurry and blown out, it does show what appears to be a new lower fascia, grille, wheels, and side mirrors. The headlamps are too washed out under the showstand's high-power lights to tell if they've been altered (it appears that the photo was taken during a presentation rehearsal ahead tomorrow's New York Auto Show reveal), but it's reasonable to assume that the tC will receive new lights both front and rear, as they're a hallmark of almost any vehicle refresh.

As for what lies underneath the reskin, we're not yet sure, as the only thing to have slipped out about the new model that appears credible are a few official-looking detail shots that reveal items like a new manual shift mode for the automatic transmission and revamped HVAC controls.

We'll have more on the 2011 tC after Scion's press conference tomorrow, but in the meantime, you can play a game of "spot the differences" from the outgoing car by checking out our high-res gallery of Scion's latest special edition model below.

Our man with the spy cam has offered up the following details about the 2011 tC:
  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (2010 model has a 2.4-liter)
  • Six-speed manual or automatic gearbox with sequential shifter
  • 18-inch wheels standard (with wider tires)
  • Traction and stability control (defeatable)
  • Wider track for improved stance
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel "one of the best feeling out there (comparable to the one used in the GTI), very thick"
  • Improved seats with "good bolsters and shoulder height bolsters, too"
  • Improved rear headroom (but panoramic moonroof stays)
  • Overall, a "very nice feeling interior (for the price point and even above)"
  • Eight-speaker stereo standard
  • Single outlet exhaust ("would like nice with a dual back there")
We'll see if our inside man is right on the money tomorrow.

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