Downside: The tC's seats could use a bit more cush for the tush. Either that, or Toyota could offer multiple seat options for this one -- harder, sportier seats for the young and the restless and softer seats for old and the vested.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The tC has a good small-car ride. Handling and acceleration are excellent. It moves nimbly through tight urban traffic. Parking is a cinch.

Head-turning quotient: Pleasant, friendly, adult.

Body style/layout: The tC is a compact, front-engine, front-wheel-drive, two-door coupe with a rear hatch.

Engine/transmissions: The car is equipped with a 2.4-liter, 16-valve, double-overhead-cam, inline four-cylinder gasoline engine that develops 160 horsepower at 5,700 revolutions per minute and 163 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 RPM. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. An electronically controlled four-speed automatic is optional.

Cargo and fuel capacities: The tC has seating for five people. But we found that only four adults can sit in the car comfortably. Cargo capacity is 12.8 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 14.5 gallons of gasoline. Regular unleaded is recommended.

Mileage: We averaged 28 miles per gallon in highway and city driving with the automatic. You may get a few more miles per gallon with the manual transmission.

Safety: There are dual-stage front air bags and a driver's knee bag to help reduce leg injuries in a crash. Side and curtain air bags are available as factory-installed options. Hint: Inasmuch as this is a small car, I recommend buying the safety options. You can live without a better sound system, but maybe not without an extra air bag.

Price: For the tested automatic tC, the base price is $16,750. Dealer's invoice on the base model is $15,912. Price as tested is $17,915, including $650 for the side and curtain bags and a $515 destination charge. The dealer's invoice price with the bag option and transportation charge is $16,986. Please keep in mind that prices change with options, the model and dealer chosen, and myriad other factors. Prices here are from Toyota,,, and, the last of which is a Washington Post affiliate.

Purse-strings note: It's a buy. Compare with Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Mini Cooper and any other small car.