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2015 Scion tC

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2015 Scion tC Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

While the 2015 Scion tC isn't as quick as its sporty styling suggests, it still holds appeal for buyers who want an affordable, good-looking and fun-to-drive coupe. Loaded with a high-end audio system, plenty of visual upgrades and even a few performance parts from TRD, Scion's in-house aftermarket division, the Scion tC splits the difference in price and performance between rivals like the Honda Civic EX and Si models, with a price starting just under $20,000 without going much higher. The usable rear seat makes it more practical than other sporty cars, and the hatchback is easy to load and surprisingly roomy. While it's handily outclassed by Scion's own FR-S coupe, the tC's reliability and solid resale history help this little 2-door thrive.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a sporty-looking coupe that offers good fuel economy, an excellent audio system and a fun-to-drive attitude, then the 2015 Scion tC is a good call. First-time buyers will appreciate the no-haggle pricing, the numerous accessories allowing nearly infinite customization options, and the big rear hatch providing excellent cargo room.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Scion tC looks quick, it's left in the dust by similarly sized and priced competitors like the Honda Civic Coupe – even the Scion FR-S sports car isn't too much of a stretch. An abundance of black inside the tC's cabin is another detractor.

What's New for 2015

After numerous visual and performance improvements last year, the 2015 Scion tC's changes are limited. The automatic transmission gets new steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and there are two new colors available: Blizzard Pearl and Cosmic Gray.

Driving the tC
Driving Impressions

Whether the 2015 Scion tC is a sports coupe, or just a sporty-looking one is a matter for debate. Last year, Scion nudged the needle more toward "sports coupe" with...

... an improved automatic transmission and better suspension. The improved road manners and chassis feel were welcome, but the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, despite being bigger than many competitors, isn't exceptionally powerful, and the tC isn't exactly quick. However, we do like the downshift rev-matching technology borrowed from the FR-S, and it's a vast improvement over the old automatic. We still prefer the 6-speed manual gearbox both for its light clutch and precise, quick shifts. Still, compared to other coupes in its class, it's not nearly as powerful or capable, though for city driving it's probably good enough for most buyers.

BESPOKE PREMIUM AUDIO
Scion offers a BeSpoke audio system as an enhancement to the standard touch-screen radio. It adds full navigation to the system, as well as the Aha smartphone app service that allows access to 30,000 free radio stations including Scion's own station featuring 17 separate music channels.

BUILD YOUR OWN
One of the hallmarks of Scion is its personalization options. From exterior enhancements like spoilers and wheels, to performance upgrades like bigger brakes and stiffer springs, there are a lot of options to help make your tC unique. Since they can be wrapped into your regular payment, they're affordable, too.

2015 Scion tC Details
2015 Scion tC photo Interior

The 2015 Scion tC offers up a comfortable and modern interior. The multi-adjustable driver's seat can accommodate just about any height, and the rear seat is roomier than you'd expect, considering the tC's small exterior dimensions. Alternatively, you can fold the 60/40 rear seatbacks for better cargo room under the hatch. Upgrades last year included better seat materials and slightly more contrasting trim on the dash, and we like the straightforward simplicity of the gauges, center stack and controls. If there's a downside, it's the overly black-and-gray interior palate. A little color would help dress things up considerably.

Exterior
2015 Scion tC photo

The 2015 Scion tC doesn't look any different from last year's model, unless you get it sprayed in one of the two new colors. That's okay though, as last year's styling updates improved things significantly. We particularly like the wide-mouth lower grille, topped by a long hood and headlights with LED accent lighting. It's an aggressively playful look, and we like the fact that it isn't a 2-door version of a sedan, such as the Honda Civic, but its own car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even with its sub-$20,000 base price, the 2015 Scion tC comes nicely equipped. Its street cred includes 18-inch wheels and an impressive Pioneer sound system with a 6.1-inch LCD touch screen and HD Radio capability. Bluetooth is also standard, as are air conditioning, a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls and automatic headlights. Toyota's Star Safety System is also standard and features eight airbags and traction and stability control along with active front headrests.

Optional Equipment

Unlike many cars, the Scion tC isn't a slave to various option packages, and the basic car is just about what you'll get, feature-wise. The exception is the BeSpoke audio/navigation upgrade, which we think is worth the extra $1,200 or so. However, there are numerous individual options, many of which are dealer-installed. For example, there are different wheels, a rear spoiler, sporty TRD springs and brakes, and so on. The 6-speed automatic transmission gets steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to improve ease of manual shifts.

Under the Hood

There's only one engine available for the 2015 Scion tC: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 179 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to either a 6-speed manual or an automatic transmission. Last year, the automatic received rev-matching technology to allow smoother downshifts, changing gears twice as fast as before. This year, it gets shifter paddles mounted to the steering wheel, meaning gear changes are just a click away. We like the manual transmission's positive feel, and while the somewhat soft clutch isn't the sportiest out there, it's certainly easy to use.

2.5-liter inline-4
179 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
173 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg

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