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2015 Scion tC: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

The 2015 Scion tC sport coupe doesn't get much love from enthusiast-oriented car magazines, but we think that's a good thing, because it underscores that the tC is a civilized car. It doesn't have an obnoxiously loud engine, it doesn't ride like an oxcart and it doesn't have a cramped interior. On the contrary, it's a sensible Toyota-built coupe with just enough sportiness to remind you that you didn't buy a Corolla.

Of course, your Scion dealer will be happy to make your tC look and sound like a performance car. The Scion experience is all about accessories, so if you want an aggressive exhaust or a lowered suspension, for example, you can get it at the dealership without jeopardizing your warranty.

But underneath its frequently flashy veneer, the tC remains a practical Toyota product that should provide a pain-free ownership experience. We know that's not the stuff magazine covers are made of, but for real-world drivers, the 2015 Scion tC is a pretty cool package.

What's New for 2015?

When equipped with the automatic transmission, the tC now includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

What We Like

Sporty attitude; decent back seat; handy hatchback; cool tech features; extensive personalization options; good value

What We Don't

Not quite as capable as it looks

How Much?

$19,980

Fuel Economy

The front-wheel-drive tC is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 rated at 179 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque. Transmission options include a 6-speed manual or a quick-shifting 6-speed automatic. Both give the tC great performance, since its engine is the same one that powers the bigger and heavier Toyota Camry sedan. Fuel economy with either transmission is rated at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Scion tC is offered in a single trim level with many optional accessories.

The base tC ($19,980) comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights and taillights, a panoramic sunroof, a height-adjustable driver's seat, air conditioning, power accessories, cruise control, a first aid kit, a tilt-telescopic flat-bottom sport steering wheel, and an 8-speaker 300-watt Pioneer audio system with a 6.1-in touchscreen, HD Radio, and iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

Available extras include 19-in alloy wheels, fog lights, a rear spoiler, a BeSpoke infotainment system with navigation and Aha Radio mobile-app integration, and a variety of mild performance aids such as lowering springs, performance brakes and a sport exhaust.

The tC model's back seat illustrates the advantages of basing a sport coupe on an existing sedan (in this case, the overseas Toyota Avensis). Unless the front passengers are unusually tall, full-size adults should be able to ride in the back for miles without complaint. Rear headroom is the most significant limiting factor.

The cargo capacity seems only average-plus at first glance, at 14.7 cu ft., but that's just the start of it. The tC is a hatchback, and if you open that lift gate and fold down the rear seatbacks, you'll have nearly 35 cu ft. of cargo space.

Safety

The 2015 Scion tC comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and eight airbags (front, front-side, front-knee and full-length side-curtain).

In government crash-testing, the tC scored a perfect five stars overall, including four stars for front impacts and five for side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the tC its top rating of Good in all crash-test categories except for the relatively new small-overlap front crash test, where the tC was deemed Acceptable (the second-best rating of four).

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we deemed the tC model's front seats a welcome departure from Scion's ho-hum norm. The prominent side bolsters are clearly designed to hold you in place when the going gets twisty. The thick, leather-wrapped tilt-telescopic steering wheel has a wide range of adjustability, and it sports a race-car-style flat bottom that reminds us of an Audi TT.

The tC's straightforward gauges feature an orange-illuminated tachometer and speedometer housed within separate hoods. The 3-dial climate controls couldn't be simpler, and the entire central control panel is canted toward the driver for a cool cockpitlike feel. We've seen some complaints about the tC's interior quality, but we respectfully disagree: The plastics may be hard to the touch, but they have distinctive graining, and the overall ambiance in the tC's cabin is hardly cheap.

On the road, the tC is a solid introduction to the joy of driving. Thanks to standard stability control and an appetite for understeer, this Scion is highly unlikely to behave unpredictably. What it will do, though, is get the g-forces going in corners enough to whet a driver's appetite. At the same time, the tC has a civilized ride, and road noise isn't a problem by sport-coupe standards. We're fans.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Honda Civic Si -- More focused on performance than the tC, the Civic Si is a little quicker if you wind it out to the redline. The tC has closed the gap considerably, though.

2015 Ford Fiesta ST -- It may be a 5-door hatchback, but the turbocharged ST is more fun than just about any 2-door car, and it's attractively priced.

2015 Kia Forte Koup -- The stylish Forte Koup offers a cool turbocharged engine that matches the Fiesta ST's power and easily bests the Scion's.

AutoTrader's Advice

The tC is a great value, particularly given how much standard equipment Scion throws in. We still prefer the manual, but the automatic is an unusually responsive specimen.

Find a Scion tC for sale

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Used 2015 Scion tC
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Used 2015 Scion tC
Used 2015 Scion tC
$13,590
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2015 Scion tC
Used 2015 Scion tC
$16,803
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Used 2015 Scion tC
Used 2015 Scion tC
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Scion tC: New Car Review - Autotrader