Scion’s Best Selling Model – Sporty and Fun
The dictionary defines scion as the descendant of a family or heir, which describes perfectly what Toyota had planned when it introduced its Scion automobile division in 2002 – an attempt to present a younger version of its cars to attract younger buyers to the Toyota brand. Through a series of small, nimble and even quirky cars, Scion has made a case for itself by being a youth brand that brings fun to driving.
The front-wheel drive 2015 Scion tC has a 2.5L four-cylinder, 16-valve engine with direct electronic fuel injection putting out 179 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. Running on unleaded regular, our test car, equipped with a TRD (Toyota Racing Division) performance-tuned exhaust, had a six-speed manual that got us to 0 – 60 in about 7.6 seconds and was EPA rated at 23 city / 31 highway / 26 combined mpg. The sweet spot for the power band is in the 2nd – 3rd – 4th gear sequence, in the 2,500 – 4,500 rpm range, where the engine pulls strong without missing a beat. In 360 miles of spirited (translation: high revs and pushing the manual transmission through its paces) 65-percent highway /35-percent city driving we averaged 25.6 mpg. That means if the 14.5-gallon fuel tank was run dry it would have taken us about 370 miles down the road. The optional six-speed automatic with paddle shifters gets the same EPA mileage estimates.
Driving Experience: On the Road
At 3,082 lbs., the Scion tC handles firm and flat in slow-to-medium tight cornering with very little body roll when pushed hard. The 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels shod with 225/45R18 all-season tires were well-matched to the front MacPherson struts and shocks and double-wishbone rear suspension, which features
TRD performance springs all-around. The overall ride was confident at highway speeds and the electric power steering is calibrated to provide good road and cornering feel, making it fun to drive in a sporty way. That said, it came up a little under what would be found in a true sports car.
Stopping was straight and true with no fading from the front ventilated and rear solid disc brakes, assisted by the four-wheel anti-lock brake system (ABS), brake assist (BA), Smart Stop Technology (SST) and the electronic brake distribution (EBD) system.
Driving Experience: Exterior
The first generation Scion tC ran from 2005 to 2010; the current model was released in 2011 and receiving a freshening in 2014. The current model will easily satisfy your need to drive and be seen in a sporty coupe with its low-slung stance, short rear overhang and a sloping hood leading to a muscular front end, all topped-off with the 18-inch tires filling the wheel wells. I personally liked the smooth side panels with no cladding or chrome, dark tinted windows, tasteful spoiler and the standard panoramic power sunroof. There isn’t much to argue when Scion says: “The aggressive look of the 2015 tC addresses drivers’ evolving tastes in the sports coupe.”
Driving Experience: Interior
The simple, no-gimmick clean design of the Scion tC interior was appreciated. Sliding into the black and grey cloth seats (no leather option) places the driver
before the deep-set gauges that were illuminated with a soft orange light. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel was thick to the grip and has a flat bottom design that comes from the racing world. It’s becoming common on many cars that come through Clean Fleet Report. The tilt and telescoping steering wheel column combined with the six-way manually adjustable seat, made finding a driving position easy. Sightlines are limited and relying on the power-adjustable outside mirrors is a must.
The power tilt and sliding sunroof was easy to operate with wind noise only a concern when at highway speeds. The driver seat has a one-touch feature—when the handle is lifted, the seat folds and slides forward providing access to the back seat. Scion says three can comfortably sit in the back seat, but to make this happen successfully might rest on your finding friends on the shorter side, which would do them a big favor. Where the back seat shines is when the 60/40 split, reclining and fold-flat seats are laid out, providing for good storage space that is also accessible from the easy opening liftback.
The dash layout has easy-to-read and find controls. I was especially pleased to see the radio had knobs for volume and channel selecting, the climate control wheels were a different size than those of the radio, and were located away from the radio to eliminate any confusion. This may not seem like a big thing, but, when reaching for these very different controls in the dark, it is— regardless of your familiarity with the dash layout.
The BeSpoke Premium audio and navigation sound system included eight speakers for the 300-watt Pioneer AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3 HD radio and a 6.1-inch touch screen display. The Scion tC is also equipped with Aha and Google Play, a USB port with iPod connectivity, Aux-in jacks and Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free telephone that are operational on the steering wheel.
Other nice interior features are cruise control, A/C, remote keyless entry, power windows (with one-touch up and down for the driver’s side), power door locks and outside mirrors, multiple cup holders, carpeted floor mats, center console with storage and 12-volt accessory outlets.
Safety and Convenience
The 2015 Scion tC came with safety and convenience features including eight air bags, a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), vehicle stability control (VSC), Traction Control System (TRAC), four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist, projector beam headlights with fog and running lights, first aid kit and an anti-theft engine immobilizer.
Pricing and Warranties
Base pricing for the 2015 Scion tC with the six-speed manual transmission is $19,385 and with the six-speed automatic, including paddle shifters, the base price is $20,535. Clean Fleet Report’s 2015 Scion tC with optional equipment had an MSRP of $26,058. All prices exclude the $770 freight and handling charge.
The 2015 Scion tC has a NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) overall safety rating of 5 Stars, which is the highest they award. It received 4 of 5 starts in front crash, 5 of 5 in side crash and 4 of 5 in rollover tests.
The 2015 Scion tC comes with these warranties:
- Basic – Three-year/36,000-mile
- Powertrain – Five-year/60,000-mile
- Roadside Assistance – Two-year/24,000-mile
- Corrosion Perforation – Five-year/Unlimited mile
- Factory Scheduled Maintenance – Two-year/25,000-mile
Observations: 2015 Scion tC
Are you the demanding sort of driver who wants to have as much fun as possible but would prefer your car have a base price under $20,000?
If that’s the baseline for keeping a smile on your face, the Scion tC could be your daily driver. Peppy performance and an aggressive look and feel means you can get into a stylish sports coupe for a reasonable amount of money. Plus, with color options like Cosmic Gray, Blizzard Pearl and Absolutely Red, you will also be making a statement about who you are and what you are about.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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