2015 Scion tC Keeps Amped Aspiration Affordable

Scion knows its role in the powerful Toyota triad. Lexus makes the luxury and performance cars and SUVs. Toyota makes the family vehicles and trucks. Scion builds the affordable, playful cars aimed square for younger drivers.

The 2015 Scion tC does nothing to shake up that formula. Stylized with understated lines and equipped with entertainment connectivity, the new tC should appeal to drivers 35 and younger while the older buyers graduate to Lexus and Toyota.

During a weeklong test drive, I found this Scion to be accurately targeted at that specific age group. Modern without being overly haughty, quick without aspiring to overpowered performance and just begin enough to transport urban cargo and a couple friends, the tC will allow younger drivers to graduate out of entry level vehicles and into a more aspiring ride — all at a starting MSRP of about $20,000.

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The Scion tC comes standard with a 2.5 liter, 179 horsepower engine linked up to front wheel drive. The result is a drive that’s quick enough for urban street use. There’s not a ton of straight line power, but that’s not what this car is designed for on the pavement. It’s meant to zip in and out of traffic efficiently — to keep the driver out of trouble with a little extra flair. An ABS setup brings it all to a stop.

Let me send a hearty hooray Scion’s way for offering the tC with a solid manual transmission. Yes, it comes with a six gear automatic with sport paddle shifter, but automakers like Scion keep the classic sport car feel alive with a six speed stick on the floor.

The interior trim packages can include upgraded sound systems and in-dash infotainment with optional BeSpoke technology. The R/T version of the tC takes a page from sister company Toyota’s sport-tuned division. That spec set adds a throatier, rally inspired exhaust, special badging and tightened handling.

The 2014 Scion tC knows what it’s about and does what it was designed to do — offering just a little taste of performance driving for a very obtainable price. There will be 40-some year olds out there one day in their Lexus F Sports looking back fondly on the tC they managed to grab when they were younger men eager to break away from the tiny hatchbacks of the world.