The Incredible Vanishing Car: The 2015 Scion tC

Front view of 2015 Scion tC
The 2015 Scion tC.
If it seems like you don't see nearly as many Scion tCs on the road as you once did, there's a good reason for that.

They're not there to see.

Front 3/4 view of the 2015 Scion tC
2015 Scion tC.
In its best two years, 2005 and 2006, the tC sold 74,415 and 79,125 copies respectively. 2007 wasn't bad, at 63,852, but from there, the drop-off was scary: 40,980 in 2008.  17,998 in 2009.  15,204 in 2010.  The 2011 refresh helped, bumping the number up to 22.433 that year and 22,666 in 2012, but it was 19,094 in 2013 and 17,947 last year.

Last month, Scion moved 1,219 of them.  Which put it behind the Hyundai Veloster.  And you don't exactly see those everywhere you look.

The tC is a reasonably priced (base: $19,210), economical (EPA estimate 23 city/31 highway) reasonably peppy (178 horsepower, six-speed manual) coupe with a lot of standard features (18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic glass moonroof, Pioneer 300-watt audio system with touchscreen, Bluetooth, and HD Radio). So what's wrong?

You might think the introduction of the better-looking, better-handling, more powerful Scion FR-S has stolen the tC's thunder, but that's not the case. The tC actually outsells the FR-S (17,947 to 14,062 in 2014).

Steering wheel detail of 2015 Scion tC
Steering wheel detail of the 2015 Scion tC.
Frankly, the problem is neglect.  Not only is Toyota not spending significant money promoting the tC (or for that matter, the Scion brand) to the buying public, but they're not even putting effort into assets for journalists.  Many...in fact, most...of the photos you see in our reviews are manufacturer photos.  They hire photographers that are better with a camera than I am.  So, unless I'm using my own photos to tell a story, I'll go for the superior quality.  Every manufacturer offers them on a password-protected download site.  Most models have dozens, if not hundreds, of available images of the exterior and interior of the car, taken from several different angles.

The site for the Scion tC has seven.


The two shots of the white car you see in this review, two rear and rear/side views of a black car, a shot of the moonroof and two shots of the steering wheel, both equally close-up...one of the right side of the wheel and the one you see above of the left, in which only the "-" on the paddle shifter is in focus.

A snarky journalist would tell you that if Toyota doesn't care, then he or she doesn't and there's no reason you should, either.  But that's not true.  The tC is a great value...even with an additional five grand in options, which our tester had (carpeted floor mats and cargo mat, fog lights, an upgraded BeSpoke audio system featuring aha, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) performance springs, air filter, performance exhaust, front strut tie bar and brake upgrade.

With delivery, processing and handling fee, the bottom line was $24,935.  And it was and is a good car for far more people than even know it exists.  If you're in the market for an economical, sporty coupe...the tC has a lot going for it.