"While the design of the tC is not exactly exciting—it offers up hints of a variety of different makes—it makes up in features what it loses in blandness." --carxcessory.com
"At the curb, the 2005 Scion tC has an I've-seen-this-before appearance. But what is it? It looks part Audi, part Hyundai, part Toyota. There is not one thing that seems unique about this all-new tC model." --cars.about.com
"The somewhat bland overall look is meant to be "a blank canvas" for young hot-rodders and customizers." --jbcarpages.com
"Make no mistake: the Scion tC drives richly, competently, and provides some entertainment. But only some. If the tC were a Toyota, its name would be "Celicamry." The average driver will find a lot to like, but tuner kids looking for new rides to pimp won't be tossing their VTEC rockets in the junkyard for this." --automotive.com
"It is an entry-level economy car after all so we shouldn’t be too critical of materials that look a bit cheap. Most notable is the covering on the dash that reminds me of the floor rubber on a ’58 dodge farm pickup. It effectively resists glare but adds nothing to the ambiance of the little coupe." --theautochannel.com
Though I'm happy to say not everyone agrees-- clearly, we like the look, USA Today and Edmunds had some nice things to say, going beyond the "competent" badge that most reviewers are all-too-happy to apply. Heck, theautochannel.com can't even make up it's mind; you see the review above, this is on their "road test" section of the site:
" Style sells coupes, and the tC should be a winner, with pleasing, very European-looking, styling. Although a well-known Italian design studio was consulted during the early stages of development, the final result is completely Scion's."
So I don't know who to believe.
So I guess what got me started on this was my weekly perusal of RottenTomotoes.com (the movie site). The site collects reviews from all over the place, and puts snippets of them on a review page; if 60% of the reviews are positive, the movie is considered "fresh". Less than 60% is "rotten". What you'll find there falls into three categories: screamingly positive, overwhelmingly negative, and very rarely-- something that falls in the middle. Mixed reviews are a rare animal.
Reviews (or I should say reviewers) seem to be content to follow the pack. The consensus doesn't seem to be formed through agreement so much as acquiesence. If big-time Reviewer A thinks the exterior is vanilla, then by god, it's vanilla to everyone else. And that makes me sad. I had to go through my collegiate years in the English program with future journalists-- and mind you, auto reviewers tend to be car people first, and writers second-- and I was scared for the future of journalism then, too.
I try to find the root of the disparity. If my car is as bland as virtually all of the critics would have me beleive, then why do people comment with "nice car" or a daily basis-- literally, perhaps at least once a day. Are they as out of touch as I must be? Or does Reviewer A have to find flaw with everything? Of course, I've read singing reviews of the Mazda 3 Whose styling I found delightfully uninspired, and whose interior was Ford-esque.
Well, that ran on long enough, I think. I generally known for my concision-- to any amoung you who actually read to this point-- I'll try to fault toward the side of brevity in the future.