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2012 Scion tC

Overview
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2012 Scion tC Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.3

If you live in a city or close-by suburbs, try a little experiment: Look around when you're on the road and keep an eye out for Scion tC drivers. The 2012 tC coupe isn't even the most recognizable Scion on the road (that would be the "roundy-boxy" xB); let alone a standout among other cars. But once you start noticing tCs, you'll notice that they're absolutely everywhere. Sales of the everyday sporty coupe had started to wane, though, so the tC received a much-needed facelift for the 2011 model. As a competitor to the Honda Civic and on-the-rise Kia Optima, the Scion's upgrade was seen by many as being too conservative. The changes did their job, however – sales of the Scion tC jumped nearly 75 percent between June 2010 and June 2011. With a new cosmetic package available for 2012, Toyota looks to take advantage of the resurgent interest in Scion's 2-seater.

You'll Like This Car If...

Scion's attractive pricing combined with Toyota's reputation for dependable motoring makes the 2012 tC coupe compelling for anyone looking for a fun coupe with fair amenities. The aftermarket on Scion allows for maximum customization on a minimal budget.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Depending on your performance expectations when it comes to a coupe, the 2012 Scion tC may leave you as underwhelmed as in past models. For the cost of the Release Series 7.0 Package, many might expect a performance boost that it does not provide.

What's New for 2012

After a design reboot for the 2011 model, the 2012 Scion tC coupe sees few base-model changes. The most notable change is the new 300-watt Pioneer sound system. The "High Voltage" Release Series 7.0 package is the biggest new feature available, giving buyers upgraded wheels, a TRD-designed body kit, keyless entry and push-button start, and a unique High Voltage finish.

Driving the tC

Driving Impressions The driving experience has always been the biggest source of debate over the Scion tC, and the 2012 tC coupe is unlikely to settle any arguments. The clutch in the...

6-speed manual transmission, for example, is both light for daily commute convenience and precise for quick shifts. Steering is somewhat anemic, but engine response at low rpm is more fun than expected. Compared to other coupes in its class, it's not nearly as powerful or capable, but for city driving it's just enough fun to keep you from thinking twice about what it could be. This isn't "slow-car fast"; it's "slow-car in stop-and-go" fast.

Pioneer Premium Sound System
That such a thorough audio setup is standard on a sub-$20,000 coupe is just flat-out great. The Bluetooth connectivity is easy enough to work with and the sound quality itself is excellent.

Build Your Own
If you even have the most fleeting thought of a piece or part for your 2012 Scion tC coupe, someone will immediately put it into production. The more time you spend on your tC, the more it becomes your tC, and there are many forums, clubs and the like dedicated to customization.

2012 Scion tC Details
Interior

The 2012 Scion tC earns its keep with a smart interior that offers exceptional comfort and a convenient control layout. The driver's seat is adjustable enough for all shapes and sizes, and rear-seat passengers will be surprised by the amount of room they actually have. Dials and instrument clusters have a round theme that is pleasant and manages to be Spartan without looking like anything is missing. Sixty/40-split folding back seats allow trips to actual supermarkets as well as convenience stores.

Exterior

The 2012 Scion tC remains an improvement over the first generation, with its more angular roofline and jaunting grille. Where other, smaller coupes in its class almost dreadfully wear their what-you-see-is-what-you-get-ness on their sleeve, the tC coupe looks playful and fun. The tC also looks fast, which has helped turn millions of young eyes to it over the years. The Release Series' Toyota Racing Development body pieces only accentuate this, and the High Voltage paint color is nice if a bit garish.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Scion tC carries the youth-appeal cred of previous models with standard equipment such as 18-inch wheels and the new Pioneer sound system. That sound system is HD Radio capable and you can connect your phone to it, as long as it is running Bluetooth 2.0 or higher. There are two microphones in the ceiling-light array to help facilitate use of the hands-free phone option. Toyota's Star Safety System is also standard and features eight airbags and traction and stability control along with active front headrests.

Optional Equipment

From the factory, 19-inch wheels are available for the 2012 Scion tC as well as a Five:AD 4-Piece Aero Kit, which is inspired by a concept tC and gives the car a more aggressive look. Again, the Release Series 7.0 is an available option with TRD body styling. Aftermarket options for the 2012 Scion tC will be as endless as they are for all other Scion models.

Under the Hood

All Scion tC trim levels carry a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, producing 180 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. Both manual and automatic transmissions are 6-speed. The automatic downshifts well enough, but upshifts are a tick less than immediate-feeling. The coupe's manual transmission's clutch could garner some accusations of being soft were it not for the bolt-action precision of its shifts.

2.5-liter in-line 4
180 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
173 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31

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2012 Scion tC Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 76 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Thumbs up

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Compared to other cars this same size I have owned in the past---better than most. Muffler a little noisy, but I think they have marketed this car towards young males. Clutch pedal goes a little too far to the floor, even after it was adjusted."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Awesome vehicle for first time car buyers.

By on Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 643

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Sporty design, Great value, Very fun to drive"

Cons: "No option for leather seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"As a young professional this car is really all I can ask for and more. It handles very nicely, it's fun to drive, and being a hatch back allows for a lot of cargo room."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Cheap, but still NOT worth the money!

By on Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Relatively unexpensive, spacious , nice exterior"

Cons: "cheap interior, sticking gears, bad cruise control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"INTERIOR: very cheap, air conditioner knobs are difficult to turn and feel like they are going to break at any given moment, dash makes a rattling noise that will sometimes stop if the driver presses the break, driver's side floor mats had holes in them within the first month of purchasing the vehicle EXTERIOR: looks nice, no issues ENGINE (automatic): gears stick to the point where the driver needs to let off the gas so that the car will shift to the next gear (applicable to lower and higher gears), cruise control knob needs to be bumped up/down THREE times to change the speed by ONE mile"

Fun and peppy!

By on Friday, June 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great handling and sound system"

Cons: "I am questioning the durability of the paint"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Have had this for two months now and love it. I have the 6 speed manual and it is great. You can have fun off the line by turning off the traction "nanny" with the touch of a button. Corners are fun when come from 100+ mph into tight off ramps. Performance really happens in the 4-6000rmp range. Only draw back is that is is a little sluggish in the 2-4000rmp range. Speakers and interior are wonderful with controls on the steering wheel. With bluetooth for my Pandora off my phone I really don't miss passing up the Bespoke Audio. *Only major issue* The paint is not very durable to small pebbles and such. I did not get the optional front applique and wish I had. I have noticed many small chips in the paint where a very small rock was kicked out of a tire. I would recommend getting the applique for the front bumper and hood."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

love it

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "sun roof, fun to drive, good on gas, comfortable,"

Cons: "no automatic lights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought the car brand new back in August--love at first sight! I was a little cautious about it only having the 4cyl engine (my last vehicle was a v6), but don't let the engine size fool you-it will get up and go! It's a very smooth riding and spacious car...YES, I said spacious! I love the panorama roof-might be my favorite thing about the car. I was thinking of upgrading the standard audio system before I actually purchased the car, but the standard system works great-very good quality music. I love that the tC is a hatchback, so trunk space is not an issue like a regular car. It gets good gas, steering wheel audio controls are amazing, and just overall perfect! I'm very happy with it!"

8 people out of 11 found this review helpful

sometimes fun to drive, very practical, reliable

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "price, good driver, plenty of cargo room, reliable"

Cons: "no rear wiper, no lumbar support"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"good enough power, sure stance, good in long drives (700 miles), with proper tires good in snow, dependable"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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