By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
By Cooper on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty, Fun to drive, Pretty Quick For A 4Cylinder"
Cons: "No Leather, No Auto Lights/Seats, No Seat Heaters."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I wanted this vehicle because I liked the "sporty" look it had. But once I got into the vehicle.....it didn't have anything that made me fall in love with it. It looked the same inside as every other one. I was trading in my 07 Jetta, and going from a vehicle that had leather seats, seat heaters, electric seats, automatic headlights, it just wasn't a very good trade. The tC is a nice car don't get me wrong, but it wasn't what I was expecting when I walked into the dealership to do the trade. It's a great teen car, but being 26 years old, I don't feel like I should be driving it.If I could, I would go back to a Jetta in a heartbeat."
10 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Chas on Saturday, November 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun and sporty"
Cons: "Plastic cheap interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Too much plastic in interior. Sunroof cover is a joke come on Toyota you can do better! Great looking sporty car so far no issues."
13 people out of 31 found this review helpful
By kyle94 on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, fun to drive, sporty, big sunroof, mpg"
Cons: "no automatic lights, stock tires don't last long,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I had a 2011 tC that I foolishly got rid of for a Fusion. I missed the gas mileage and sportiness of the tC."
9 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Shreinersz on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "quality and safety features"
Cons: "not enough power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Nice car rides nice has given me no problems. The interior could use a face lift use nicer materials. It has good pick up for a 4 cylinder however I think they would sell alot more of these cars if they put a 6 cylinder in them. I would say it needs a larger engine such a sleek head turning sporty looking car but not enough performance to match."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By dlhawk on Thursday, September 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Best price for a sporty fun to drive coupe!"
Cons: "interior colors are limited"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It has been very reliable and the vehicle is loaded with lots of equipment for what you will get for the price of others in the same class. The reliability of this tc I can say is the best I have seen. It also provides more leg room & head room in its class. Sporty, and fun to drive! You definitely get more for the buck! I'm completely happy with my Scion tC and I plan to trade up to the 2015 tC."
13 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By Ty on Friday, April 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, steering, acceleration, reliable"
Cons: "Terrible paint quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I purchased my 2014 tC in black back in August. This car is very fun to drive aggressively, or just taking it on a cruise. I had this car for about 8 months now and enjoy driving it everyday. The car is perfect on power for the average person and both transmissions offer great performance. The pioneer system is much better than other companies offer. The interior is very spacious, even for people sitting in the back seat. Nobody can believe how much leg room there is in the back even with the front seats moved back. The seats are comfortable and supportive for longer drives, and they hold you in tight when turning around corners. The only problem I have with the car is the POOR paint quality. My car is black and there are about 5-10 white chips on the hood, and my front bumper's clear coat has about 50 holes in it.I know cars get marked up, but this is just unacceptable for a car that isn't even a year old. I will have to get it repainted when it starts to look worse and get a quality job to avoid this problem in the future."
32 people out of 52 found this review helpful