Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • 10 Most Affordable Cars of 2014
  • The 40 MPG Cars of 2014
  • Class of 2015: New Vehicles Ready to Roll
Go

2012 Scion tC

Overview
Share this page
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

Buying this car?

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

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

Buying this car?

2012 Scion tC Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 63 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

The best vehicle for the price.

By on Thursday, September 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,600

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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."

8 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Good performance, good looks

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

28 people out of 42 found this review helpful

Good performance, good looks

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Good performance, good looks

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

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."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

No Complaints!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: End of Lease

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I just traded in my 2011 Scion tC back to the dealership due to my lease ending, and my need to go from a 2-door to a 4-door. If I was still able to keep a 2-door car, I would have bought this car once my lease ended. I had it for 3 years, and I cannot think of a complaint about it. It is fun to drive, had no mechanical issues at all, and was a pleasure to lease. The exterior design is a great upgrade from 2010, especially the 18" wheels. The interior is more spacious than you would originally think too. Plenty of leg room in the front and back seats, and a good amount of cargo space with the seats folded down (fit a +6' Christmas tree multiple years). The USB/iPod connectivity is great (although more common in other vehicles now in 2014), and the Pioneer sound system is excellent. The fuel mileage is as advertised. I got down around 23/24 mpg city in the snow with winter tires on, and as high as 35 mpg on a day trip going mostly highway. The seats are comfortable; not the most comfortable but definitely above average. The interior material seemed a little on the cheap side and the MSRP seemed like it could of been a little cheaper in 2011, but those are the only negatives I can think of. It was overall fun to drive and an extremely reliable car over the 3 years I leased it."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

No Complaints!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: End of Lease

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I just traded in my 2011 Scion tC back to the dealership due to my lease ending, and my need to go from a 2-door to a 4-door. If I was still able to keep a 2-door car, I would have bought this car once my lease ended. I had it for 3 years, and I cannot think of a complaint about it. It is fun to drive, had no mechanical issues at all, and was a pleasure to lease. The exterior design is a great upgrade from 2010, especially the 18" wheels. The interior is more spacious than you would originally think too. Plenty of leg room in the front and back seats, and a good amount of cargo space with the seats folded down (fit a +6' Christmas tree multiple years). The USB/iPod connectivity is great (although more common in other vehicles now in 2014), and the Pioneer sound system is excellent. The fuel mileage is as advertised. I got down around 23/24 mpg city in the snow with winter tires on, and as high as 35 mpg on a day trip going mostly highway. The seats are comfortable; not the most comfortable but definitely above average. The interior material seemed a little on the cheap side and the MSRP seemed like it could of been a little cheaper in 2011, but those are the only negatives I can think of. It was overall fun to drive and an extremely reliable car over the 3 years I leased it."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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

Buying this car?