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2012 Scion tC

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2012 Scion tC Review

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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 81 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

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

Scion has once again made a solid sporty car!

By on Monday, December 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "affordable, sporty, plenty of cargo space"

Cons: "interior fabric is cheap"

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

"After having owned previous "sport like" cars, I have noticed that the scion tc has been going in the correct direction. Yes the car is not meant to compete with other turbo 4 cylinder cars. Remember that the scion tc is not leaned toward being fast as it priority. Scion Tc has a balance of great sporty look, and a nice comfortable smooth ride. It does have a 2.5 liter engine from toyota which if you need a nice looking car to get to and from places in the city, this cars engine is more than enough. The torque is there just have it rev and the engine responds especially in the highway. Scion did not focus on the interior cloth, one can tell that its mostly cheap material but the stock car audio system will confirm that the money spent on the car is well worth it. The car steering feels good alongside with decent handling coming from MacPherson strut suspension setup. Toyota could have upgraded the suspension to double wish bone for better stability coming that the car is heavy than average for a 4 cylinder motor. The cars automatic transmission is not the best if not warmed up. The car does require you to start and warm up the engine and transmission in order for it to adequately work. The scion tc does have plenty of cargo space when compared to other 2 door sporty cars."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good price, love the sporty look"

Cons: "Wish it was a little better on gas"

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

"Used to have a Chevy Cruze. I've never hated a car so much in my life. It left me stranded 3 times and what kind of new car already needs a water pump? I've always liked the design of the tC. Bought my tC in March of 2014. With regular maintenance (oil changes, rotating tires) i haven't had any problems. Perfect for work and school. I love driving my car. Handles turns really well too."

Great blend of fun and practicality

By on Sunday, October 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, unique sporty look, roomy and fun"

Cons: "Interior could be more luxurious"

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

"Let's keep things in perspective, this is a very well priced sports coupe that looks amazing and delivers enough driving fun. The back seat leg room is outstanding and the lift back hatch door not only looks cool but makes the car very capable of carrying large items. The aceleration and power are good enough for most average drivers who are just looking for a little extra driving fun. The TC is definitely more fun and capable than a base Civic or Corolla which would cost you about the same. I have seem 0-60 test videos where the TC has destroyed the FRS so it is definitely fast in a straight line thanks to high engine torque. Driving dynamics are not bad but they can be improved with better tires and a TRD front strut brace. I have to admit one thing Toyota has to improve is the TC's interior quality but given the other extras such as panoramic sun roof and 18 inch alloy wheels I can understand why they went cheap on the interior materials. Nevertheless it does not look terrible inside it just could be a little more luxurious. All in all I believe the TC to be good value, enough driving fun and most importantly very practical."

20 people out of 34 found this review helpful

Never Buy Another Scion

By on Friday, October 09, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Cheap, Problems, Rattles, Noises, Bad Fuel Economy, Low Resale Value

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Looks cool like it stated too cute"

Cons: "whole car need to be redesigned"

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

"Horrible fit and finish, Mold smell from a/c, whole car rattles, squeaks, noises from everywhere, it's a over priced TOY CAR, very bad in resale value, take my lost and move on to different brand."

7 people out of 16 found this review helpful

I love this car!

By on Thursday, September 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Style, Roomy, Price, Fun to Drive"

Cons: "None!"

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

"I bought my car in December of 2014. I had test drove older model TC's but none were what I was really wanting. The day I test drove my 2015 TC, I drove it throught the parking lot and was sold. It handles SO well. It also feels very well grounded with water on the roads which is a huge plus for me. The seats are very comfortable in the car and the backseat is insanely spacious. My mother-in-law who is 6'1 easily fit back there with plenty of knee room. The dual sun/moon roof is my favorite feature about the car. The exhaust sounds somewhat aftermarket which I love, gives it some sound but isn't overly loud. The wheels also look aftermarket (another huge plus). I think the interior is perfect, it has a touchscreen radio, wrapped leather steering wheel and shifter. There is also a USB port to plug your phone charger in plus a cigarette lighter port for a GPS etc. This car has it all."

12 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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."

14 people out of 29 found this review helpful

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