2012 Scion tC Review
2012 Scion tC Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Comfortable ride
- snappy performance
- roomy, reclining rear seat
- smart iPod interface
- easy purchase experience
- excellent crash scores.
- Droning engine and exhaust note with automatic transmission
- cheap interior materials
- mediocre fuel economy
- not as sporty as it looks.
For 2012, the Scion tC gets an upgraded base audio system, which features Bluetooth audio streaming and HD radio capability. The limited-edition Release Series 7.0 also debuts, sporting flashy yellow paint, a body kit and keyless ignition/entry.
The 2012 Scion tC is a good choice among compact coupes thanks to its roomy interior and generous cargo capacity. Just don't expect its driving dynamics to match its sporty looks.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.23 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Compact Car
Recovering former glory is an elusive feat. Just ask Christina Aguilera or the 2012 Scion tC. In case of the former, we'll leave it up to the folks at TMZ to tell you why. In the case of the latter, a cautious redesign and some worthy new rivals haven't done the tC many favors.
During the mid-2000s, the tC was one of the most popular affordable coupes on the road. Yet like most things that are attractive to young shoppers, the tC's popularity waned over time. The second-generation tC, introduced last year, is intended to recapture some of the model's former fame. Indeed, there is a lot to like here with the latest tC, including an attractive value proposition, hatchback versatility and snappy performance. The tC also takes into account the younger generation's affinity for electronics with a standard audio system designed specifically for an iPod.
Although the tC has a number of overtly sporty touches (such as a beefy flat-bottomed steering wheel and well-bolstered seats), it's more show than go. Even the new Release Series 7.0, with its aggressively styled body kit, is no hard-edged sports machine. That said, the 2012 Scion tC's combination of broad power delivery, pleasant driving dynamics and supple ride will likely appeal to a broader spectrum of drivers than would something with a peaky engine and stiff underpinnings.
Then there's its styling, which was a big reason for the tC's early popularity. We wonder if the 2012 model is fresh and exciting enough to be considered cool. We'll let you decide, but the fact remains that the 2012 Scion tC still has plenty of appeal. We would still suggest checking out some other competitors, including the Honda Civic coupe and Kia Forte Koup. The all-new Hyundai Veloster is also worth serious consideration given its innovative three-door design and superior feature content, but the practical yet enjoyable 2012 Scion tC has plenty to recommend it, despite its existence out of the spotlight.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Scion tC is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine good for 180 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.
In performance testing, a tC with a manual transmission went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, while a tC with an automatic did it in 8 flat; both are quick for the compact coupe and hatchback class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined regardless of transmission. These are respectable numbers, but most other competing models are notably more fuel-efficient.
The 2012 Scion tC comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front knee airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front headrests. In Edmunds.com brake testing, the tC came to a stop from 60 mph in a respectable 123 feet.
In government crash testing, the tC received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the tC earned the highest score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
The 2012 Scion tC can best be described as "urban agile," meaning a car that's responsive and involving enough to keep you entertained when comfortably commuting around town, but not so sporty that you'd relish driving it on a back road somewhere. The steering doesn't provide much feel, and the stability control has a tendency to kick in frequently during aggressive driving. The Scion tC won't put you to sleep, but you will have more fun in other coupes.
Meanwhile, the 180-hp four-cylinder engine provides good power for the class, especially down low in the rev range. If you're game for shifting your own gears, the six-speed manual is the best choice, as the engine accelerates significantly quicker and doesn't seem to suffer from the rather agricultural droning that plagues it when the automatic transmission is in place.
Though the tC isn't especially sporty to drive, the interior does its best to indicate otherwise. The rim of the flat-bottomed steering wheel is incredibly thick, as if pulled from a racecar. The controls are canted toward the driver and the very comfortable front seats are nicely bolstered. These aspects of the interior might be a bit contrived, but they work well. Unfortunately, the interior is filled with hard, flimsy plastics that seem cheaper than those found in the cabins of the competition. In particular, the center armrest is rock hard.
Yet the tC does have notable advantages. Cargo space is one, as the tC's hatchback design and folding rear seat create a relatively cavernous cargo area that puts other compact coupes to shame. The rear seats also recline and feature impressive legroom, meaning even 6-footers can sit back there. Front seat room is also generous.
Scion identifies the stereo as a key attribute for young drivers, and as such, the tC gets a standard head unit that would easily be an upgrade (or not available at all) in its rivals. Its iPod interface is especially impressive, as a large knob mimics the iPod's ring wheel, allowing the user to control volume and explore the various menu items displayed on the sizable screen. An upgraded head unit with an even larger screen and navigation capability is also available.
2012 Scion tC models
The 2012 Scion tC is a compact, five-passenger hatchback coupe available in two trim levels: base and Release Series 7.0.
The base tC comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a panoramic sunroof, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, reclining and folding 60/40-split rear seats, driver track and seatback angle memory (for rear seat access), and an eight-speaker Pioneer sound system with CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB interface and RCA output jacks. Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity is also standard this year.
The Release Series 7.0, of which only 2,200 will be made, comes exclusively in "High Voltage" yellow and adds a lower body kit, black 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry and yellow-accented black upholstery.
Aside from an automatic transmission, there are no factory options. However, there are a number of dealer-installed items, including a navigation system, satellite radio, upgraded audio, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, seven-color interior mood lighting, remote ignition, a cargo cover, foglights and a rear spoiler.
Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Scion tC.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.75 out of 5 stars
Great for the money!
2012 Scion tC Release Series 7.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Bought this car for it's reliability and good looks, and it delivers all that I wanted and then some. Keyless entry/ignition is awesome and the shiftable 6-speed automatic livens things up. Great ipod integration and a decent sound system.
5 out of 5 stars
SCION tC x3 @ 56yrs old
SCION tC x3, 10/25/2010
2011 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
I've had a 2005, a 2007 and now a 2011, Magnetic Gray Metallic. The 2nd gen is RADICALLY different from the 1st! Some things std on 1st gen are gone replaced by others. The std 18" wheels are STUNNING! The new seats and fabric are AWESOME! 6 spd transmission (mine's auto) with std on/off trac control, 'conventional' dash design but TASTEFULLY done with a thicker flat bottom steering … wheel. The optional rear spoiler is an awesome MUST have, it finishes the more aggressive looking car PERFECTLY! Mileage so far has been better than the ratings and I DON'T drive like your Grandma.
3.13 out of 5 stars
Its a "Sport-ish" Car
2011 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
I bought this car used after a leasee returned it to the dealer. My initial impressions of the car were favorable. The seats are supportive and the 6spd is smooth. This achieves exactly what I think Toyota set out to achieve with this car being a "my first sports car" type car. After putting some long highway miles on it there are a number of things that started to creep up on me that … wouldn't have been apparent to me in the test drive. The first is the quality of the interior build. The bass from the radio rattles the panels around the window control buttons. I'm not sure I'b a big fan of the vinyl sunroof cover either. The exhaust note may or may not be your thing during a long drive.
4.38 out of 5 stars
Excellent quality, price, & fun to drive
2011 Scion tC 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
I purchased this 2011 w/6 manual in magnetic gray with rear spoiler (spoiler made the purchase point for me). After looking at a 2010 & 2011, the interior blew me away for quality, and style for the new 11 vs the 10. The new engine and drive train and hands down better than the 10. Driving the 10' seemed to be like a driving a turd. And the while the 11' is most certainly full of … power, it still isn't a SPORTS car. The improved width made comfort hands down top notch, and while I'm 6'1" and a huge dude, i feel comfortable in the back seat, something rare for a two door. The 6 speed manual is smooth, and the gears fall into place naturally, without fumbling.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2012 Scion tC, so we've included reviews for other years of the tC since its last redesign.
Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 23 City / 31 Hwy / 26 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 180 hp @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque: 173 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 3 yr./ 36,000 mi.
- Length: 174.0 in. / Height: 55.7 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 70.7 in.
- Curb Weight: 3,060 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 14.7 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.9%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2012 Scion tC
Used 2012 Scion tC Overview
The Used 2012 Scion tC is offered in the following submodels: tC Hatchback. Available styles include 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A), 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M), Release Series 7.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6A), and Release Series 7.0 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M). Pre-owned Scion tC models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 180 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2012 Scion tC comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 6-speed manual.
What's a good price on a Used 2012 Scion tC?
Price comparisons for Used 2012 Scion tC trim styles:
- The Used 2012 Scion tC Base is priced between $7,990 and$16,990 with odometer readings between 35362 and141790 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2012 Scion tCS are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Scion tC for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2012 tCS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,990 and mileage as low as 35362 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Scion tC.
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 Scion tC?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
Check out Scion lease specials
Check out Scion tC lease specials
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