2012 Scion tC Price, Review, Specs, what car reviews, The tC is Scion’s 2-door sport coupe, which debuted as a 2005 model, the third vehicle for the new Scion brand from Toyota. Geared toward the youth market, Scion aims to offer affordable vehicles that have generous standard equipment and that can be easily customized. The tC was the first vehicle developed exclusively and strategically for the Scion brand and also offers the most traditional styling of the three Scion models.
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.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
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.
Powertrains and Performance
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 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.
Interior Design and Special Features
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.
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.
2012 Scion tC Price :
MSRP range: $18,575 – $19,575
Invoice price range: $17,646 – $18,596
2012 Scion tC Specs :
Drivetrain : Front Wheel Drive
Curb Weight (lbs) : 3060
City (MPG) : 23
Hwy (MPG) : 31
Horsepower : 180@6000
Torque (lb-ft) : 173@4100
Wheelbase : 106.3
Length (in.) : 174.0
Width (in.) : 70.7
Height (in.) : 55.7