2012 Scion tC

  • 2012 Scion tC Base Hatchback

    Base Hatchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.5L I4
    • MSRP
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  • Review

2012 Scion tC Review

More convenience for updated coupe.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Available in one model, the 2012 Scion tC returns essentially unchanged after its all-new redesign last year. The new, more angular and beefy look is meant to be masculine and sporty, and appeal to younger buyers. Playing on that theme, emphasis has been placed on a premium stereo that pairs easily with an iPod. Scion's tC is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces a respectable 180 horsepower.

With a sporty look and competitive engine, the Scion tC promises more than it actually delivers. While the ride is competent, the fun factor is missing. The suspension is also tight and meant to be sporty, but the tradeoff is the coupe does little to absorb road imperfections. That said, for a sporty coupe the tC still offers a compliant ride and a fair amount of comfort. The manual transmission offers smooth shifts and acceleration is even a little faster. Starting at under $20,000, the tC is a fair value as well.

The Range

Bodystyle: Coupe
Engine: 2.5-liter inline-4
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Model: tC

What's New

For the 2011 model year, the faster, more fuel-efficient second-generation tC debuted with all-new styling. For 2012, the Release Series 7.0 makes its entry, there are new sound systems, and Bluetooth phone and streaming audio become standard.


The tC was redesigned for the last model year, and chief among goals was to create a more masculine look for the sporty offering. The new styling is more angular and chunkier than the outgoing model. Scion gave the two-door hatchback a dropped-off roofline to visually cue a coupe. Sporty accents include a chrome exhaust tip and standard 18-inch alloy wheels.


The Scion tC's interior is a tale of two cars. The front bucket seats are sporty and comfortable, and rear seating doesn't lack anything. The stereo gives the impression of a more premium vehicle, but cheap plastics and knobs diminish from the overall feel of the cabin. A fully telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls comes standard, as does power windows, doors, locks, an MP3 jack and USB port.

Performance & Handling

The Scion tC's 2.5-liter four-cylinder boasts a respectable 180 hp, and the tC isn't short on muscle. Steering is responsive, although the sport-tuned suspension makes for a tight, bumpy ride if you encounter less than smooth road conditions. Exhaust notes are deliberately noticeable but not offending. The 2.5-liter engine can be paired to a standard six-speed manual that provides easy shifts, or a six-speed automatic transmission. Though the tC provides a competent ride, missing is the extra fun factor.


The 2012 tC includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control as standard features. Seven airbags are standard for the tC, including front knee brakes, front side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags. Also standard are front head restraints.

EPA Fuel Economy

tC: 23 mpg city/ 31 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Attractive styling
  • Spacious cabin
  • Backseats

You Won't Like

  • Some cheap interior materials
  • Stiff ride quality

Sum Up

More convenience for updated coupe.

If You Like This Vehicle

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See the New 2016 tC.

Front & Driver Side View

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