2012 Scion tC Release Series
2012 Scion tC Release Series. Click image to enlarge
DBDR: 2011 Scion tC
Test Drive: 2011 Scion tCManufacturer’s web site
Scion Canada

Review and photos by Michael Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2012 Scion tC

The Scion tC was a time machine for me. The more I drove it, the more it took me back to all those nights spent at the local Tim Hortons in my early 20s. Yes, I was one of those people hanging out with friends from various car clubs talking about our rides, what modifications we had done to them, and what we planned to do in the future.

You see, the 2012 Scion tC is aimed directly at a teenager or young adult who is into the import car scene, but can’t afford to throw a lot of money at their car to make it custom. Scion has done its homework and checked off a lot of the boxes young adults want in a car. Coupe looks, hatchback practicality, kicking stereo, manual or automatic transmissions, peppy engine and, if inclined, modifiable.

2012 Scion tC Release Series
2012 Scion tC Release Series
2012 Scion tC Release Series
2012 Scion tC Release Series. Click image to enlarge

Taking things up a notch, Scion has added the Release Series 7.0 this year, which takes a normal tC and adds exclusive High Voltage Yellow exterior paint, the TRD body kit, unique 18-inch alloy wheels with a gloss black finish, colour-tuned seat fabric with accent stitching, yellow accent stitching on the steering wheel, smart key with push-button start that glows a cool green at night, and an individually numbered illuminated badge. Scion will only bring 175 Release Series tCs into Canada this year, so the exclusivity might also appeal to those who buy one.

The rear of the tC features a hatchback opening on a coupe body. This may be one of the best design executions offering decent cargo space, 417 L behind rear seats, while maintaining a proper coupe profile. This car gets a lot of attention on the road, but with that paint job, how could it not? A downside to the form-over-function coupe profile is that the doors are very large, heavy, and swing way out.

Inside, the front seats are very comfortable and offer great lateral support on both the top and bottom cushions; they lead to sporty feel that seems to be the theme of the tC. Although only rated at 160 watts, the stereo is one of the best I have ever heard thanks to its eight speakers, which include three per door to cover all three ranges: tweeter, mid-range, sub-woofer. The radio, as in most Scions, does not allow you to customize the equalizers at all but rather lets you pick between three presets: Hear, Feel, and Natural. At first I was not happy about these settings, but they grew on me the more I listened to USB audio; my pick was the bass-heavy Feel. The radio itself is not integrated into the dashboard and resides in a rectangle surround which makes swapping it out for an aftermarket unit easy.

Although the tC does feature a Bluetooth hands-free system with audio streaming, it is not built into the stereo, which means when playing music from your phone you are not using the stereo’s sound processer, but rather amplifying the signal from your phone directly into the speakers. This produces poor sound quality. I wager Scion has set things up this way so that if you do replace your stereo head unit, you retain the Bluetooth hands-free capabilities.

Connect with Autos.ca