By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra continues to offer the consumer a tremendous value, combining elegant good looks, a long list of standard equipment and an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. At up to 38 mpg/highway for both automatic and manual transmision models, the Elantra sedan can help you go farther between fill-ups. The Hyundai Elantra Touring wagon, however, is carried over from the 2011 model year – looks and all – but continues to offer roomy versatility in addition to value.
If your price range says economy car, but your taste says sleek and stylish, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra may very well be the answer to your dilemma. Looking somewhat like a miniaturized Hyundai Sonata, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan definitely outclasses just about everything in its segment, yet its low price, feature-laden standard-equipment list and large interior defy the compact-car image.
If you're looking for a small car that is more sporty than smooth, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra may not be the best choice. A Mazda3 and Ford Focus may deliver superior driving experiences, but neither can match the Hyundai Elantra's impressive equipment list or lengthy warranty.
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra compact sedan gains Hyundai's ActiveECO system that modifies engine and transmission controls for maximum fuel economy and smoothness. All Elantra models get recalibrated steering systems for better on-center feel, while cars equipped with the GLS Preferred Package gain fog lights and a passenger-side sun-visor extension, as well as a rear cargo cover and premium cloth interior on Elantra Touring models.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan and wagon may not have the responsive handling characteristics found with the Mazda3 or Ford Focus, but they are still a fun and engaging pair....There is enough feedback through the steering wheel to allow for confident twisting-road romps, and the suspension manages to keep the car fairly flat while soaking up road imperfections. The new steering calibration delivers better on-center feel, which helps for going straight down the road, as well as added feedback for more accuracy when turning into corners. The Elantra sedan's 6-speed automatic transmission shifts as smoothly and accurately as any we've tested. The sedan's 6-speed manual transmission shifts smoothly and easily and would make a solid choice if you wanted to save the added premium that the automatic adds to the bottom line. For 2012, the Elantra Touring wagon soldiers on with its 138-horsepower 4-cylinder, and the choice of a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
HEATED REAR SEATS
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited sedan's standard heated rear seats are a feature you won't find on any other car in this segment. In fact, you won't even find them in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan.
It's true that, with the onslaught of smartphones, having a navigation system in your car is less of a priority, but Hyundai integrates the 7-inch screen so well into the Elantra sedan's instrument panel (and includes a rearview camera) that we would spend the extra money to get the optional package.
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra's interior is beautifully styled, but suffers from somewhat low-end plastics on the doors and switches. The instrument cluster and center console's elegant design have the look and feel of a much more expensive sedan, with user-friendly controls backlit by attractive blue lights. The Elantra's cabin is impressively roomy, particularly the sedan which has more total interior volume than a Volkswagen CC or Nissan Maxima. However, the volume story doesn't extend in all directions and, due to the sedan's sharply-raked rear window and C-pillars, taller rear-seat passengers may find themselves wanting more headroom. Trunk space is larger than with most competitors and 60/40 split-folding rear seats make it easy to transport bulky items. And for even bulkier items, the Elantra Touring is up to the task as it offers 65.3 cubic feet of cargo volume with rear seats folded down.Exterior
The Elantra sedan delivers the 2012 Hyundai Elantra fashion statement, awash in flowing, fluid lines, deeply-sculptured wheel arches and side body panels, and an aggressive grille and headlamp treatment. The base trim gets 15-inch steel wheels, but 16-inch alloys are available. If you have the extra cash, go for the upgrade. The 16-inch wheels not only improve the Elantra's appearance, they also help enhance its handling. The Elantra Limited sedan features stylish 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as body-color side mirrors with integrated turn signals, front fog lights and a power glass sunroof. For those looking for a more subdued look, the Elantra Touring blends simplicity with elegance and features 16-inch alloys when the GLS Preferred Package box is checked.
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS sedan comes with the essentials and more, including cruise control, air conditioning, power accessories, tilt steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with Satellite radio and USB/auxiliary input jacks. All 2012 Hyundai Elantras include an impressive array of standard safety equipment, including six airbags, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and a remote keyless entry anti-theft system with panic button.
Opting for the up-level, sedan-only Limited trim adds a 6-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, and leather seats. The GLS offers a Preferred Equipment Package, which adds Bluetooth, fog lights, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, 8-way power driver's seat, a retractable cargo cover (Touring model only), and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Limited sedan can also be equipped with the Technology Package, which features remote push-button start, 360-watt premium audio, touch-screen navigation, a rearview camera, and automatic headlights.
The only engine offered in the 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that produces 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque. It can be matched with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic for those drivers who want to shift their own gears on occasion. The sedan's 4-cylinder engine is also available as a PZEV (partial zero-emissions vehicle) variant. Although it has slightly less horsepower (145 vs. 148), the Elantra's PZEV engine is as clean-burning as some hybrid vehicles. The Elantra Touring retains the powertrain from yesteryear, consisting of a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder that is mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
148 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
131 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/38 mpg
138 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
136 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (Manual), 23/30 mpg (Automatic)
By jerry on Saturday, March 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,100overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great overall value for the $."
Cons: "mileage less than hoped. frnt seats uncomfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Traded my much-loved '10 Elantra Touring for this '13 GT cuz the overall deal was too good to pass up. I'm still happy with the new car, but... The EPA #s are over-enthusiastic (perhaps due to how I drive w/ the 6-speed manual trans), but still 4-6 mpg better than those with the '10 Touring (5-speed manual). BTW... I can only imagine what the mpg #s are for the '14 model with the 2.0L motor + manual trans! Both my wife and I are 200+ pounders and the front seats seem to have "collapsed" (ok, so we'll lose some weight). I DO miss all of the glass and outstanding visibility the '10 Touring provided, and which is missing in this '13 GT. The 17" wheels and low profile tires look nice but the tradeoff is a rougher ride. So I have a few complaints - mileage is good, but less than advertised/hoped for; front seats are uncomfortable; all-around visibility suffers in comparison to my '10 Touring model; the ride is a bit "aggressive". But on average I'm still happy with the car. It's "fun" to drive (although I didn't buy a car to "have fun"). It's a "Hyundai", which for me translates into value for the $, quality and reliability. I LOVE the fold-down rear seats (I use the back of the car as a "cargo hauler" a LOT!). The A/C and heating work well for me. I've added 16" wheels and snow tires on all 4 corners for winter driving, and the car performs well in this mode. The interior gizmos (e.g. Sat radio, bluetooth, Bluelink, etc) add some value, but, again, I bought a "car" and not an advanced home entertainment system. All in all... I'll keep it! But I certainly would jump at the chance to buy an "I30" bodied, 160 hp, (true) 40 mpg, AWD, diesel powered Hyundai if one ever became available... but that almost sounds like the little Audi. Oh well."
By Michael C. on Friday, March 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,715overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car, and it is my very first "foreign" badged car. I have been a "Chevy Man" for a long long time, yet when I needed to trade in my 2005 Chevy Malibu Classic, I decided to give this car a try. And oh boy was I impressed! What a car! Let me say that again: WHAT A CAR! Fun to drive. Comfortable. And great looks! Interior design is fantastic, though there are a few "cheap" plastic areas, but all cars of this price range have that. Those areas don't deter from the over-all quality of the car at all. I test drove the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, and Dodge Dart. The Cruze was a bit more comfortable, but not by much and not enough to sway me. The Focus and Dart were both rather smallish feeling in comparison. I also test drove the Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion, and Chrysler 200, and though all were out of my price range, they didn't feel THAT much better than the Elantra considering the price difference. All-in-all, I must say, Hyundai has themselves a very good car here, and if you are looking for something that sips gas, drives great, looks fantastic and is very comfortable along with the feeling of solid safety, the Hyundai Elantra is a great choice!"
By stayloose on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Hard to think of one??"
Cons: "Too many to list!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Engine has a tapping when cold even with synthetic oil!Front of car bounces [bad] left and right over any small bump in road.Feels out of control [bad]!!Lied to me about gas mileage,would not have bought the car."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By AL in Texas City on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, good value, good mpg, safe, comforta"
Cons: "there is no spare tire, only an air pump."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love my new Elantra. I got a great end of year deal and got 38mpg on the first tank of gas. The front driver and passenger areas are roomy and comfortable.I feel safe driving my grandchildren through Houston traffic. It has amazing handling and a very small turning ratio-I can turn and park in spaces that I wouldn't have tried in my old car. My 11 gallon tank has a 400+ mile range. I am looking forward to taking a trip this summer."
By rk on Friday, February 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Cons: "no spare tire"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"great car ... great milage ... but very disappointed there is no spare tire that comes with the car ..."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mr Bill on Friday, February 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality build, sporty, fun to drive !"
Cons: "Needs a bit more power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my 2013 in September, I had just test drove a new Civic so that experience was in my mind. Hyundai a few discounts and rebates so I got a $ 4000.00 off the sticker, making it a great value. I love the car, it is fun to drive, the hatchback is a real convenience, and it is sporty and stands out on the road. I put on an after market bra to protect the front of hood and that really gives it a special look. The engine does have to work a bit climbing upgrades and getting to 65 MPH, but I noticed that a larger 2.0 engine is now standard in the 2014 model. Lastly, the mileage is not close to 40 mpg, but when I keep my RPMs low and use mid grade gas I am getting 35 mpg on the hwy and 30 mpg around town. Over all, this is a quality car and fun to drive. If you are looking for a pocket rocket, there are many out there but you will pay twice what I paid for my Elantra GT"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful