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 golfguy on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,100overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I like this car due to its sharp looks,gets good gas mileage. Handles well. It's a little slow on the start but it is a small 2.0 4 cyl. Only complaint is my golf bag will not fit across trunk(I drop the back seat down and angle it in). Plus I wish I were sitting higher. Great visibility with back up camera."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Irishwhiski71 on Friday, February 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great pick up, good mileage, roomy and fun"
Cons: "Lots of road noise at highway........."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great pick up, good gas mileage, fun to drive, lots of interior room my 6 ft son has no problem sitting in back seat. Great warranty. Not the best in the snow, but if you take it easy it is fine, or use studded tires. Have done well in Maine winter."
By alicia on Friday, February 20, 2015
I don't own this caroverall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "roomy and modern interior, sleek exterior"
Cons: "accelerator kicks back, to low to the ground"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I am driving a 2015 Elantra as a rental car for now, the actual car i own that's in the shop is a 2008 Mazda 3, my mom actually owns a 2014 Elantra and loves it, but my first impressions of driving the 2015 Elantra was just blah, i am not a huge fan of how low the driver seat sits which is not a huge deal but the one thing that does worry me is how the Elantra kicks back when you are accelerating, for example trying to merge onto the highway. the interior is pretty roomy which is a plus and its modern looking as well. the price for a new 2015 in Canada just seems to be a little over priced for what you get with an Elantra. it's definitely a personal preference for everyone as any car is. overall i'd rather drive my 2008 Mazda over this 2015 Elantra any day !"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Stick on Saturday, February 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Road noise really bad & fuel milage not near as good as advertised, Still a Good value for all the equipment on it."
25 people out of 46 found this review helpful
By ohleah105 on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "good price, great looks, and comfortable"
Cons: "no light in truck and horrible in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"We love this car.. the comfort, ride, reliability etc all very good but it is not a good car in the snow... it's very scary driving when the roads are slick...This is the only reason we're trading it in...I'm not planning on moving down south and I need a car that I'm not scared to drive in the winter..."
10 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Eedie on Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is very agile driving and quick exhilaration. 38.2 mpg on the hwy easy to park in small parking spots"
13 people out of 26 found this review helpful