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 Funnychik on Monday, December 08, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Pros: "Great handling, awesome body style, cool dash"
Cons: "Gas mileage, weak stereo, expensive warranty"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I owned a brand new 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe but had to sell it due to financial issues. Drove it for almost 2 years and I absolutely LOVED this car! It handled so nicely, the car was well equipped and comfortable, paint was beautiful, and the trunk was crazy roomy with a large opening to fit big boxes and furniture into! My only complaints: gas mileage I got was way low to what was indicated on the sticker price and by the dealer. It was supposed to get up to 37 highway. I worked 52 highway miles from home and I never got better than 29mpg. Very disappointing. Also, the stereo was on the cheap side, volume wouldn't go up beyond what I call a "loud for an old woman" level. I wasn't seeking a booming system but I would have liked to crank up my fave tunes and actually feel like they were cranked! Lastly, Hyundai offers a 10 yr, 100K warranty but the things they require you to replace and maintain at OWNER expense was kind of ridiculous. For example, they have an air cabin filter in the vehicle the requires changing at 12K miles. Why? I don't smoke. I don't manufacture pollution inside the vehicle. But I had to replace it to maintain the warranty. Kinda crazy. And you have to BUY your own spare tire for the vehicle and it's not even a full size spare! $300! But .... I loved the car. I am actually in better financial shape now and I am on my way to look at another Elantra Coupe, this one used. (Hyundai stupidly discontinued the Coupe after just 2 years.) SO all in all, I would recommend the car, but expect some things you might be disappointed in!"
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Rocky10 on Sunday, December 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Cons: "Too many to list here. Pay a little more and get s"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Fit and finish CHEAP. Its like trying to drive an ice skate, in the Winter. Noisy, poor ride, handling is awful"
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By disappointed on Friday, November 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Cons: "no rear windshield wipers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Horrible paint job, scratches with ease, Interior feels like cheap plastic. Only had this car for 8 months. Feels like it is ready to fall apart. Will never buy a Hyundai again.."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By gofaster24 on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Upgraded from an Accent hatchback and it was a great decision. Handles well and the ride is comfortable. Have not taken a long trip in it, so not sure how the comfort would be in that regard. Gets better than expected gas mileage and even better (at least 5 mpg) if you can find and use ethanol free gas. Plus, keeps the engine cleaner. Great car for the price. If you are thinking about getting one...get it."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By priceball on Friday, November 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Wife made trip to Illinois & back--1300 + miles..epa says 33mpg (GT model). Computer spat out 37.2mpg..... going by plain jane math--mileage divided by gallons..& I'm stil shaking my head over it..41.7 per gallon. Would think 1300 miles would be a good measuring stick! Not sure what to think--she usually drives 72-73 in 70 zones...car terrific so far.Heated seats plus..only 2 small details bother me-one..view out back-being hatch a bit more of a blind spot & secondly..can't just go thru satellite presets-have to run thru am & fm too- a small pain! Otherwise all good!"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Marcmu on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "body style and inside conveniences"
Cons: "No spare tire, poor bluetooth, lights burn out"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"To my family's dismay, I purchase a my Elentra with just looking at it. Its appearance is sleek and stylish. However, the goodness stops there. With a promise of "free towing" if you have a flat tire, the fine print was that they tow you to a dealership (only) and if it's after-hours, too bad… it's up to you to get a taxi to a car rental and you have to rent a car, get a hotel, etc. until the dealership opens to fix your tire. Then the rear lights have already burned out, before one year. Then the blue tooth drops EVERY call after 20 minutes. Finally, the gas mileage is NO WHERE near what is posted. I average about 23 mpg. Learn the lesson from me and don't be awe-struck with the looks.. it's the fine print that will have you paying in the long run. Compare with a more reliable Honda Civic."
5 people out of 14 found this review helpful