By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
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)
A base 2012 Hyundai Elantra has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $17,000, but opting for the automatic transmission adds about $1,000. The higher Limited trim level starts around $21,000 and tops just under $24,000 when fully loaded. The 2012 Hyundai Elantra sedan typically costs about $1,000 less than similar editions of the Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. For wagon fans, the Elantra Touring starts just under $17,000 and jumps to around $20,000 for the higher SE trim level. Before making your purchase, you'll want to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Elantras. As for resale value, we expect the 2012 Hyundai Elantra to hold its value exceedingly well over a 5-year period, better than the Nissan Sentra and Ford Focus.
By cindy (CA) on Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, features, warranty"
Cons: "MPG, handling, acceleration"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I sold a genesis and bought this thinking I would give up speed and handling for gas mileage. nope even in eco mode, 25 mpg - doesn't even hit 30 on highway. found out there is a reimbursement program because they falsely represented estimated mpg. integrity seems to be good, air works good, stereo reception on fm terrible, trunk has to be slammed to shut, navigation up to date but takes me miles out of my way. I have owned at least 25 cars, this is just mediocre at best."
By kt (CA) on Monday, May 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "navigation system, heated seats, back up camera."
Cons: "gas mileage claims totally bogus."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"The car is comfortable with all the bells and whistles for an inexpensive car. BUT, I have NEVER gotten over 32 MPG. They claim 40 HW, but I drive a straight, flat highway all the time and have NEVER come close! Very disappointed in this claim."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Ken (CA) on Monday, April 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great interior + exterior, cheap, looks good"
Cons: "harder to switch lanes due to pillars, bad mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 3rd car and my 1st new car. I never thought i would get a Hyundai considering it's the definition of cheap but i couldnt believe what i saw. They have improved in looks drastically over recent years and i decided to give it a shot. I got the 2013 elantra sedan limited with no tech package. I am very satisfied with this car so far but im getting really bad mileage. I know its how you drive but still... i average 20 mpg city with active eco off. I chose the car because of how it looks anyways, not gas mileage. I managed to get it out of the door for 21 grand flat, and it came with floor mats, cargo met, etc. I would definitely recommend this to students like myself who still go to school. Upgrades done: pioneer 8500bh head unit, dual 12s subwoofers, kenwood amp, 6.5 polk component speakers, and backup sensors"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Roger (IL) on Friday, April 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, comfort, features, handling"
Cons: "poor MPG lower than advertised, back seat design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"It's a great car to own with minor exceptions. I purchased a Limited version new. Mechanically I have had no problems after about 1.5 years and 17,000 miles. Some things on the dash could be a bit more logically placed. With the habit of using cigarette lighter holes to charge cell phones and such, there should be at least 1 that stays powered when the car is off. It would be nice to have a headphone jack to listen to the stereo when the driver needs to consentrate and not be disturbed. It would be nice to be able to play a video or DVD on the sound system display (hijack it so to speak). My biggest criticism is the gas milage. It's no where near what was in all the advertising which was a prime reason to look at this car in the first place. Had I know this before I purchased, I'd have probably purchased something else. The company has addressed the issue with a credit, so to speak, but it's not nearly compensating the differences. What MPG number is on dash is not the same as the real calculated amount I get for milage. The dash display averages about 1.5 MPG above what I actually get. My work commute is about 10 miles per day round trip normal city traffic with stop lights. On the weekend I do much more city driving and some country driving. My real average is anywhere from 20 MPG to 26 MPG. Highway on cruise control has been 30-35 MPG. That is a substancial percentage lower than then advertised milage of 29 city and 40 highway MPG. The have been some exceptions but not so often that I can determine what was different. The back seat could have been designed a bit better for access and use. To lower the backseat you have to unlatch clips above th seat then open the trunk and pull a knob. The back seat seatback does not lay flat to the seat bottom. It lays at an odd angle making it virtually impossible to lay anything longer than about 3 feetinto the seating area. I carry a dog with me sometimes and she does not like to stand on the seatback. If you drive with the seatbacks down and open a window in the vehicle there is a disturbing sound that comes from the back seat/trunk and the air moves around. Overal I like the car, but...."
14 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Ann (TX) on Sunday, April 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is just a good sturdy car. The price cant be beat. It is used as my family car with two toddlers."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Andrew (OH) on Tuesday, April 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, price, handling"
Cons: "Engine noise, less than expected fuel mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Traded in an aging 2003 Honda Accord for a 2013 Elantra GLS and loving it so far. The quality of the vehicle has exceeded my expectations in nearly every way. The car is a tad underpowered, but this is a compromise to get the fuel economy it achieves. I spent a good bit of time driving my father's 2005 Elantra and this vehicle is better in every way imaginable. Quite a bit of rear seat room for a compact car. The interior and exterior design of this vehicle is just beautiful in my opinion, great lines. The only real negatives I can say about the car is that the engine and front brakes were a bit noisy at first, but this has resolved itself as the car gets some more miles on it, maybe it is a needing to "break in" thing. Oh and the lack of a spare tire is pretty lame, having a real spare should be a given for ANY vehicle. The compressor and tire goo only works for small punctures not a severely damaged tire."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful