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2012 Hyundai Elantra

Overview
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2012 Hyundai Elantra Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2012

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 the Elantra

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.
Favorite Features

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.

NAVIGATION PACKAGE
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.

2012 Hyundai Elantra Details
Interior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

1.8-liter inline-4
148 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
131 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/38 mpg

2.0-liter inline-4
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)

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2012 Hyundai Elantra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 238 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    7.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Reasonable

By on Thursday, April 17, 2014

I don't own this car

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great color, good value and quality"

Cons: "sound system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I've been a faith, happy owner of several Honda civics for many years. Recently, rented two 2013 Elantra cars through Enterprise. Surprised by the interior. Seemed well made, nice layout, all powered functions, and easy to use. The Elantra drives well, easy to steer around corners, good acceleration and handling. The only thing I have not liked is the sound system of the radio. When the rear windows are open, the sound is not audible and vibrates. Overall, car handles well and nice burnt orange colors, and drives well. I did not rent long enough to verify reliability though."

love the looks and price!

By on Saturday, April 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"doesn't drive like I hoped it would. little pick up always pushing on gas for a light weight car. love the style!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Don't trust EPA MPG

By on Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Car rode and drive fine for the first 12K miles. I have now been through 3 sets of tires(dealer or mechanics offer no explanation). The car has never gotten more than 30 MPG, and I have a 2 mile local/city drive to the Highway, where I drive 55-70 MPH 40+ miles per trip. Winter gas mileage is even worse at about 22 MPG, in the 10-30 degree range."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

2011 IIHS Top Safety Pick

By on Sunday, April 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great car dependable, safe and inexpensive to own"

Cons: "not my pick up"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Southern car has not seen winter. Wife's car no longer need. No need to have it sitting in garage have company vehicle."

Not as advertised

By on Saturday, April 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "quieter room cabin"

Cons: "gas mileage, acceleration, bad value"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"About 3 years ago, this model and year was advertised at 29 mpg city / 40 mpg highway. There was only one trip where the car actually obtained 42 mpg on the highway. A year or two later, Hyundai had to correct the actual mileage a driver gets to 27 city/ 38 highway. Even before this notice, the car wasn't as advertised. Many other drivers I would hear would run into similar ordeals with the mileage. After close to 38,000 on the car, the average is closer to 19 mpg city / 28 mpg highway. A dealership told me they have seen numerous models of this year and 28 mpg highway is the normal now. Also the bluetooth system won't sync with a phone anymore. Even though Hyundai has a fuel card to compensate for the lost mileage, it still isn't good enough. At the time I bought it, I did extensive research and even saw rave reviews from all the research sites that people are aware of. All in all, it's a great disappointment to owners and consumer research reviewers."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I can't stand driving this vehicle.

By on Monday, March 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "It looks good sitting in the driveway."

Cons: "Very uncomfortable, hard to drive."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"1) The vehicle won't drive straight down the road & the dealer can't fix it. The steering is way too sensitive. 2) There's a major blind spot in front especially by the right front pillar/mirror area. It's dangerous to drive because of this! 3) The car is really noisy. With a combination of lots of road noise and the over-revving 4 cylinder engine you have to almost shout to hear the other person in the car. 4) The seats are uncomfortable to the point that I cannot drive it more than an hour without a lot of back pain. There's also no electric option which it really could use."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?