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2012 Hyundai Elantra

Overview
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2012 Hyundai Elantra Review

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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.

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 350 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Loving my new-used Elantra!!!

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,646

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Gas Saver & Luxury Looking!"

Cons: "Mine didn't come with a remote/keyless entry."

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

"I couldn't be happier with the overall sporty style and MPG! This is the car for you if you like a compact, gas saver with a luxury feel! Without the Hyundai emblems, one look & you'd swear it's a BMW or a Lexus. I recommend this vehicle to anyone who's looking for a reliable, inexpensive yet classy car."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Wish I could give it back.

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Ok to drive, handles fairly well."

Cons: "Uncomfortable seats."

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

"Driver's seat is extremely uncomfortable on anything longer than an hour drive. I've tried maneuvering the seat with the power settings but no luck. Causes so much pain that if I have to take a long drive I'll rent a car."

Awesome Ride

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "So comfortable to drive & stress free driving"

Cons: "No black rims"

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

"This is the most awesome car. I actually love driving it everywhere. It is sleek and sharp, has beautiful leather interior, sun roof that opens all the way and just pops up to allow for air to come in. Everything works great and has extremely dark tented windows."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Really great car

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great price, smooth ride, really nice features"

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

"Since I began driving, I have owned seven cars, four of which have been hyundais. I really like the way Hyundai works and they have great warranties for their cars (even the basic warranty) which makes a purchase totally worth it.My first three were all accents -- a 2010 sedan, 2012 hatchback, and a 2014 sedan. I have drove all of my hyundais right off the showroom floor and this one is by far my favorite. Because the 2016 version just came out, I was able to get this one for an absolute steal. I looked at the brand new ones right off the truck that morning and in all honesty, the higher-end limited that I bought was really similar to the 2016 standard+ version. Features I like: Heated seats; 8 cup holders; back-up cam; button to open the trunk on the fab; easy-sync for phone / ipod; usb and aux hook-up; ample room for passengers; safety ratings are very high for a car this size; leather interior; easy to keep clean; sits higher than the Accent; gas mileage; overall look and feel of the car. Things to look out for: My husband is 6'3 and fits in the front and back fine, but he is still kind of close to the roof when he sits up straight; one of the other models offers cloth-like seats that look a little less stylish than the leather; standard is much different than the limited version -- many of the features aren't included in standard; my screen is much smaller than the one shown and does not include maps -- only back-up cam and radio features. (see interior picture uploaded with this post)"

22 people out of 40 found this review helpful

Great gas mileage. Love my car!!!

By on Thursday, July 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Love to drive and easy to park."

Cons: "sits low for my wife. I do not mind the low feelin"

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

"I would highly recommend this car. the gas mileage is even better than advertised. I have had 42 on trips."

14 people out of 28 found this review helpful

OK for the price

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,200

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Decent price-Exterior styling"

Cons: "gas mileage-road noise"

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

"If you expect to get the 27 city and 37 highway mileage that this car is rated, then I recommend you don't buy it.I get 28 combined, and that's with about 85-90 percent of my driving on the highway. I drive the speed limit. The car gives a smooth ride on the highway, but road noise is excessive. Overall it is a decent value for the money."

3 people out of 4 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?