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 Branden on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, tons of features, very comfortable"
Cons: "Rear suspension, lack of power."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I leased this vehicle in November of 2013. I had no intensions of doing so, but I happened to beat the dealership for my wife's 2010 Elantra. I test drove the GT just to pass the time and ended up loving it. I drove it home that night. While the car is good, I started noticing little things about it after having it for a few weeks. My two biggest complaints are the power and the rear suspension. This car is severely lacking in power. It needs another 30 or so HP to get it going (the 2014 has that with the new 2 liter engine). The rear suspension likes to float over bumps when you go around turns. It doesn't mater if you're doing 5mph or 50mph, you feel like you're back end is going to kick out. There is a fix for this, but honestly I don't feel like buying paying $100 for something Hyundai should fix for free. The fix if buying KYB shocks for the rear. It's technically not a fix though, it's just a bandage. The big problem is Hyundai decided not to use independent rear suspension so anything that happens to one rear wheel drastically effects the other. Everything else about this car has been great. I opted to get the manual transmission and I love the mechanical feel of the shifter and clutch. I get about 26mpg in the city and with premium fuel I got 38mpg on the highway, with regular it dropped down to 34mpg. Over all it's a good car. Hyundai fixed the power problem with the 2014 so the final thing to really make this car great would be to go with an independent rear end, but that wont happen."
By Cherry on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,700overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love the sun/moon roof. Stereo is excellent."
Cons: "Cup holders odd sizes, no slots for toll change"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Seating is too low so poor view of traffic and surroundings. Not enough leg room=kneecaps too close to dashboard because have short legs. Not very maneuverable. Low profile tires are hard to get used to different handling in different situations. Gas mileage not as good as advertised even though tried different types of gas & driving techniques.Seat belt tightens up too tight when barely hit the brakes. Car stalls out a stop signs and red lights.2 door not practical for hauling people/things around.Air conditioner works great but affects car performance too much.Vehicle has already devalued greatly in a short period of time.Heated seats are a great feature."
By Jennie on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "design, layout, gas mileage"
Cons: "seats could be more comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got the 2014 elantra SE with the preferred package. The layout and features are fantastic. It has touch screen that responds very nicely. It handles well and I'm getting 36-39mpg on the highway. I haven't had the car for a year yet, so I'm not sure how it will handle in winter. But, so far everything is great. I love the look and the price I got it for! Worth the purchase!"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Disappointed on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The car had problems since the first week I drove it. It handled well in the snow with the manual overdrive, however, good luck trying to drive more than 25 mph and hitting a bump in the road. *Every time that happens the car would jolt over into the other lane. VERY scary! *I have had to buy 2 new tires on the same front left side of the car in under 6000 miles! The balance of the car is terrible and they refused to cover the first one at 3000 miles. *My rear window defroster interfered with my FM radio an issue unheard of on "new" cars. *I average 13 MILES PER GALLON! 13!!! What a shame this car sounded great until you buy it and realized everyone else fell for the same trick!"
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Bill on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,300overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"So many defects. Paint ,plastic ,doors and trunk not lined up. My car start leak after 1000 miles. Warranties its fiction .You going to a Diller to fix under warranties but They found the reason don't do it."
3 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Rick on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "lots of room. front and back."
Cons: "lousy blue tooth and gas mileage. dealership stink"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"The blue tooth system in this model is awful. I t has never work properly from the 6th month on. would not recommend this car because of this reason and the gas mileage has dropped from 30 to 25 miles to the gallon. very disgusting. for these 2 reason I have decided to sell."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful