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2012 Hyundai Elantra

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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
2012 Hyundai Elantra photo

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 383 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Great little big car - 2011 Elantra Limited

By on Sunday, July 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,200

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Styling, price, features, fuel efficiency,reliable"

Cons: "road noise, handling"

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

Little big guy

"I'm the second owner of my Elantra Limited which has just over 63k miles. I purchased this car used at roughly 25k miles. Because of my job I needed a car with better gas mileage than the one that I was driving. (which was a Buick Lucerne.. that I loved) I however didn't want to give up the comfort features that the Buick provided. What initially caught my eye was the styling. I love all the swoops here, there, and everywhere on the car. It's a looker. In the time I've been driving this car all the exterior components have held up very well. There are minor scratches from the parking elves but other than that I haven't seen any loose trim or anything. It's all just as it was the day that I bought it. Then I got inside and realized there was more room in there than I originally imagined it would be. I'm a 6'0 tall 200 (ok..207) pound man and I'm more than comfortable. Even coming from the full size Buick that is basically a rolling couch. What I was really surprised by was the amount of space in the rear seats. Having test driven the Buick Verano, Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla I think this has the most room in the back. It's not BMW 7 series space back there but with very little adjustment to my seat back I can sit behind the driver seat and have MORE than enough leg room. Like my knees don't come close to touching the seat back. I have pretty long legs and I'm not cramped at all. The claims made my Hyundai that it is a mid sized interior, in my opinion, are correct. The seats in the limited are leather but it's not that soft supple leather that I've had in my other cars. Its much firmer. At first that was something that I didn't like that much. When I thought about it later I realized that the seat leather being firmer may make them stand up for a longer period of time. So far that seems to be the case. They look great to this day. Anyway, they are comfortable enough for me. The side bolstering isn't hugging the heck out of you, but they do a good job keeping you in place when cornering. I frequently drive between the bay area and Los Angeles and I have no problem driving that far comfort wise. The features you get for the price is pretty good. Cruise control, bluetooth (with voice controls), heated seats front and back, xm radio, usb port for music, aux port, 2 lighter plugs (one for you and another next to the passenger seat), manual shift option, and a good sound system. (It has bass that you can actually hear). The radio is simple to use and has enough adjustment features to keep most people happy with the sound. It also comes with a CD player with MP3 capabilities. All the lighting that comes from the dash is in a blue color that I find really pleasing to the eye. Everything works like the day I bought it except for the CD player. That stopped working around 10k miles ago.I didn't bother to get it fixed because I rarely if ever used it in the first place. (if you have USB access there is no need for a CD player. Your choice, 700 songs to access or 15.) If I ever want to replace it they have them on Ebay for $50 bucks, but I don't see that happening. As far as reliability is concerned, for the most part all I've had to do is put gas in it and get oil changes. 90% of the work I've had done is because I'm replacing a consumable (brakes, tires, oil changes, etc). There were two things that I had issues with but they were taken care of under warranty. (Thank you 60k mile warranty) The first thing was that every now and then I would go to turn it on and it wouldn't want to turn over on the first try. Then on the second try it would. It was the catalytic converter.. I think. Anyway it was fixed for free so I didn't care. The second thing, and you'll see this issue for this model, it had this clicking noise. The noise would only happen when coming to a stop and when shifting from park to drive, or vice versa. Turns out they knew about it (they had to add a thicker washer to something or other) and they fixed it and I haven't heard it since. It didn't effect driving at all. It was just annoying. The driving experience is fun. Its peppy with enough power to do what you need it to do without straining. You're not winning any drag races but I've never not had the power that I needed when I wanted. The road noise is a bit more than I would like, but this is coming from someone that drove a Buick. Now the handling.. (sigh). It is a well known issue that the back end on the Elantra is.. active. The rear has a bit of a bounce when hitting road imperfections. It can definitely be disconcerting if you haven't experienced it before. You will probably read about it in the other reviews. Don't let their telling you it's the end of the world make you not buy this car. I spent something like $200 for front and rear KYB shocks and struts and the bounce is gone. It's not that serious. I'm not a car fix it guy either. I just went into one of the Elantra forums online and the other drivers had already found a solution to the problem. Most people didn't even get all 4 shocks. Most just did two shocks at a cost of around $70. Either way, the Elantra bounce is a quick fix. Overall I have to admit that it's one of my favorite cars ever. I'm 45 and all I do is look at cars online. I research them, drool over them, and wish for them. I've owned well over 15 vehicles in my life. This is the only one that I've had that I refuse to trade for another one. I usually only keep my cars for a short period of time and then I try something else. It's too much fun to drive for me to let it go. It has a personality. Where else am I going to find a car that is pleasing to look at, doesn't break down, has features coming out of its tailpipe, costs a measly $25 bucks to fill up, and gets me an average of 32-38 mpg w/o being a hybrid of some type? You could do a heck of a lot worse my friends."

Little big guy

Not a safe winter driving car, otherwise nice car

By on Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Roomy, great price, nice looking car."

Cons: "No traction in winter weather"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I love the look of my car, its roomy and overall its a nice car, unless you have to drive it in winter weather. You mention the word "snow" and it will slide sideways. After 3 winters we are trading it in for something safer."

Reliable

By on Friday, June 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,014

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "mechanically reliable"

Cons: "odometer replacing, chipped paint roof rails"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"This is my second Hyundai. Former: 2005 Accent. Had 125K+ miles w/no problems. Someone totaled my car. :( but was awesome despite it being called "the beer can". And I could park it in the smallest spaces. So I bought the Hyundai Elantra Touring as a replacement. Not as happy. Pro: Don't get me wrong, mechanically it is very reliable. I've replaced the tires, brakes and I get it serviced like clockwork. Con: The lemon of an odometer. After my 3rd year, I've had to replace annually it because the heat/sun wipe it out. It's very frustrating because the odometer is not set with the last setting. So when I get oil changes, no one ever adds the sticker mileage in the door with the odometer (even after explaining). And so recommended services are all out of whack. In addition, the roof rack rails are chipping paint. It's cosmetically tacky. But I keep the car, because again the car mechanically reliable."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Solid purchase

By on Sunday, May 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable drive, style, features"

Cons: "Backseat comfort, interior materials are avg."

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

"I purchased in May of 2015 and have since taken it to 2 road trips and accumulated 6k miles on it. I can honestly say its a solid purchase. Comfortable, full of features, looks amazing. Its fuel economy is "OK", only because it was rated at 27-37 city/hwy mpg, but I calculated 24-26 overall in mostly city/some highway driving. I love the driver selectable steering, the transmission is okay, you can on some occasions feel the transmission shift harshly, but rarely. Having been on those road trips, I've noticed some things. My passengers and I both agree that the back seats are not comfortable on long road trips, they're leather so I'm not sure this could be said about cloth seats. Our butts and backs were very sore at the 2 hour mark, stretching at each rest stop was a must, but the two front seats were Okay for the road trip. The car has a soft touch dash, and I thought that this material should have been distributed on the top part of the door trims and the lower part of the dash (i.e. above the glove box) as these are areas where people will be touching (I would be fine with a hard plastic dash) Perhaps this material belongs there to provide sound insulation? I am unsure. A/c compressor gave out at 10k miles, but per the dealership this does not happen to most Elantras, mines was one in a couple hundred thousand to have that happen. Towing and service were covered under warranty. Many Cali road trips later and this car remains a solid purchase. It's not that fun on the road like my old college car honda fit, but it sure is a lot more comfortable. Its also full of features and has a large interior volume. As I leave the car I always have to take a second look because of its amazing style both front and back. Will keep for the next couple years."

Second Best Car I've owned

By on Friday, May 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

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: "Grerat price"

Cons: "Blessed mine came with a spare tire, some don't."

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

"The car is awesome, Navigation and DVD with backup Camera, is too cool. Gas mileage is great at 450 mile Range per tank."

Have owned this vehicle since buying new.

By on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun car to drive and enjoy."

Cons: "Speed tires have a tendancy to make noise."

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

"New 70,000 Pirelli tires installed About 10,000 miles ago and rotated every 6,000 miles at Discount Tire. Oil Changes as scheduled. Just took it to Florida in March and averaged 39.4 MPG driving and average speed of between 70 and 75 MPH. No accidents or paint problems."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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