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2012 Hyundai Sonata

Overview
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2012 Hyundai Sonata Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

If ever there was a car that proved that if you build it well, they will come (and buy it), it's the 2012 Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata was once was just a low-priced midsize sedan with a great warranty, but the current Sonata has taken the market by storm. From its stunning sculpted exterior, to its modern and feature-filled interior, to a suite of powerful yet fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata hits every target with pin-point accuracy. Up against heavy hitters like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Sonata comes out smelling like rose, and a very inexpensive rose at that. Its engine uses the latest gasoline direct-injection technology to deliver some of the best fuel economy figures in the segment, and there is even a hybrid model to appeal to the super-green consumer who still needs the practicality of a big, roomy sedan.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a midsize sedan that is fresh, stylish and loaded with the latest technology for less than $30K, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata is a must drive. Its base price starts around $20,000, but it won't cost much more to move to the higher trim levels, which include a turbocharged model and a super-efficient hybrid.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Unless you're turned off by the 2012 Hyundai Sonata sedan's looks or untested long-term repair history, there isn't much not to like about a midsize sedan that looks like a high-end luxury car, has a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and touts resale figures just a few percentage points behind the segment-leading Honda Accord sedan.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Sonata Limited gains a 3-piece panoramic sunroof, while all trims receive Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment and safety system. Cars equipped with navigation also come with HD Radio.

Driving the Sonata

Driving Impressions For how quickly and smoothly the 2012 Hyundai Sonata pulls away from a stop, you'd swear there was a V6 engine under its sleek hood. But, what resides there is...

a 2.4-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine producing 200 horsepower and delivering fuel economy figures of 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. If that's not enough power for you, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T sedan adds a turbocharger that brings output to a very healthy 274 horsepower. The Sonata excels in every category, with responsive power steering, excellent brakes and a suspension that delivers smoothness when the road get nasty and level cornering when the asphalt starts to curve. If there is a weak spot with the 2012 Hyundai Sonata sedan, it's that interior noise levels are a bit higher than in competitors such as the Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord. From a comfort standpoint, our Limited trim's seats were very comfortable, the dash and instrumentation were nice to look at and easy to figure out, and all but the tallest test drivers found the rear-seat headroom and legroom to be exceptional.

Heated rear seats
While some luxury-oriented sedans and SUVs offer heated rear seats, it isn't something you generally see in an affordable midsize sedan. And the fact that they're standard on the Limited trim makes them even more attractive.

HD Radio
HD Radio doesn't have the commercial-free appeal of Satellite Radio, but it sounds better and it's free. We wish more automakers offered HD Radio, and we're glad the 2011 Hyundai Sonata offers it on all trims.

2012 Hyundai Sonata Details
Interior

Like its dynamic exterior, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan's interior is a work of art. Following the exterior design theme, the Sonata's interior is a mix of bold shapes, smooth finishes and lots of attractive blue backlighting. The available two-tone interior package looks particularly inviting in black and wine leather, and features such as the Limited trim's heated rear seat are practically unheard of in other competitors. However, while we do like the look of the rakish rear pillars, the design somewhat cuts into rear seat headroom.

Exterior
2012 Hyundai Sonata photo

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata sedan is truly an original that will be hard to top. From its deeply-sculpted hood to the careful use of chrome trim highlighting the beltline, there is something old-Detroit-classic about this car, a throwback to a time when designers took risks and weren't afraid to produce something unique and dramatic. With its beautifully-detailed grille and swept-back headlamps, its high belt line and sharply-raked rear window, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata sedan projects a formidable presence few cars, let alone midsize family sedans, possess. The Sonata's wheel and tire sizes vary by trim level and range from 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers to 19-inch split-spoke alloy wheels. One of the 2012 Hyundai Sonata's more appealing exterior features is the Limited trim's standard dual-panel moonroof.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Hyundai prides itself on offering vehicles chock-full of standard features, and the 2012 Hyundai Sonata sedan is no exception. The standard equipment list includes Hyundai's new Blue Link infotainment and safety service, Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod/USB music integration and steering wheel-mounted audio/cruise controls. An impressive array of standard safety equipment includes six airbags and electronic stability control. Like many of its competitors, the base-priced 2012 Hyundai Sonata is saddled with covered steel wheels and a 6-speed manual transmission.

Optional Equipment

In addition to common upgrades, including a moonroof and leather seats, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan extras list includes a touchscreen navigation system, backup camera, multiple premium audio systems and XM SatelliteRadio/traffic/weather. When ordered with the moonroof and navigation package, the SE trim can now be equipped with a rear backup camera.

Under the Hood

A turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and hybrid powertrain join the lineup for the 2012 model year, but the most popular engine choice for the 2012 Hyundai Sonata sedan remains the most powerful, most fuel-efficient 4-cylinder (non-turbo) in the category. The 2.4-liter engine with direct injection is mated to either a 6-speed manual (in GLS trim only) or a 6-speed automatic transmission.

2.4-liter in-line 4
190-200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (varies by trim and state)
179-186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm (varies by trim)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35

2.0-liter in-line 4-cylinder Turbo
274 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque between 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34

2.4-liter in-line 4 Hybrid
206 horsepower (166 hp from the gasoline engine and 40 hp from the electric motor)
154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/39

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2012 Hyundai Sonata Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 673 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Good mileage, but hard noisy ride on Limited

By on Saturday, December 13, 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
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Transmission, Brakes, Looks, City handling"

Cons: "Shocks, Noisy engine and ride, Steering."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Bought '13 Limited for a quiet comfortable ride, 100 K miles CPO from a dealer. But after a few days of driving we are disappointed, and noticed a number of issues. a) The steering is tight, and has some resistance to moving it. So tackling windy mountain roads is hard on shoulders and arms. b) The steering cannot be made to go straight in highways, it wanders. It finally got fixed by switching from the "GLS" to the "Sport" mode. c) Very rough ride on certain tars. The car has monotube shock absorbers which makes the ride feel very hard and bumpy, not good for long drives . To make matters worse, the seat cushions are hard too. d) Engine has a timing chain, making it very clunky and noisy like a diesel jeep. e) The engine produces power, but not until it is rev-ed to a very noisy 5000+ RPM. Also, the torque noticeably lags putting feet on accelerator. f) The interior of the car is not noise insulated, causing a lot of wind roar and tyre clap. This steals the comfort out of both the ride and the music. Overall, expected better from a Limited model. There are some good things too. It looks majestic, and the brakes and transmission are among the best of many full-sized sedans I have driven. City mileage is OKAY. So this car is good for short rides in a city, but NOT for highways or the hills."

Decent car

By on Friday, December 12, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "5 star performance"

Cons: "Low trade-in/resale value"

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

"Drove the base model Sonata then drove the 2.0 Turbo. For the extra money the Turbo is hands down the best. Fuel mileage is in the low 30's highway, and the car handles & rides very well. Very roomy interior and the trunk is huge. Fit, finish and overall quality is good and other than one minor factory recall, I just have the normal routine maintenance (oil/filter/tire rotation) done at the dealership. One downfall is the poor resale/trade value when I was thinking of purchasing the re-designed 2015 Sonata so I will be driving my 2013 Sonata for a few more years."

Best value in its class

By on Saturday, December 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Very good quality. hwy mileage consistently over 30mpg. great residual value. It has all available options except navigation plus we added pin stripe, tinted windows, and chrome along bottom. Best looking and best quality. this is our 3d Hyundai and I now have buyer loyalty. My next one will be a Genesis."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

everything the commercial said it would be

By on Thursday, November 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"Great features for the money. The only changes I could hope for would be to lessen the blind spot at both ends of the front windshield due to wide frame. Have had several occasions over the years where a car "appeared out of nowhere" from the blind spot. Also, needs a charging port in the back seat for those passengers to recharge phones/ipods. Lastly, the there is an unavoidable click that is inherent in the console area when the brakes are applied. Can't be remedied even when dealership sprayed an insulator on the area. Sounds as if a toggle is being activated when brakes are applied. Overall, wise purchase. Minimal maintenance."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Garage kept

By on Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Responsive handling, fun to drive"

Cons: "wish it was a stick shift"

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

"Looks and drives like a brand new car. Beautiful pearl white paint with panoramic roof. This vehicle has been garage kept and never smoked in or eaten in. If you want a car that looks new without the big sticker, you should consider this car."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I like it

By on Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "very comfortable"

Cons: "gas mpg"

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

"Only con I have is the estimated gas mileage was way off for city driving. I average 15.5 mpg in my exclusive city driving"

5 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

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