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2012 Hyundai Sonata

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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 736 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

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

Own a 2011 SE. Superb handling!

By on Thursday, July 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,240

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Styling, standard features, responsive suspension"

Cons: "Basis stereo system needs upgrade"

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

"The sport suspension makes the 2011 Sonata SE a very responsive ride; drives and handles great! I do believe different tires might lessen road noise, but even then not intrusive in comparison to any other car I have owned. On long trips, the Sonata is comfortable and affords plenty of room for two; leg room and trunk space. The 2.4 GFI 4 cylinder provided plenty of power in the mountains, and the transmission in sport mode was wonderful going up and down the big slopes."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great car...except for one thing

By on Wednesday, July 08, 2015

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
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Nice colors, finishes, price and warranty"

Cons: "Powerless on the highway."

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

"Possibly the worst transmission in history. Changes gears in seemingly all the wrong places at the wrong times and at the wrong speeds. When slowing from moderate highway speed of 65 down to say 35 or 40, the car remains in a gear as high as 5 out of 6, which means when you again accelerate to get back up to highway speed the car just dogs as the transmission is still in much too high a gear for any sort of decent acceleration, you find yourself manually downshifting to 4th or even 3rd depending on the situation/speed just to get some power. And I'm no lead-footed speed demon, the car clearly has some transmission design flaws that has me currently pricing the car on KBB for trade in or private party sale after less than one year. Pretty much everything else about the car is very nice otherwise - paint, finishes, convenience, ease of use of controls, body styling - but this transmission and it's poor performance can drive a person mad. There was also a recall issue with this transmission for an unrelated but important safety issue - gear shift indicator may not be showing correct gear status so could say in P but still in N. Someone was short a cup of coffee or two on transmission design and approval day, that's for sure. Shame really, as I really like the look and styling of the car but this is saddening."

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

2013 Hyundai Sonata Best car I've ever owned

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Style, Style Style"

Cons: "Needs better suspenion for cornering."

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

"The 2010-2014 Hyundai Sonata is the best car for $23,000. It has all the features of a fully loaded car that cost $10,000 more. This body style Sonata was Hyundai's leap from a cheap low level manufacturer to a reliable manufacturer the likes of Toyota. I found out this cars was designed by a team in the US. Sad to say Hyundai Corporate choose to go back to their old ways in the 2015 Sonata makeover. It is the return of the 2005 Sonata. No style, plain and boring interior. Cheap buttons, knobs and handles. They used the same button for the cruse control as the windows. I won't be trading in my 2013 for a 2015 Sonata. I'm not a grandpa yet and that is exactly what the 2015 Sonata says when you drive it."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Floats down the freeway

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good Price, Nice size, Pretty looks, Great gas mi."

Cons: "Slightly nervous about battery life. Could be $$$"

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

"Nice ride - great mileage. Have a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe which we purchased in 2006. It now has 141,000 miles & runs like new. Hyundai makes a good vehicle & has a good warranty. I purchased an after market warranty to cover my "new" hybrid...just in case. I am thrilled with this peppy little sport hybrid!!!"

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

not what I expected. disappointed and frustrated

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "can get decent gas mpg. looks nice."

Cons: "handling in snow and rain. fails to start and lock"

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

"Thought this car was going to be great. If I had not bought the extended warranty for tires, windshield and stem to stern coverage I would ditched this car already. It has electrical issues stemming from the fact that the push button start is tied to the brake pedal, so many times it will not start until you kick the pedal hard numerous times. When you start the car many times it Unlocks all the doors and you can't lock them until you turn off/on the car. Sometimes they unlock while driving. Not good if you have small children. The bluetooth doesn't always recognize an already paired phone and gets stuck on loading the phonebook. The original tires got 2 holes easily and with them the car handled terribly if the road was even a little wet. It totally failed to go through 1 inch of snow. The windshield is so fragile it got 3 dings in it. Right at 4 yrs the paint started peeling and the paint policy didn't cover it. Also there are blind spots on both sides no matter how you position the mirrors. The mirrors are like fun house ones and none of them show the correct spacing between you and other objects. The car does give you good gas mileage if you don't use heat or air conditioner 34mpg, otherwise its gets around 27mpg"

10 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Very good car

By on Friday, June 19, 2015

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
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Blu tooth, spacious, odometer is neat"

Cons: "No moon/sunroof, power seat, heated seats, or navi"

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

"The only issue i have with this model is it's priced high but it doesn't have that much luxery. For the price it should come with at least power seats and a moon or sunroof."

5 people out of 13 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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