Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best Hybrid Cars Under $30,000
  • The 40 MPG Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best Sedans Under $25,000
  • Class of 2015: New Vehicles Ready to Roll
Go

2012 Hyundai Sonata

Overview
Share this page
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?

2012 Hyundai Sonata Review

By

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

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?

2012 Hyundai Sonata Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 608 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

Sharp car, handles nice, but the ride is stiff

By on Friday, July 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fast, fun, and still economical"

Cons: "ride is as smooth and silky as burlap"

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

"I have had this car for just under a year, and can only say one bad thing about it. The ride is brutal on your bladder. Granted, I bought the SE model for the looks and the 196 HP, but do I need to feel every single crease in the road. I know it has to do with the tires and the stiffer suspension, but I have been in old Corvettes that seem to have a smoother ride. Now, on to the good stuff. This car is fun to drive, especially with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, and still fits a family of five with comfort. Definitely not hard on the eyes, like other Hyundais. However, this car remains a sleeper on the Parkway, meaning the Police will not pull you over as much, even at high speeds. Great gas mileage for the power you get out of this four-banger(33-35 Mpg Hwy, depending on the gas you put in. I recommend BP) Clearly visable and easy to use controls, so turning on the radio or the A/C is not a chore. And of course...THE WARRENTY, which cannot be beat! Overall...I would say that I enjoy this car, but some improvements can be made."

I love this car!

By on Monday, July 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, great fuel economy"

Cons: "passenger seat sits low for vertically challenged"

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

"First and foremost is cost of ownership -- This car has required only regular maintenance, as any car does. Fuel economy is awesome....30-40 mpg, depending on how much local driving has been involved. Love the 8-way power driver's seat, especially on long distance drives. I can adjust the seat while driving to reduce back strain."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Stylish, comfortable, but still a slow hybrid

By on Friday, July 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

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
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Mileage, Stylish, Extreme Value"

Cons: "Slow - Don't pull out into oncoming traffic"

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

"The vehicle is fantastic looking with LED headlight accents and interior accent lighting. The seats are comfortable enough for a 14 hour road trip, and everything inside is superior to similar priced cars. The gas mileage is amazing, I got approximately 45 mpg with the A/C on while on the highway with cruise control in operation at 75 mph. Unfortunately, the vehicle is very slow to switch from battery to gas engine when pulling out into traffic from a complete stop. The engine lacks acceleration and power. It is reliable, has had no issues mechanically in the 3.5 years I've owned it. Buy a spare tire though, because the base model Sonata doesn't come with one."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Has all the bells and whistles

By on Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Has all the extras and nice styling."

Cons: "Gas mileage not as good as other hybrids"

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

"I purchased the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited for the gas mileage and because it comes with keyless entry, navigation, back-up camera and leather seats. It is also a nice looking sedan compared to the Accord or Camry. It drives pretty good and has some get up and go when you need it. Unfortunately I can attest to the safety. It works exactly as it should after 2 1/2 months and 4000 miles I was hit by a driver in a full-size SUV running a read light. The side curtain airbags went off and the whole front end was mushed in. I am relatively unhurt."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Love it!

By on Monday, July 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Been a Honda family for 28 years and was ready to buy another one when I decided to look at the Sonata.Was overwhelmed at the amount of car you get for the money and the warranty is so much better than almost any other car maker. Honda quality is so good that it was a little hard not to get another one.Time will tell once the mileage rolls up, but I said the same thing when I first decided to buy a Honda in 1986."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

My experience with a rented Sonata

By on Friday, July 04, 2014

I don't own this car

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage and cool design"

Cons: "Cheap interior, not many standard features"

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

"We drove a 2013 Sonata as a rental car for a week between Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Greenville, South Carolina. The best thing about the car was the gas mileage. We made a round trip around the state and then some, and only filled up when returning it to the airport, and even then we weren't close to empty. I liked the sporty exterior styling, and the sculpted interior and dashboard that wrapped around you. This in addition to the high window-line gave me a very safe, secure feeling inside the car. I also liked the design of the 3-dimensional gauge cluster. While I liked the shape of the interior, the materials were almost exclusively hard plastic, aside from the top of the dash. I liked the climate control buttons and the standard satellite radio, but the radio cluster was disappointing to look at. The radio screen was small and would freeze, you would have to change stations and change back to see what song was playing. There were other cheap elements of the car, such as the outdated "Hyundai" car key and the wimpy roadrunner horn that would beep when you locked the car. The car had a firm and solid ride, which was good but not necessarily fun or sporty."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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?

See if you qualify for
up
to
Cash Back
on a new
Details