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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 620 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

My 5th Hyundai

By on Friday, August 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "Stiff ride on 18" wheels. OEM tires were terrible."

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

"This is the best looking car I've ever owned. It's also fun to drive. Keeping it waxed with a quality product gives it a finish like a luxury brand - still looks like it came right out of the showroom. Couldn't be happier with Hyundai quality and value for the money. My only gripe about this car is the rough ride on the 18" wheels and performance tires. I just put new tires on after a trip to the seashore and they made a huge difference in handling and ride. I feel I can never go wrong with the Hyundai brand and will most likely never switch."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great car for the money

By on Saturday, August 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "all the above"

Cons: "18" tires are expensive"

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

"The car rides and handles like a sports car! 34 MPG on the highway @ 65MPH. Took a 5000 mile trip last winter with my wife and we were pleasantly surprised how comfortable it was on long trips"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great value

By on Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "features for the price, gas mileage"

Cons: "Leather seat comfort is lacking"

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

"The 2011 Sonata has an attractive exterior styling and provides an excellent value. Excellent highway fuel economy and surprising power for a 4 cylinder engine. Leather seats aren't the most comfortable out there. Rides smoothly but won't ever be mistaken for a sporty vehicle in terms of responsiveness."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best car I ever owned!

By on Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

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: "fun to drive"

Cons: "can't think of a thing wrong with it!"

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

"I love this car more every day! It rides and drives so good and just feels like it was always my car. I love my dealership too."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Basic Transporatation

By on Friday, August 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great mileage and Exce[tional Blue tooth"

Cons: "Horrible defroster"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Had the car for 3 years I would rate it higher if it wasn't for the worst defroster one can imagine,then again maybe I rat5ed it too high because unless you live in a warm climate don't buy The car Great mileage"

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Traded in Nissan Altima and no regrets

By on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great value for price, well made"

Cons: "road noise"

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

"Previously had 2 Nissan Altimas and fell for the Sonata after 1st test drive. Performance and handling much better than Nissan, quality of build and interior is the same or better, got more accessories for the money, better gas mileage. People think it is a Mercedes at first glance. Only drawbacks are some road noise depending on the type of highway pavement and the BlueStar navigation was terrible (I stopped that subscription)."

4 people out of 7 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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