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2012 Hyundai Sonata

Overview
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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

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2012 Hyundai Sonata Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 646 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

Best vehicle value I have ever purchased

By on Monday, September 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, performane and amenitys"

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

"For the money, this car can't be beat. Very comfortable, packed with features. It's surprisingly quick and fun to drive."

so so vehicle

By on Sunday, September 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,300

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "the only pro is it's a fast car with lots of zing"

Cons: "the whole darn car"

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

"waited a long time to buy a sonata so when it came to buy a new car I went to my local dealer to buy this car. was sold on mileage 25City 40 highway. What a joke I get 19 in the City and on Highway 32 to 35 which I cant complain about it is the city driving mileage when I took it in they said wait until you get 10000 miles on it while here we are with 24300 on it and its the same plus during Winter months I get 14 to 16 miles per gallon Dealer does know what to say its my driving what a joke I was laid up for a month and my son drove the car and he got same mileage as me.The car is very noisy I've had about 6 recalls on it so far steering pulls and again its my driving and hold on to the steering wheel tighter lol. Paid extra for interior package and that scratches easy I could go on and on"

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Moved from Toyota Camry for price and warranty..

By on Saturday, September 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"For years, our family were devoted Toyota buyers and found them reliable, comfortable and reasonably priced. My Father recommnended Hyundai for the improvements made over the years, back in 20006. In 2012, I made my first purchase of a 2013 Sonata, with nav package. At closing, I was informed that the 100k warranty didn't transfer, meaning if I were to die, my spouse or kids could not continue it? I learned quickly that the Nav system has not been updated, and the categories are limited which does not allow us to find some places we are attempting to get to. We end up using our smart phone Bizlocater or Mapquest. Last night, I attempted to pick up take out food in an unfamiliar town (babysitting for daughter) and was directed to a home in a subdivision, with an address not close to what I wanted. I asked about software updates at the dealership last year, and a couple weeks ago and there were none. We have taken 2 2,400 mile round trips to Florida and found the back seat to be hard and not comfortable, nor well cushioned on rough roads. As it is usually only the 2 of us using the car, it isn't usally a factor and I haven't had a Camry in 7 or so years, but would consider them again. When adding the nav package, we only wanted the moon roof. I don't use the back up camera and learned to drive without, and carefully move the car (so no one or nothing behind). Would have preferred separate options and if known the GPS system was deficient, would not have bought. I drive alot for work. All in all, the car starts when I need it, gets me where I want to go and looks good. The issues described are the only ones noted after 19 months and I hope it remains so."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Hybrid way to go

By on Thursday, September 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,875

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage"

Cons: "Lower to the ground"

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

"During my ownership I have saved gas because the battery takes over going over hills then coming down it will switch to EV. It rides very smoothly except maybe in the beginning of first starting to drive. I want to trade it for a Tucson so my husband can get inside better. I am really waiting for the hydrogen Tucson, but right now only people in Southern CA can lease this car."

Nice ride so far.

By on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, Affordable, Comfortable, Massive Space"

Cons: "Non-transferable powertrain warranty"

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

"I have owned this vehicle for about a year and a half. It has worn very well so far and the body is exceptional condition. No engine or mechanical issues. Still fights like the affordable champ it is. Very recommendable."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Seats - 2012 Sonata

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,350

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
1/10

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

"This is my 3rd Hyundai. I had a 97 Tiburon and a 2002 XG350L. This Sonata has the most uncomfortable driver's seat I've ever experienced, not only in my other Hyundai's, but in any car I've ever owned and I've been driving since 1969. I could never take this car beyond a short day trip. It's a shame too because basically this is a very nice everyday use vehicle."

5 people out of 10 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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