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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 768 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

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

Horrible Car

By on Thursday, July 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,200

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Looks Pretty"

Cons: "Multiple Maintenance problems."

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

"Multiple recalls. Lost count after the 10th recall. Stranded three times. Replaced starter twice. 100K mile warranty is worthless. It only covers engine, not the faulty parts on the car. Faulty fuel unit, which is not covered under warranty and will cost $500 to repair. Two days after having fuel unit checked, the car started making a knocking noise when I turn the wheels to the left and right, but it was not making that noise prior to taking it to the dealership. Curious to see what the dealership will say when I take it in tomorrow. Faulty actuator!! Makes a knocking noise inside the car. $650 to fix. I bought this car in April 2011 and I take it to the dealership at least 5 times per year for maintenance problems/recalls. I will NEVER recommend Hyundai to anyone. I should have stayed with Nissan."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Great value and performance

By on Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

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
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "Window height makes it difficult to use at ATM's"

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

"Absolutely love the Hyundai Sonata. Bought it used and still runs wonderfully. Most comfortable car for the price with many features that come standard compared to other cars that you will have to pay extra for. Get gas mileage around 33 highway and 26 city. I love the luxury of the Sonata and the great customer service I have received at multiple different Hyundai dealerships. I never want to own another car other than Hyundai.""

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great car when it decides to start!

By on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
2/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Cons: "It does not start!"

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

"I like the way this car looks and handles but unfortunately, it does not start 1/2 the time and leaves me stranded. The dealer can't find the issue and Hyundai Corporate is a joke, they could care less about the vehicles they manufacture after they are bought."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Best car ever owned

By on Monday, May 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,600

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: "Price, reliability, styling, and fun"

Cons: "Electronics sometimes require cycling steps"

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

Cell phone shot of 1st day, driver rear corner view

"Less than a month and I can finally offer a more comprehensive review. When Hyundai came out with their body redesign in 2011, they hit a home run! Look at the other cars on the road, from Chevrolet to Mercedes, and you will see the have all adopted that aggressive slant forward design Hyundai designed. It is the most trend setting design since Oldsmobile came out with the 1995 Aurora. On the city streets and highway, control was very reassuring and yet responsive. Acceleration was a very pleasant surprise. It made highway passing and merging no challenge at all. Seats are large enough for my large body. Back seat leg room is a little tight if the front seats are too far back. Sudden braking was a great surprise. I tried it on the test drive (after warning the salesman) and was very impressed even with the wet braking. I spent 3 weeks, 8-10 hours a day, researching different cars and dealerships. It was actually maddening and very stressful, but for a bipolar perfectionist with high anxiety it ended working out for the best. I went to 11 different dealerships (various makes and models) while narrowing my search. When I decided on my Sonata, I was on my way to a dealership for a 2014 model. When I got to the freeway, I decide to go to another dealership which I hadn't visited. I bought my 2013 there. Karma or luck?"

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Cell phone shot of 1st day, driver rear corner view

Disappointed

By on Monday, May 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 128,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "good on gas"

Cons: "always something that needs to be fixed"

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

"I am disappointed in this car. As soon as the warranty ran out everything started to go wrong with the car. I bought it because i thought it was reliable and good on gas. It is good on gas, however, it sucks in the reliability department. They've done several recalls on this car and I've had to replace sensors, get the transmission repaired, replace two starters, steering wheel pins and others things too numerous to name. I would never purchase another one again"

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

A great car!

By on Monday, May 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "comfortable to drive, quiet, fuel economy"

Cons: "passanger seat sits low"

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

"This car is comfortable to drive around the city or out on the road for hundreds of miles. Great on gas."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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