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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 754 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

Navigation system flaws

By on Friday, January 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,665

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good acceleration, smooth ride, handles well."

Cons: "Can't enjoy the car due to nav system issues."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I have owned this car for 1-1/2 years. Since I drove it off the lot, I have had many problems with the navigation system. I get errors in Korean language, and 2-3 times per month it locks up and I can't use backup cameras, temperature controls, DVD, or maps. You have to turn the car off and re-boot it, and even then sometimes it doesn't clear the problem. Been to the dealership a couple of times, and they say it's probably the fuses... but they just re-boot it and it "works fine". The car has a nice ride, great gas mileage (about 30 MPG combined) and seems reliable performance-wise. But I'm so frustrated not to be able to enjoy it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

2011 model set the style trend for today's vehicle

By on Saturday, January 02, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"When I test drove the 2.4 liter model I thought I was driving a V-6. That power and response remains today. The comfort of the car is very good, only leather seats may improve upon it. The electronic steering makes parallel parking easy and I do a lot of that in places like Washington, DC. I plan on keeping this car for quite a long time. I recommend any buyer to pickup one, even the new ones as they appear to be holding up well. Mine had 62000 miles on it. I did, however, have to replace the right front brake caliper when I performed routine brake pad replacement. I found the aftermarket replacement part about $15 more than the same caliper for my 2006 Dodge truck. Bottom line, great car, in my opinion."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

since bought, hurt back -only wife drives(2 cars)

By on Friday, November 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

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
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "excellent warranty"

Cons: "As stated above,we no longer need 2 cars."

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

"We no longer need 2 cars and my wife prefers our Honda CRV ,since it is higher off of the ground. This car is in excellent condition and we have not had any problems and it rides smoother than the Honda and gets better mileage."

16 people out of 20 found this review helpful

best vehicle for price and warranty

By on Monday, November 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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: "great car"

Cons: "none yet"

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

"we have owned this hybrid for 4 yrs now and still going as strong as fist day off lot we bought new in jan 2012, love it and will buy again."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

traded an audi a-6 and fell in love with it

By on Saturday, October 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great to drive, peppy. great sound"

Cons: "none"

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

"Car is quick for it's size. Breaking was excellent at low and high speed. We are trading up to an lexus and hope better would benfine. 53,000 miles and no break job yet. steering seemed weird and dealer replaced electric wire to wire steering. Used roadside assistance for run out, there within in 1/2 hour in city we were not used to. Had to put tires and upgrade made cabin noise nill. Perfect car. with the trade in value, had car five years for $2.200 a year! Over all a great car but getting tired of it because we have had five years."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love the car in good weather.

By on Monday, October 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great car for the money."

Cons: "Not worth risking my life in a 1/2 snowfall"

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

"I've been driving for 28 years. I have never driven a car this useless in the snow. My driveway is a slight incline. With o.e inch of snow my sonata will not make it up my driveway. I've lived in upstate New York all of my life. I KNOW HOW to drive in bad weather. I think I would be safer on a motorcycle without a helmet."

9 people out of 22 found this review helpful

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