Avg. Price Paid:$13,243 - $18,794
Original MSRP: $19,795 - $28,195
MPG: 24 City / 35 Hwy
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2012 Hyundai Sonata Review

This review was written when the 2012 Hyundai Sonata was new.

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata receives praise for its good fuel economy and roomy interior. Reviewers believe it outshines former class leaders like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord because of the amount of standard features you get for the money. 

In reviews of the 2012 Hyundai Sonata, the same theme is repeated over and over again: value. Test drivers report that the 2012 Hyundai Sonata gives shoppers plenty of standard features, like Bluetooth and USB input, interior room and style for the money. Its class-leading fuel economy numbers don’t hurt its reputation, either.

Overall, test drivers say the new Sonata does many things well. Automobile Magazine says, "The new Sonata is at or near the top of its hyper-competitive class in a broad range of categories - some you might expect (low price, fuel economy, light weight) and some you might not (power, torque, interior space, and driving dynamics).”

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata’s styling stands out among sedate family cars. It’s a good choice for young drivers, families or empty-nesters, and standard features like Bluetooth, satellite radio and a USB connection back up its value-oriented reputation.

If a six-cylinder engine is on your must-have list, you’re out of luck. The 2012 Sonata is only offered with four- and turbocharged four-cylinder engines. However, reviewers say both engines offer enough power for the average driver. Additionally, the Sonata’s impressive fuel economy ratings may make you consider the turbo four-cylinder, which is just as powerful as competing V6 engines, instead of a V6.

Test drivers like the stylish, contemporary interior and spacious back seat and trunk. Their only gripe is with its cloth seats. Reviewers say they aren’t as nice as cloth seats from other midsize sedans and suggest the optional leather seats.

Hyundai was playing catch-up for years to competitors like Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Now, it’s those automakers who are catching-up to Hyundai’s style and value in the affordable midsize car segment. If you want a good-looking car that has lots of features for the money, the 2012 Sonata should be on your short list.

Other Cars to Consider:

Buyers considering the 2012 Hyundai Sonata should also test drive the Ford Fusion. It’s similar to the Sonata in many ways, including its almost-$20,000 starting price and spacious interior and trunk. The seats in the Fusion’s base model are well-liked by test drivers, while reviewers comment that the Sonata’s base seats aren’t up to class standards. The Fusion also has a powerful V6 engine option, which isn’t available on the Sonata.

Because the 2012 Hyundai Sonata is not available with a V6 engine, shoppers who feel that a six-cylinder engine is a must-have should not only test drive the Ford Fusion, but also the Mazda6 and Nissan Altima. All three have powerful six-cylinder engine options. Keep in mind though that the Sonata’s turbo four-cylinder engine produces similar horsepower and torque to these V6-powered rivals. The Altima’s 3.5-liter V6 produces 270 horsepower, while the Mazda6’s optional six-cylinder engine makes 272 horsepower. The Sonata’s optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 274 horsepower.

Since the Sonata’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine is just as powerful as these V6s, test drive all four to see which one you like best. You’ll get better fuel economy with the Hyundai’s turbo than you will with Nissan or Mazda’s V6.

Hyundai Sonata: The Details

The 2012 Sonata starts at $19,695 and comes in three trims levels: GLS, SE and Limited. Hyundai also makes the Sonata Hybrid, which is reviewed separately.

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata carries over mostly unchanged for 2012. The main changes compared to the 2011 model are its new standard Blue Link telematics system, half-inch bigger touch screen for its optional navigation system, optional HD radio and optional full panoramic moonroof. See the full list of 2012 Hyundai Sonata specs

  • "This is, quite frankly, a tremendous amount of car for the money." -- Edmunds
  • "While it lags its rivals in suspension composure, this demerit is more than offset by the entire lineup's blend of style, interior comfort, standard and available features, and value pricing. That's what makes Sonata a must-see." -- Consumer Guide
  • "And Hyundai just nukes the competition with a svelte, sophisticated mid-size sedan featuring a high-tech engine, league-leading fuel economy and a crazy-low price." -- The Wall Street Journal
  • "Fuel economy will undoubtedly draw consumers to the new Sonata. Others will be ‘emotionally connected’ and impressed by the upscale styling and the spacious, modern interior. … Many will be drawn by a window sticker that represents value." -- Autoblog
  • "It gives buyers a huge amount of refinement, driving enjoyment, comfort and style for not a lot of money." -- USA TODAY
Review Last Updated: 10/10/13

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