in 2012 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $13,883 - $19,138
Original MSRP: $19,795 - $28,195
MPG: 24 City / 35 Hwy
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2012 Hyundai Sonata Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Inside, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata is a lot of car for the money. A hefty list of standard features, even on the base GLS model, like Bluetooth and USB iPod inputs, are offered only as added-cost options by the competition. New for 2012 is the addition of Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, which is standard on all trim levels. Reviewers like the Sonata’s thoughtful interior design and its abundant space. Many writers point out that the controls were clearly inspired by Volvo. For those who aren’t familiar with Volvo’s system, that means that the climate control buttons are shaped like a human in a seat, making it easy to direct airflow where you want it.

  • "Although the cabin was redesigned last year, materials quality was unchanged; it's still competitive but doesn't notably raise the bar for the class, which is already fairly high." -- Cars.com
  • "Medium-quality black soft plastic is the predominant theme, with accenting silver trim that gives the interior a modern, tech-oriented feel." -- Motor Trend
  • "Classy interior and smooth-operating, firm-feeling controls were more like you'd expect in a near-luxury car. Even just operating the turn signal stalk or pulling the shift lever into gear could generate a tiny shiver of delight." -- USA TODAY
  • "Storage space is plentiful, and the (standard) iPod input is readily accessible." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The interior is up to contemporary standards with a flowing feel that reflects the curved ‘fluidic sculpture’ exterior configuration." -- Boston Globe


Many reviewers mention the Sonata’s spacious rear seats, but those who discuss the front seats aren’t usually as impressed. Upholstery seems to be an important consideration. Reviewers who drove a leather-appointed Sonata often have positive comments about the seats, or fail to mention them (usually a sign that they’re fine). Reviewers who drove the base GLS, with its cloth seats, however, almost always point out the fabric’s low-quality feel.

  • "Headroom and legroom are sufficient for 6-footers, even with the front seats pushed far back. The bench seat is hospitable, and the door openings are shaped for easy entry and exit." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The backseat serves up positively vast legroom for a 6-plus-footer, though such tall guys will notice headroom being pinched by the plunging roof line." -- Edmunds
  • "We aren't fans of the cloth seats in the GLS or the cloth-and-leather combo in the SE, which makes leather, and therefore the Limited, a necessity.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Sonata's seats are comfy and reasonably supportive, trimmed in a combination of good-quality vinyl and textured fabric." -- Motor Trend
  • "Your writer's six-foot two-inch frame slid into the driver's seat with plenty of room. In fact, the seat had to be moved forward a bit for comfort (later that afternoon, we jumped into the rear seat behind ‘ourselves’ and discovered that space and legroom was more than adequate)." -- Autoblog

Interior Features

Hyundai has packaged a fairly impressive collection of standard features into even the base-model Sonata for 2012. One notable change for 2012 is that the Sonata receives Hyundai’s new Blue Link telematics system as standard equipment. Blue Link is similar to GM’s OnStar system, and features automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote start, voice text messaging, stolen vehicle slowdown and recovery, speed and curfew alert and navigation. Other standard features include Bluetooth, power windows, XM satellite radio, USB and auxiliary iPod inputs, steering wheel-mounted controls and cruise control. HD radio is another new feature on the 2012 Sonata, but it is optional on the SE trim and standard on the Limited trim. An upgraded nine-speaker Infiniti sound system with HD radio is optional on the Limited model. Navigation was optional on the 2011 Sonata, but a bigger 7-inch touch screen is also new for 2012. Other optional upgrades for the 2012 Sonata include a panoramic sunroof, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, rearview camera and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Reviewers like that the Sonata’s interior features are easy to use and have a good layout. They like the interior styling and material quality. Still, one reviewer says a few materials look under-par for the class.

  • "Overall, the cabin is attractive and assembled with care. A combination of lightly padded surfaces and hard plastics are used; most look fine for the class, but a couple pieces slightly miss the mark. Fabric trim has a nicely textured surface that adds visual interest. Interiors have attractive contrasting colors and metal-look trim." -- Consumer Guide
  • “The driving environment is easy enough to adapt to, with straightforward controls and clear gauges housed in the currently voguish deeply hooded twin binnacles.” -- Automobile Magazine


The 2012 Sonata’s sloping roofline makes it look like it has a small trunk, but at 16.4 cubic feet, the Sonata’s trunk is one of the largest available among affordable midsize cars. The Ford Fusion has slightly more room at 16.5 cubic feet. Reviewers think the cargo space is good, but real-world use is somewhat limited. They are disappointed with the small trunk opening and hinges that intrude into the trunk space, as well as rear seats that don’t completely fold flat.

  • "Trunk space is ample, but a fairly small opening and sickle-shaped hinges limit usefulness a bit. The 60/40 split rear seat backs easily fold forward to increase cargo room, but the pass through is on the small side. The resulting load floor isn't flat." -- Consumer Guide

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