2012 Hyundai Elantra Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

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Hyundai Elantra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 148 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 28/38 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Hyundai Elantra

  • Thanks to head-turning styling, a fuel-efficient engine and a long list of standard safety features and upscale options, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra is a top pick for a small sedan.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Outstanding fuel economy on all models; lots of features for the money; comfortable and well-built cabin; large trunk; long warranty coverage; distinctive styling.

  • Cons

    Limited rear headroom; not as sporty as some rivals.

  • What's New for 2012

    After a complete redesign last year, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra gains an "Active Eco System" that modifies engine and transmission parameters at the push of a button to increase fuel economy by up to 7 percent. The names of option packages have also been changed.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love it

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I have owned my 2012 Elantra for about a year and a half. I have just short of 18,000 miles on it. I bought this car mainly for it's looks and gas mileage. It doesn't disappoint in either category. I have averaged 32.5 mpg between city and hwy driving, but i'm also an enthusiastic driver. I have found the econo mode makes about a 2 mpg difference when it's turned off. I have achieved 40 mpg on the highway with econo mode on.The car is a bit for fun to drive with it turned off. Only 1 minor problem. On long trips of 1000 miles or more, I will stop at a rest stop in the middle of the trip and when I get back in the cruise will stop working for 20-30 miles - then start working again.

1 of 10 people found this review helpful

Some issues and sounds

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

i got this 2012 elantra brand new. since the first time caught my eye , nice exterior and interior design..the right window pasanger side make noise, driver seat is peeling off (5250)miles on it. every morning when i start it the lifters sound like old car but the dealer say its ok ...well i asume that is fine ...who knows???. i onw this car since february 2012 its very nice presentation compare with the ugly honda civic and corolla ...but sometimes i think its too delicated and doesnt run x ever like toyota or honda . im afraid to close the doors cause if i close hard seem like im gonna destroyed hahahaha. and the other hand i own before a strong gmc sierra but gas prices kill me

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

First hyundai, very pleased

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I don't usually write reviews, but after seeing all the reviews reporting poor gas mileage I felt like I had to say something. I've got about 10K miles on my 2012 elantra. Just about a month ago I drove from Cleveland to Ann Arbor (~180 miles) and I averaged 41 mpg. That's with speeds between 65-75 mph. When I first got the car I could get 29-30 in a city. However, I've recently found it more fun to drive this stick shift car in a less-than-optimal way. I now average about 26-27 in the city but get to enjoy the car a little more. So getting at or above the estimated mpg is very possible. In addition, there is plenty of room in the interior of the car.

9 of 30 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I purchased this car mainly for the fuel economy. My 60 miles per day of driving to and from work only get me 32 mpg. I did get 40 driving from Harrisburg, PA to Pittsburgh, though. My biggest disappointment about the car is the steering. I blow around on the highway when there are strong wind gusts. The handling is horrible and I feel like I can't even control my car. I feel unsafe. My tire also blew out while on the highway - and to my surprise there was no spare tire. I can't believe Hyundai doesn't make it standard to provide it's customers with a spare! I regret buying the car and I would rather pay more money for gas in a less efficient car than drive a car that is unsafe.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

12000 miles fo far and

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

Bought my 2012 Elantra last November and already put 12000 miles on it (trips from Florida to New York and from Florida to Mexico) and the car has been very fuel efficient and reliable. I had ZERO problems with the car and I'm getting an average of 39 mpg (mostly highway). The only time that I got worse gas mileage was when driving with 3 persons, a dog and lugguage to New York and to Mexico.. The extra weight dropped the gas mileage by about 3 - 4 mpg.. I really love the looks of the car, inside and out.. I don't know what other reviewers are talking about when they mention that the engine is noisy.. At 70mph cruising, I can't even hear the engine...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

12,000 miles and happy

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I purchased the '2012' model back in the summer of 2011 - this has led to some confusions in reviews. This is really a great car - for its design intentions -- I purchased it due to my 120 mile per day commute - all highway - it has been reliable, and the gas mileage claims have been very accurate. I love the look of the car, its handling and it's fairly peppy for a small car. My major gripes - the car is extremely light and does not do well in any cross winds - it becomes jittery. The front and rear body work is on the cheap side - all light polymers... In snow it is terrible - I just purchased a set of snow tires and this fixed the problem

Gas Mileage


  • 28
  • cty
  • 38
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Hyundai Elantra Review

What's New for 2012

After a complete redesign last year, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra gains an "Active Eco System" that modifies engine and transmission parameters at the push of a button to increase fuel economy by up to 7 percent. The names of option packages have also been changed.


Once a crummy also-ran, then a dark-horse alternative and now one of the sales leaders, the Hyundai Elantra is quite the success story. After last year's complete redesign, the Elantra has shed its frumpy, anonymous styling and gained fluid curves and a coupelike roof line. The 2012 Hyundai Elantra looks good, and that counts for a lot in a segment not normally known for visual excitement.

Thankfully, there's substance to go along with the Elantra's new sheet metal. Its 1.8-liter engine delivers commendable power for its class, as well as thrifty fuel economy. The latter improves even further for 2012 thanks to a new system known as Active Eco. When the driver selects this mode, the Elantra's automatic transmission shift points and throttle response are adjusted to increase fuel economy by up to 7 percent. The downside, though, is more sluggish performance when the mode is engaged.

Inside the cabin, occupants are greeted by a bold dash design and controls that are still easy to use. Overall materials quality isn't quite best-in-class (that award goes to the Ford Focus), but the Elantra's cabin isn't bargain-basement either. The Elantra can also be loaded up with the sort of comfort and electronics features indicative of a luxury car. Other than a lack of rear headroom for taller folks, the cabin is generally quite spacious.

So the 2012 Hyundai Elantra is comfortable, well-built, fuel efficient, abundantly equipped, sharply styled and covered by Hyundai's long warranty coverage. Of course, other small cars like the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, 2012 Ford Focus, 2012 Honda Civic and 2012 Mazda 3 are also great choices, making comparison shopping a must. But when it comes to the small sedan segment, we can finally endorse the Elantra as a top pick.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Hyundai Elantra is available in GLS and Limited trims.

The base GLS comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, heated mirrors, full power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The GLS Comfort package adds 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, solar glass and, when equipped with an automatic transmission, Hyundai's Active Eco system. The GLS Preferred package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, upgraded interior trim, a sliding front center armrest, illuminated vanity mirrors, steering wheel audio controls and Bluetooth.

The Elantra Limited adds all of the GLS Preferred equipment plus 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. The Limited Technology package adds automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a rearview camera, an upgraded sound system, a touchscreen infotainment interface and a navigation system with real-time traffic, weather and other information.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2012 Hyundai Elantra is front-wheel drive and comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 131 pound-feet of torque. Vehicles sold in California-emissions states get a partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV) version of this engine, which lowers output to 145 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque. On the GLS, a six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional. The Limited comes standard with the automatic.

In Edmunds performance testing with a non-PZEV engine, an Elantra Limited went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds -- slightly slower than average. No matter which engine/transmission combo you choose, you'll end up with impressive EPA fuel economy estimates of 28 mpg city/38 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined.


The 2012 Hyundai Elantra's list of standard safety features includes traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, an Elantra Limited needed 125 feet to stop from 60 mph -- a good distance for the segment.

In government crash testing, the 2012 Elantra received a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal impact protection and five stars for overall side impact protection. (It should be noted that some 2012 Elantras that Hyundai built early on received a lower, four-star overall rating resulting from a three-star frontal impact rating.) In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Elantra earned a top score of "Good" for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Elantra's interior features a curved center stack and stylized climate controls that provide a bit of extra flair while still being easy to use. The design is attractive and the materials, while not quite best-in-class, at least have a rich look to them. With available high-end features like leather, heated front and rear seats, an excellent navigation system and a rearview camera, you can even equip an Elantra to near-luxury levels.

In general, the Elantra offers a lot more space than you'd expect from a compact car. Headroom up front is plentiful for 6-footers and the steering wheel is a bit smaller in diameter than usual, which enhances the sense of space up front. The backseat is fine for kids and even most adults, though vertically gifted folks will find its abundant legroom and shortage of headroom a mixed blessing. The Elantra features a large trunk with 14.8 cubic feet of cargo room, a generous number for this segment. Its 60/40-split pass-through is also quite large.

Driving Impressions

While the 2012 Hyundai Elantra isn't quite as exciting to drive as it is to look at, it's certainly not dull. The new 1.8-liter engine has plenty of pep for daily driving, and the six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and willingly downshifts. The cabin is a relatively quiet place, with little wind noise to speak of, though there is enough road and engine noise to remind you that the Elantra is still a compact economy car rather than the high-dollar sedan it appears to be.

If you're looking for some driving fun in your compact car, the Elantra doesn't have the outright handling abilities of the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus and Mazda 3. Those cars quite simply feel a little more sophisticated. But in general, the Elantra's balance between ride and handling is one of the best in the segment.

Talk About The 2012 Elantra

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