2012 Hyundai Elantra Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Hyundai Elantra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • 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.

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.

Introduction

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.

Safety

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.

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What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Great car for the money

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

I am a leasing agent for a leasing company and get to drive every kind of car out there. I recently leased a used Elantra a client of mine traded in. This is no Mercedes, but it's the nicest car I've driven for the money. The styling is great, has lots of power for a small 4cyl car, and gets great gas mileage. I regularly average 33 overall. I have to seriously abuse this car to get under 30 mpg. The handling is so-so and it tends to dart from one side of the road to the other if I'm trying to eat and drive with my knees.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ive had my 2012 elantra

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

Barely a month since I bought my '12 Elantra w/30K mi and so far so good. I hear all the complaints about gas mileage but so far I have no problem averaging combined 33 mpg. which is great for me considering my Pathfinder only got 16/21 mpg. I put on custom rims and a better quality tire which seems to have helped a bit w/ road noise. So far only complaint I really have is the ride is a bit stiff and there's no spare tire. I bought my Elantra for $14k out the door so for the design and features you cant really beat it for the price....Remeber, you cant expect a $14k car to drive like a Mercedes. You get what you pay for, folks. I'll follow up in a few months..



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

So far, so good.

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

I bought this Elantra over 2 years ago and have about 47k miles on it now. I have not experienced any of the mechanical or noise problems described in other reviews. The original tires were bad (noisy) and I replaced them after 40K. As far as gas mileage, I have found that there is a huge discrepancy in mileage depending on many factors: speed, outside temperature, wind, vehicle load. and terrain. I have found that headwinds or sidewinds will affect mpg up to 5 or 6. I probably average 35 mpg hwy and 28-30 city. Under optimum conditions I have consistently achieved 36-38 hwy. Would I buy another Hyundai? Maybe. Next time I'll go into something a little bigger. I am over 6'.




Vibration while idle--poor customer service

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

I bought my 2012 Hyuandi Elantra almost 2 years ago and I feel like I should have kept my previous vehicle. My car has been giving off a vibration while idle for over 6 months and every single time I come and complain the service people do not find anything wrong with my vehicle. I met with the service manager and he test drove my car and stated that the vibration is normal. I am not sure how vibration is normal, my car literally shakes. I am almost at 30000 miles and then after that my warranty will be up! I am done with Hyuandi and if I could drive my car through the dealership to show my frustration I would. I do not recommend this car That is why they provide all these warranties!



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Nice car but!

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

Suspension engineering and steering awful. Owned this car for 2 years and had to replace both rear shocks in addition the dealer could never get the steering working properly. I believe it to be an engineering flaw. The front suspension started thumping and in general this car got to be one of the worst cars we have owned.



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.



Talk About The 2012 Elantra

Read more about the 2012 Hyundai Elantra

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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

Identifix Reliability Ratings

Rating unavailable for this vehicle

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