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 Automatic
  • Horse Power 145 hp @ 6300 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

  Average Consumer Rating (9 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Vibration while idle--poor customer service

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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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Dont buy this car

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

1. lied about mpg 2. 6,000 miles in my car started electronically malfunctioning, would get stuck in park/drive, would not turn off!!) 3. took it 4 times to the dealership over same issue....they claim its a loose wire from when it was built??? 4. this is a brand new car, not suppose to be happening. 5. spoke to hyundai and would not do anything to help out but offer a goodwill gesture? yeah thats what my warranty was for .... 6. car slips ALOT....highway and bumps, makes it feel very unsafe 7. not to mention no spare kit..you have to pay 400$ for the kit if you want it, unreal 8. moral of the story is i traded this crap in for a toyota 2013 corolla S and its BETTER.

2 of 11 people found this review helpful

Never again

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

I have never gotten the 40 MPG touted by Hyundai. Best mileage is 33. Also the cloth seats are impossible to clean and Hyundai dealer won't try to clean the seat, they say it will cause a stain. When parking you cannot see the front end in relationship to the parking spot and the same with the rear. It is hard to get into the front seats without hitting your head. I am only 5'2". The car did not come with a spare that had to be purchased fo $300.00. They include a pump for flats but if you have a side puncture, it won't work. This is my second Hyundai and I am planning on selling it as soon as possible. Bluetooth is not compatible with all phones.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Elantra save my life

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

3/21/12, I totaled my 2008 Elantra. Seatbelts and airbags saved me life.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

2012 elantra

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

traded our 2010 elantra se for the 2012 gls its more comfortable than the 2010 gas mileage is alittle bit better car handles well but suspension is cheap on this car we have 7500 miles on the car and I belive the rear shocks are gone it sounds like the back wheels are falling off we sent it back to the dealer they said everything looks good its going back a third time it has the old time strait rear axle that went out in the 80's biege seats stain easy car has some blind spots front pilars and rear hard to see when pullig out in traffic backing can be bad also gas mileage is between 24 - 32 sometimes if the wind is blowing in the right direction you might get 36 on the highway not much power

9 of 16 people found this review helpful

Best value for the money

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

My 2011 Elantra LTD with the Tech Package (nav, camera, etc) is a delight to drive and to own. Here's a tip for those looking to buy one. Hyundai does NOT offer financing terms similar to other manufacturers. Most will give 36months a 0% and up to 60 at 1.9%. Hundai is a lot higher. Well I bought my car the other day--- and guess what-- I got 1.9% for 72 MONTHS. No prepayment penatly. The trick is to have a credit score over 700. The dealer would rather have you finance directly through Hyundai, but, they'd rather sell a car. Now, add that to the best warrenty in the business, the incredible write-ups, and the fact that this car holds value so well !!! A WINNER

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.

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