2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

Pros & Cons

  • High fuel economy
  • comfortable and handsome cabin
  • smooth ride
  • lengthy warranty
  • top safety scores.
  • Unrefined hybrid powertrain
  • clumsy braking response
  • significant price premium compared to regular Sonata.
Other years
List Price Range
$8,350 - $10,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid seemingly has all the right stuff, but quirky driving dynamics keep it from being a top contender among fuel-efficient hybrid-powered family sedans.

Vehicle overview

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid isn't the first environmentally friendly family sedan on the market. It is, however, a solid first effort from the Korean automaker, with stylish good looks, a long list of standard features and several technological firsts lurking beneath its hood.

As for those powertrain innovations, the Hyundai-designed hybrid system uses a lithium-polymer battery pack that's both lighter and more compact than the nickel-metal hydride batteries powering comparable models from other carmakers. The electric motor has also been placed between the four-cylinder gasoline engine and a traditional six-speed automatic transmission, which makes for a more familiar driving experience compared to the droning engine note of competitors using a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

This all sounds good in theory. But in practice, Hyundai's hybrid system falls short of expectations. First and foremost, we've found that it falls far short of those lofty EPA mpg estimates. It's thrifty to be sure, but not as much as is promised. (Hyundai later revised its estimates for the car, going from 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway to 34 mpg city/39 mpg highway.) The Sonata Hybrid also leaves something to be desired in terms of refinement, with acceleration at low speeds marred by mild shuddering and lurching. Brake feel is also a bit odd.

Competitors like the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid do not suffer in such ways. The big price difference between the Sonata Hybrid and the entry-level Sonata -- which is rated at a very impressive 35 mpg on the highway -- also makes the Hybrid a tough sell from a bottom-line-oriented point of view.

In total, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a decent choice in a fuel-sipping family sedan, but it needs some work before it receives the sort of recommendation we give the non-hybrid Sonata.

2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid models

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a midsize sedan that's offered in a single well-equipped trim level.

Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, foglamps, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, Hyundai's BlueLink emergency communications, and a six-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

There are just two option packages available. The Leather package bundles leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Ultimate package starts with everything from the Leather package and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a touchscreen navigation system, a rearview camera and a nine-speaker Infinity sound system with HD radio.

2012 Highlights

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid gains standard BlueLink, the safety, service and infotainment telematics system. A new optional Leather package includes leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. All hybrid components also receive a lifetime warranty.

Performance & mpg

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine generating 166 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque that is paired with an electric motor making 40 hp and 151 lb-ft. Combined, the two power units are good for 206 hp and 193 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only transmission offered.

In Edmunds performance testing, the Sonata Hybrid accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, which is reasonably quick for a hybrid. The EPA estimates Sonata Hybrid fuel economy at 34 mpg city/39 mpg highway and 36 combined. However, in Edmunds fuel economy testing of both the Sonata Hybrid and the mechanically similar Kia Optima Hybrid, we found that both fall a couple miles per gallon short of these estimates.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid include antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Hyundai's BlueLink emergency communications system is also standard.

In government safety tests, the Sonata Hybrid earned a top five-star rating for overall crash protection, with four out of five stars given for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata earned a top rating of "Good" for frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength protection.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Sonata Hybrid came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, an average result for the class.

Driving

On the road, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers a nice combination of nimble handling and a smooth, composed ride quality. There's plenty of power on tap, whether you're accelerating away from a stop sign or pulling out to pass on a two-lane road. Where this hybrid powertrain disappoints, however, is in low-speed driving or quickly changing traffic conditions. In these situations, the Sonata Hybrid often shudders and lurches while deciding which gear it wants. It is similarly indecisive under braking, as the transition between electronic regenerative braking (which helps recharge the battery pack) and mechanical braking is clumsy and unpredictable. Almost all hybrids exhibit some quirkiness, but the Sonata Hybrid's acceleration and braking is the quirkiest of the bunch.

Interior

Not surprisingly, the Sonata Hybrid's passenger cabin looks and feels very similar to its traditionally powered sibling. The interior is equally handsome and controls are straightforward and intuitive, both with and without the touchscreen interface that comes as part of the Ultimate option package. The gauge cluster, which is one of the most notable things that sets the interior apart from that of the non-hybrid model, includes a separate LCD display meant to encourage more fuel-efficient driving.

Front seats are comfortable and supportive. The backseat offers plenty of room for two adults, though taller passengers will find headroom in short supply. All hybrid sedans lose a good bit of trunk space to the hybrid system's battery pack, and the Sonata Hybrid is no exception, with just 10.7 cubic feet of cargo room. The regular Sonata, for comparison, has 16.4 cubic feet.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

78K miles engine failure?
sidneilima@me.com,10/18/2017
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
78K miles engine failure? I own a 2012 Sonata Hybrid since 07/2015 which I bought from a off lease place with a little over 24k miles on it. I loved this car ever since I bought it, never had any major issues, till last week when it stalled on me with warns to stop driving to prevent damage to the hybrid system. I had it towed to a dealership to receive the news that the engine was seized and it would cost me $8,700 to have it replaced. I was shocked and start laughing, cause I thought is was a bad joke of some kind… Nope!! she was dead serious. So I said, okay 10years/100K miles powertrain warranty… Nope!…that only applies for the original owner… Certified Pre-owned gets 5years/60k miles… My car has 78k miles and I didn’t buy a certified Pre-owned… Very sad since I don’t have that kind of money and even if I had, KBB on my car is $8,800, it wouldn’t make sense spend on it…. Very, very sad my engine died with ONLY 78K miles…The worse I still own $8,500 on that car. Not sure what to do at this point.
Roomiest Fun-to-Drive Hybrid Sedan on the Market
r_l_r,04/02/2012
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the best package of attractive styling, smooth handling, excellent mileage and comfort among hybrid sedans in the US. I found with slight care its easy to get over 40 mpg on the highway and overall 38+mpg. Features that reduce the mpg are using heated seats and interior heater in the winter or full AC in the summer. However, using the "econ" feature with the heating/cooling one easily achieves 38 mpg overall or better. The jitteriness at low speeds was resolved with the first service when the computer system was upgraded to remove some of the hesitency between use of EV and gas engine modes. Update is free and resolves issues raised in some initial reviews.
Missing the Mark, but still a nice car.
michelangelo7,10/09/2013
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I purchased my 2012 Sonata Hybrid new from the dealership. This was my first "fancy" car, as I had always gone either base model or used in the past due to financial difficulty, but I was finally in a position to spoil myself a bit, and was able to justify my expense in the fuel savings, or so I though... Highway miles truly are 38-40, and I can even get that if "cruising", but only if the weather is nice, and traffic is light. Here in the Midwest we get temperature extremes which effect the fuel economy a great deal, and stop and go city driving averages 32 mpg which is no where near what they had advertised. My friends all say I drive like an old man too, so I know it's not just me...
It is a beautiful, but very un-safe car.
Rebecca,05/06/2016
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I love my loaded 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It is comfortable and a great looking family car. However, I would never put my family actually in it. It is unsafe. Delayed acceleration and then a "surge" of acceleration, shuts off randomly while driving, the radio often does not work. These three issues are well known and Hyundai is unable to fix them. Please read other reviews prior to purchasing for a family.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover9.7%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Overview

The Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is offered in the following submodels: Sonata Hybrid Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A). The Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Base is priced between $8,350 and$10,990 with odometer readings between 61635 and130386 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2012 Sonata Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,350 and mileage as low as 61635 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for sale - 10 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $12,736.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $9,333.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for sale - 9 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $10,850.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $22,560.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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