2012 Hyundai Sonata

The 2012 Sonata is Hyundai latest entry into the highly competitive Affordable Midsize Car market, with a price that starts at around $20,000.

It has a difficult task, going up against challengers from much larger companies such as Toyota and Honda. The 2012 Hyundai Sonata has been a popular alternative.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Sedan Base Price: $19,795.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons (70L) MPG: 24 city / 35 hwy
Length: 189.8 in. (482 cm) Wheel Base: 110.0 in. (279.4 cm)
Height: 57.9 in. (147 cm) Width: 72.2 in. (183.3 cm)
Curb Weight: 3199 lbs (1451 kg) Ground Clearance: NA
Luggage Capacity: 16.4 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 2.4L 4 Cylinder DOHC Compression Ratio: 11.3: 1
Horsepower: 198 HP Max RPM: 6300 RPM
Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Available Trims & Engine
Option:GLS PZEV MSRP: $20,795; MPG: 24 city / 35 hwy
Option:SE MSRP: $23,195; MPG: 24 city / 35 hwy
Option:Limited MSRP: $26,445; MPG: 24 city / 35 hwy
Option:Limited PZEV MSRP: $26,445; MPG: 24 city / 35 hwy


The Sonata’s engine is available only in four-cylinder, albeit with both 284-horsepower turbocharged and 198-horsepower naturally aspirated versions available. Many of its rivals also come in six-cylinder variants, so Hyundai’s failure to offer this option may count against it in the eyes of buyers who are looking for the cachet extra cylinders can bring.


However, the Sonata does boast excellent fuel economy figures – in fact, it is the best gas-powered car in this segment in that regard, with the base model returning 24 mph in town and 35 mpg on the open road. While a manual transmission is available, almost all cars sold are expected to be six-speed automatics.


Hyundai cars have sometimes been criticized for their unexciting styling, but the 2012 Sonata does not suffer from this problem. Most drivers have reported finding the car’s looks appealing and even enticing, with smooth, flowing lines that are said to bring to mind those of a more expensive luxury coupe.

There is an argument that the Sonata looks less impressive up close and personal than it does when sweeping past on the interstate, but few reviewers dislike it entirely, and some even rate its aesthetics as “sophisticated.”


Only cloth trim is offered as standard on this car’s seats, and it is expected that a large number of buyers will elect to upgrade to the much more attractive leather seats. The front seats in particular have come in for some criticism for being a little cramped, too.

Otherwise, there is not a lot for drivers to complain about, with plenty of equipment – including an iPod jack – being fitted as standard, and a calm and classy atmosphere inside the cabin. The Sonata is beaten for trunk space only by the Ford Fusion, and then only by 0.1 cu ft.


Hyundai’s efforts in the direction of improving safety with this car have been rated a success by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which calls the 2012 Sonata a “Top Safety Pick” – it manages the highest possible score in all the categories tested. Government testing gives the car a mixture of four-star and five-star ratings.

A range of safety features is available as standard, including traction control and anti-lock brakes for all four wheels. There are six airbags, which is average for the Affordable Midsize class.


The Predicted Reliability Rating by J. D. Power for the Hyundai is 3.5 stars out of a possible five, a respectable score but not a class-leading one. Overall mechanical quality is the greatest concern, with a score of only 2.5 stars in this category.

Warranty coverage is on a par with rivals such as the Mitsubishi Galant – five years or 60,000 miles of overall cover, as well as breakdown assistance for the same period but with no mileage limit. Perforation corrosion is warranted against for ten years or 100,000 miles.


The Sonata joins the Toyota Camry L (MSRP $22,055; 25 city / 35 hwy), the Honda Accord LX (MSRP $21,480; 23 city / 34 hwy), and the Chevy Malibu LS (MSRP $22,110; 22 city / 33 hwy) in this widely popular market segment.

Overall Rating
83 out of 100

What others say:

“ The 2012 Hyundai Sonata accelerates strongly and smoothly in most guises, but its steering has plenty of room for improvement.”Car Connection

“ Slightly more aggressive moves on twisting roads are handled with little drama. Others find Sonata not exceptionally agile, with numb steering that betrays the sporty feel Hyundai is trying to impart.”Consumer Guide

“ The Sonata is Hyundai’s entry in the competitive midsize sedan segment that was all-new for 2011 with dramatic new styling and a highly-efficient powertrain.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“ If ever there was a car that proved that if you build it well, they will come (and buy it), it’s the 2012 Hyundai Sonata.”KBB

“Lots of standard and optional features for the money; stylish and comfortable cabin; strong acceleration; top fuel economy; excellent safety scores; lengthy warranty.”Edmunds