2012 Hyundai Sonata

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2012 Hyundai Sonata Review

Comfy Hybrid Cruiser

Reviewed by Automotive on

Entering its second year, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid represents the automaker's first foray into the growing hybrid market. The family sedan is an attractively styled alternative to existing hybrids, bringing with it the growing Hyundai reputation for feature-laden, competitively priced cars that offer great value.

Powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor, the hybrid can produce a combined 206 horsepower, not too shabby for the Eco crowd. The electric motor provides quick acceleration and, when launched the gas-engine and six-speed transmission, offers fairly smooth shifts though the Eco mode could use further refining.

Like the popular sedan the Sonata Hybrid shares its moniker with, the hybrid version offers an attractively styled interior and solid build quality. A large grille, LED head and taillights, and chrome accents distinguish the Hybrid from other Sonata models. A premium package adds heat and leather to the seats, leather to the steering wheel and shifter, 17-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof and premium audio, making for a plush hybrid experience. Many safety features are standard. Families looking for a fuel-efficient, comfortable ride should give the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a look.

The Range

Body style: Four-door sedan
Engine: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, and an electric motor
Transmission: six-speed electronic automatic
Model: Hyundai Sonata

What's New

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata is largely unchanged from the previous year. A new Blue Link Telematics system is available, and offers three tiers of subscription-based services. Some features include roadside assistance, vehicle crash notification, Pandora iphone capability, and navigation among others. A larger screen is also available.


Hybrid styling has often been quirky, but Hyundai's offering is attractive, practical and current. A large grille and LED headlights give the front an aggressive, sporty look. The long sedan body is stately and solid. 16-inch alloy wheels are standard, 17-inch alloy wheels are available on the Premium Package. Folding mirrors are a nice standard feature. Chrome accents are splashed around, along the side of the body, on the window belt and on the door handles. The taillights are LEDs, though the rear styling of the car is less aggressive and more traditional.


The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid features an attractively styled interior. Controls are easy to use and logical. The instrument panel is clean and modern, the cabin overall is roomy, although the low-slung roof may bother taller back-seat passengers. Seats offer ample cushioning and comfort, and look nice. Cloth is standard, but leather is an option with the Premium Package. The package also adds heat to the seats, leather to the steering wheel and shifter, premium nine-speaker stereo, a backup camera and auto-dimming mirror.

Performance & Handling

The Sonata Hybrid is meant to act as a pleasant fuel efficient cruiser, and that it is. It's also a bit sportier than one would expect from a hybrid sedan, though by no means is it a sports car. The 2.4-liter engine paired with the electric motor produce a combined 206 hp, which is on the high side for non-luxury hybrids. The Sonata Hybrid was also the first to feature a six-speed automatic transmission, in hopes of making it a more refined drive. While the ride quality is good, the transmission could be honed further, especially in Eco mode. Steering is light and smooth.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Sonata Hybrid a Top Safety Pick. Under the federal government's new testing procedures, the Hyundai hybrid received a five-star overall rating, the highest possible. Standard safety features include front side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, antilock brakes, traction and stability control.

EPA Fuel Economy

35 mpg city/40 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Fuel economy
  • Premium Package option
  • Comfortable ride
  • Stylish Interior

You Won't Like

  • Drive in Eco mode

Sum Up

Comfy Hybrid Cruiser

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid
  • Nissan Altima Hybrid

See the New 2016 Sonata.

Front & Driver Side View

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