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2012 Hyundai Elantra

$5,318 — $12,390 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
33 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Ride and handling poise
  • Gas mileage doesn't come at the expense of drivability
  • Roomy cabin, especially in front
  • Interior quality
  • Stylish design

The Bad

  • Telescoping wheel doesn't extend far enough for tall drivers
  • Left front roof pillar, rearview mirror limit visibility
  • Unconvincing faux-metal interior trim
  • Limited backseat headroom for adults
2012 Hyundai Elantra exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2012 Hyundai Elantra
  • 148-hp four-cylinder
  • Six-speed manual or automatic
  • 38 mpg on the highway
  • Available heated rear seats

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview

Redesigned last year, the Elantra compact car arrives at a time when automakers are redoubling their efforts in this segment. With seating for up to five, the Elantra's looks and fuel efficiency — it's rated at 38 mpg on the highway — make it a compelling entrant in the segment. Competitors include the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze.

New for 2012

On automatic-transmission Elantras, a new Active Eco System is designed to improve real-world gas mileage by smoothing throttle response. The 2012 Elantra also gets a horn with improved sound and new steering calibration for better straight-line feel. A roadside-assistance kit is optional.

Exterior
Even though it's a sedan, the Elantra has the look of a coupe. The roofline slopes gracefully down to the trunk lid, and the rising belt line makes a sharp upturn at the rear or the car, giving the rear side windows a triangular shape. This diminishes backseat-passenger visibility, but it gives the car a distinctive and sporty shape.

The Elantra has a thin upper grille and, below the front bumper, a larger opening that's reminiscent of the smiley-face grilles on a number of Mazdas. Pronounced fender flares and dramatic sheet-metal creases along the sides of the car enhance its visual appeal. Other exterior features include:

  • 15-inch steel wheels standard; 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels optional
  • Standard heated side mirrors
  • Available automatic headlights
  • Available power moonroof
...
Vehicle Overview

Redesigned last year, the Elantra compact car arrives at a time when automakers are redoubling their efforts in this segment. With seating for up to five, the Elantra's looks and fuel efficiency — it's rated at 38 mpg on the highway — make it a compelling entrant in the segment. Competitors include the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze.

New for 2012

On automatic-transmission Elantras, a new Active Eco System is designed to improve real-world gas mileage by smoothing throttle response. The 2012 Elantra also gets a horn with improved sound and new steering calibration for better straight-line feel. A roadside-assistance kit is optional.

Exterior
Even though it's a sedan, the Elantra has the look of a coupe. The roofline slopes gracefully down to the trunk lid, and the rising belt line makes a sharp upturn at the rear or the car, giving the rear side windows a triangular shape. This diminishes backseat-passenger visibility, but it gives the car a distinctive and sporty shape.

The Elantra has a thin upper grille and, below the front bumper, a larger opening that's reminiscent of the smiley-face grilles on a number of Mazdas. Pronounced fender flares and dramatic sheet-metal creases along the sides of the car enhance its visual appeal. Other exterior features include:

  • 15-inch steel wheels standard; 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels optional
  • Standard heated side mirrors
  • Available automatic headlights
  • Available power moonroof

Interior
Sweeping dashboard lines and a center console that rises to meet the dash lend a modern appearance. A high-resolution touch-screen navigation system that incorporates a backup camera is optional, and the screen is mounted high on the dash. Other interior features include:

  • Standard cloth seats; heated leather seats optional
  • Standard remote keyless entry
  • Standard trip computer
  • CD stereo with USB and auxiliary inputs
  • Standard 60/40-split folding backseat
  • Large 14.8-cubic-foot trunk
  • Optional air conditioning
  • Optional cruise control
  • Optional Bluetooth connectivity

Under the Hood
The Elantra is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that's rated at 148 horsepower, and it gets an EPA-estimated 28/38 mpg city/highway whether you get the standard six-speed manual or the optional six-speed automatic. Mechanical features include:

  • Uses regular gas
  • Front-wheel drive

Safety
Standard safety features include:

  • All-disc antilock brakes
  • Side-impact airbags for the front seats
  • Front and rear side curtain airbags
  • Electronic stability system
  • Tire pressure monitoring system

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
125 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Surpassed all expectations!

by MiJohn from Chandler, Arizona on November 13, 2018

Originally purchased as a reliable economic "transition" vehicle option. We expected to drive it 2 to 3 years max then upgrade. We have kept it 6 years now despite purchasing other family cars. 0 ... Read full review

(5.0)

Absolutely love everything about Hyundais period

by Stormy1994 from The Colony, texas on November 11, 2018

Absolutely gorgeous nothing beats Hyundai. Also felt super safe in this vehicle love the sound for the speaker. The look of this vehicle is stunning! Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2012 Hyundai Elantra currently has 2 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
acceptable
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Hyundai

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Newer than 5 model years/less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    5 years/60,000 miles (from remainder of original)

  • Powertrain

    10 years/100,000 miles and 10 years/100,000 miles for hybrid/electric vechicle batteries.

  • Dealer Certification Required

    150-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2012 Elantra Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Elantra received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker