The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Heel on Wheels- 2012 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Review

2012 Hyundai Sonata (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Hyundai Sonata

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The racy redesign undertaken a couple model years back shot the Hyundai Sonata straight to the top as one of the best-selling mid-size sedans on the market. Throw in more luxurious features and blindsiding turbo speed for this 2.0T version, and you’ve got a product that chases down most solid name competitors.

I drove a 2012 Hyundai Sonata SE trim able to opt for the 2.0T – better known as the 274-horsepower 2-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Paired to six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC, an Active ECO system further optimizes engine performance for an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 miles-per-gallon city and 34 highway. The mid-level SE trim comes with many performance-oriented standard features: sport-tuned suspension and steering; eighteen-inch alloy wheels; chrome-tipped dual exhaust; push-button start; and bolstered sport seats. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls; XM radio; Bluetooth; and Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics are also standard features. Price comes in at $24,645.

Blue Link is the most exciting addition to the model year, syncing your smartphone or other media device to a high-resolution touchscreen. It also allows you to share your vehicle location with friends, start your vehicle from a remote location, and post your fuel economy results using the Eco-Coach feature to the owner’s website.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The SE trim offers a collection of sough-after features. Yet the Limited trim (also available with the turbo engine) features an upgraded interior with wood grain accents, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a premium Dimension audio system, HD Radio, and that sunroof, with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters tapping into the turbo engine’s spirited abilities.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives both the 2011 and 2012 Sonata models crash test ratings of “Good” in all areas for frontal, side impact and roof strength. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the vehicle a 5-Star rating. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, an advanced airbag system, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.

Cost Issues: For $24,645, a similarly equipped Nissan Altima costs $26,320 and the redesigned Toyota Camry at $26,640. My optional $2,900 Navigation and Sunroof Package added the technological necessities (and of course sunroof) found in the Limited trim – still keeping the price tag reasonable at $27,545.

Activity & Performance Ability: The turbo delivers instantaneous horsepower, and the brakes are utterly firm. You get confident grip during cornering. The transmission is thankfully soundless and moves through the gears with precision – paddle shifters up the intensity and deliver that manual control.

The Green Concern: No guilty pleasures here at 22 miles-per-gallon city and 34 highway for 26 combined, thanks to the smaller four-cylinder engine. To be fair, the Camry’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder now has a two more miles-per-gallon gain for 28 combined.

With the stylish Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, you get extra refinement and staggering power for about $2k less than its sedan competitors – and proof a turbocharged 2-liter is capable of delivering as many kicks as a V6.

2012 Katrina Ramser