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Fresh off a complete redesign for 2011, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra possesses distinctive styling, excellent fuel economy, and a substantial list of standard features. On the other hand, the 2012 Elantra isn’t as sporty as some of its rivals, and limited backseat headroom could cause issues for taller rear-seat passengers. So is a 2012 Elantra a good used car for you?

A white 2012 Hyundai Elantra on display at an auto show.
A 2012 Hyundai Elantra at an auto show | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Three reasons to choose the 2012 Hyundai Elantra

AutoBlog says the 2012 Hyundai Elantra’s prior year redesign led to its “2012 North American Car of the Year” award from a panel of “50 independent automotive journalists.” Here are three reasons to choose a used 2012 Hyundai Elantra for your next car. 

Distinctive styling

Edmunds says the 2012 Elantra transformed its once “frumpy, anonymous styling and gained fluid curves and a coupe-like roof line.” Along with its exterior good looks, the 2012 Elantra features a sleek cabin with a “bold dash design” and user-friendly systems controls. 

While the interior material quality isn’t top-of-the-line, the overall feel is upscale for the segment. In addition, the Elantra’s center console features user-friendly controls that emit soothing blue light from behind.

Excellent fuel economy

The car features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque that provides “commendable power for its class” and excellent fuel economy thanks to Hyundai’s Active Eco system

Active Eco adjusts the Elantra’s shifting points and throttle inputs to increase fuel economy by up to seven percent for an EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined. However, overall performance suffers somewhat with Active Eco engaged. 

Plenty of features for the money

Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says the 2012 Hyundai Elantra’s standard features include “the essentials and more.” The “more” category includes air conditioning, cruise control, and 60/40 split-folding rear seats. In addition, standard safety equipment features “six airbags, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and a remote keyless entry anti-theft system.” 

KBB says its favorite Elantra features include the Limited’s heated rear seats and the optional navigation package. While these upgraded features weren’t standard issues across the Elantra line, finding a used Elantra that has them should present little trouble. 

Two reasons to skip the 2012 Hyundai Elantra

As attractive as the 2012 Elantra is, there are some areas where it falls behind the competition. First, the 148 horsepower four-cylinder engine isn’t as sporty as some of its rivals which offer engine options with considerably more horsepower, and its handling isn’t as agile as others in the class.

Secondly, some reviews have pointed out that the Elantra has limited backseat headroom, especially for a sedan. Of course, if you aren’t concerned with power or backseat headroom these reasons don’t apply to you!

Is the 2012 Hyundai Elantra a good car?

Given this car’s distinctive styling, exceptional fuel economy, and the long list of standard features, especially in upper trim levels, Edmunds says, “the 2012 Hyundai Elantra is a top pick for a small sedan.” In addition, U.S. News found the 2012 Elantra’s ride “composed” and its trunk among the largest in its class.

Keep in mind this will be a 10-year-old car, so if you’re thinking of buying a used one make sure to do your due diligence and take an exhaustive test drive.


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