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2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was new.


Interior: 7.8

The interior in the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid doesn’t stray much from the rest of the Sonata line, and reviewers say that’s a very good thing. The Sonata Hybrid features an interior that’s more upscale than its price suggests, with features like standard Bluetooth and a USB port. The materials have a high-end look and feel, and reviewers say that everything, from the ergonomics to the electronics, works very well. However, a few auto critics note that the animated fuel efficiency display is cheesy and distracting to the driver.

  • “Buyers will still find the comfortable thrones, attractive dash and heaps of soft-touch goodies layered over almost every surface just like in the base Sonata." -- Autoblog
  • "Overall, the cabin is attractive and assembled with care. A combination of lightly padded surfaces and hard plastics are used; most look fine for the class, but a couple pieces slightly miss the mark." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It wouldn't be complete without some hokey way of diagramming your efficiency, though: The Fusion Hybrid does this with pictographic Efficiency Leaves, and Hyundai's answer is an Eco Level scoring system. It displays a sky that turns an earth-happy blue if you drive more efficiently." -- Cars.com
  • "There’s a thoughtfulness that runs throughout every … Sonata that pays off in nearly perfect ergonomics, nicely shaped seats, easily scanned instrumentation, standard Bluetooth cellphone integration with the sound system and an overall feeling of quality that Hyundai has frankly never even approached before." -- The New York Times


Not much is said about the seats in the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, except that they are the same as the seats in the gas-only Sonata. That means the seats are roomy, supportive and comfortable. If you add the premium package, you’ll get leather heated front and rear seas. Heated rear seats are a rare feature among affordable midsize cars. 

  • "Headroom and legroom are sufficient for 6-footers, even with the front seats pushed far back. The bench seat is hospitable, and the door openings are shaped for easy entry and exit." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Sonata Hybrid features the same comfortable and reasonably spacious cabin as the test car featured in our … Hyundai Sonata Test Drive, which means the bucket seats offer enough support, the driver seat and the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel offer a large range of adjustment, and rear seat room is surprisingly generous.” -- Edmunds 

Interior Features

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes standard with features like Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, push-button start, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary input jacks. Test drivers are happy with these features, but focus on the car’s fuel efficiency display behind the steering wheel. They say that while the screen is high-tech and informative, it’s distracting to the driver. See the full list of 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid specs.

  • "The Hybrid includes additional readouts for its gas/electric powertrain; they're helpful, but not as handy or intuitive as the displays in competitive hybrids such as Ford's Fusion." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A hybrid-system indicator provides feedback as to how deeply the driver is drawing electric power, and a central energy monitor illustrates the interplay between engine and battery. It's a rather perfunctory feedback display, not so elaborate as some, but enough to allow the interested driver to follow along as the computer actively matches power supply to demand." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Exceedingly green driving leads to little white flowers growing upon the shrub until the max eco score is achieved and the flowers fly away. Another eco score display has a picture of Earth growing brighter until the max eco score is achieved and our good planet begins to spin as it becomes encircled with an olive branch. Yes, this all sounds like something from a video game for 5-year-olds, and yes, it's probably distracting." -- Edmunds


In hybrid cars, cargo space is always less than gas-only midsize cars because the battery pack takes up trunk space. The 2012 Sonata Hybrid has 10.7 cubic feet of space, which is average for a hybrid sedan. Reviewers dislike that the back seats don’t fold down due to the battery pack, and that there’s only a back-seat pass-through for longer items.

  • "The Hybrid has a rear-seat pass through only; it loses 5.7 cubic feet of cargo space and folding rear seat backs due to the hybrid battery pack." -- Consumer Guide

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