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The silver and blue 2.0T badge should be your first indicator that there's something special about this 2012 Hyundai Sonata SE.
The Sonata's Fluidic Sculpture-inspired design is as handsome today as it was when the sedan launched in 2010.
The five-seater Sonata features a dramatically swept windshield and a coupe-like profile. Rear headroom is sacrificed, but not terribly so.
The SE trim level indicates that this Sonata sits atop a firmer sport-tuned suspension, a thicker rear stabilizer bar, and larger 18-inch wheels with wider, performance tires.
However, the largest difference between this Sonata SE and the last SE model we tested lies beneath the hood.
The Sonata's 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine is good for a maximum of 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.
The Sonata SE 2.0T is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission. It's not a bad gearbox and features a manual shift mode, but we can't help but to think that a proper manual option would be nice on this "sporty" trim level.
To help drivers achieve the EPA estimated 26 combined mpg, Hyundai has made an Active ECO mode standard, which adjusts the throttle and shift programs for maximum efficiency.
Inside the cabin, the Sonata features Hyundai's now-standard suite of standard and optional technology. A new BlueLink-enabled rear view mirror hangs front and center from the windshield.
Spec the optional Navigation and Sunroof Package to upgrade to a seven-inch touchscreen LCD, a solid-state navigation system, premium audio, and a power sunroof.
Hyundai's navigation system only features 2D maps. However, voice command, traffic data, and snappy performance make this a simple system that's not to be overlooked.
Bluetooth connectivity is standard on all Sonata models and includes profiles for both hands-free calling and audio streaming.
When connected to a compatible phone, Hyundai's infotainment system can sync its address book for touchscreen or voice-activated dialing.
The seven-speaker Dimension audio system features a powered subwoofer and a 360-watt external amplifier.
USB connectivity is standard. If you want high-speed iPod connectivity, add $35 for an optional iPod cable that bridges the auxiliary and USB ports.
Satellite radio provided by SiriusXM is standard. Spec the Dimension audio system and the terrestrial radio tuner is upgraded with HD Radio decoding.
Instrumentation is simple with two gauges for vehicle and engine speed. In the center is the monochromatic LCD for the SE model's advanced trip computer.
The steering wheel is home to a variety of controls for the Sonata's most commonly accessed tech and convenience features.
Audio and hands-free calling controls are accessed on the left side of the wheel. The small white labels are illuminated for easy viewing at night.
Buttons for the cruise control system and the advanced trip computer are accessible on the right side of the wheel.