The silver and blue 2.0T badge should be your first indicator that there's something special about this 2012 Hyundai Sonata SE.
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The Sonata's Fluidic Sculpture-inspired design is as handsome today as it was when the sedan launched in 2010.
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Like a coupe
The five-seater Sonata features a dramatically swept windshield and a coupe-like profile. Rear headroom is sacrificed, but not terribly so.
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Sport tuned suspension
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.
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What lies beneath
However, the largest difference between this Sonata SE and the last SE model we tested lies beneath the hood.
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The Sonata's 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine is good for a maximum of 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.
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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.
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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.
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New BlueLink service
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.
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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.
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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.
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Bluetooth connectivity is standard on all Sonata models and includes profiles for both hands-free calling and audio streaming.
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When connected to a compatible phone, Hyundai's infotainment system can sync its address book for touchscreen or voice-activated dialing.
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The seven-speaker Dimension audio system features a powered subwoofer and a 360-watt external amplifier.
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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.
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Satellite radio provided by SiriusXM is standard. Spec the Dimension audio system and the terrestrial radio tuner is upgraded with HD Radio decoding.
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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.
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The steering wheel is home to a variety of controls for the Sonata's most commonly accessed tech and convenience features.
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Audio and phone controls
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.
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Cruise and trip computer controls
Buttons for the cruise control system and the advanced trip computer are accessible on the right side of the wheel.