2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Techtastic Taillights >

I can’t stop staring at the modern exterior lighting of the 2012 Hyundai Sonata. The LED cluster in the center of the taillights are like a red techie rose in full bloom. The headlights beam like the moon, surrounded by a trail of stars. It screams “Hello! I’m so modern!” If you are hip on the outside yet practical on the inside, this car is perfect for you.

The Sonata’s 2.4 liter 166 horsepower engine has a six-speed automatic transmission and 30-kilowatt electric motor, producing a combined horsepower of 206.  In comparison, its 34/39 city/highway mpg places in between the Camry Hybrid (31/35 mpg rating) and Ford Fusion (41/36 mpg rating). Starting MSRP is $25,850.

Some visual changes for 2012 include a newly designed hexagon shaped front air dam and those techtastic taillights. Because of the lithium-polymer battery pack, the rear seats do not fold down, also resulting in a 5.7 cubic feet loss of cargo room. (versus the standard Sonata) I like the center compartment in the back seat. It’s great for the 3rd or 4th passenger to store phones or drinks for the ride. It collapses into the center seat to accommodate a 5th person. I love the center headrest. Why don’t all five-passenger cars have that?

The standard digital readout will show you everything you need to know about the car, energy flow and fuel economy. Navigation is optional, providing a large dash-mounted screen with more details.  Speaking of standard features, the Sonata Hybrid comes with cloth seats, cruise control, hybrid trip computer, keyless entry with push-button start, USB port for iPod/iPhone and a six-speaker stereo.

Kick it up a notch with premium goodies like leather seats, panoramic sunroof, navigation system, leather treatment on the steering wheel and shifter, nine-speaker Infinity stereo, and a backup cam.

The Sonata received high scores on safety tests for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the federal government under its new crash-test procedures.  You’ll feel secure in owning this Hyundai.

Overall the Sonata provides everything you could ever ask for in a hybrid sedan: good looks, charm, comfort, and reliability. Hey, sounds like a keeper. If you have a man like that, well then, keep him too!

Test Driven by Christina Selter