Strong, fuel-efficient engine; radically different styling inside and out; high-tech communications and entertainment features; excellent ride quality; roomy interior; trunk space
Hyundai's mid-size Sonata sedan has been completely redesigned for 2011. The new model bears very little resemblance to the previous model and is quite a bit larger, though it hasn't become any heavier. It's also much more fuel-efficient than last year and has a more powerful base engine. Safety has been improved, as has the Sonata's standard-feature list, while a new-generation entertainment and navigation systems bring Hyundai's mid-size sedan up to the front of the pack for technophiles on a budget.
Hyundai has put longtime mid-size best-sellers, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, directly into its sites with the all-new Sonata. Hyundai meets or exceeds those models in most respects. With new EPA fuel economy ratings of up to 24 mpg city, 35 highway, thanks to a new direct-injection 4-cylinder engine, the Sonata has fuel-efficiency and power performance numbers that are both better than most base-model mid-size sedans. The 2011 Sonata is now classified by the EPA as a "large car", and has more passenger room than most of its competitors, while it has significantly more trunk space than the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu. The Sonata is also lighter than almost all of its rivals and has a short 35.8-foot turning diameter that's also shorter than most other mid-size sedans. The Sonata also has a trump card in safety, as it's already been named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
Warranty continues to be a strong selling point for the Sonata as well. Along with all Hyundai products; the Sonata includes a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and five years of roadside assistance.
The new Sonata lineup is 4-cylinder-only for 2011, with the optional V6 engine no longer available. This all-new 198-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is the only engine, with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Though the manual transmission is only available on the base-model GLS.
Fuel economy is stellar no matter which transmission. The manual-transmission model gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg city, 35 highway while the automatic models get 22/35. The engine's direct-injection design aids that, along with improved aerodynamics and an overall curb weight that's lighter than most other mid-size sedans. The 6-speed automatic transmission is also an all-new unit offering a wide span of gear ratios for good performance as well as fuel economy.
The new 2011 Hyundai Sonata has a rather conventional suspension layout, with MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link, independent arrangement in back, along with front and rear stabilizer bars to help bring sporty handling along with a good, well damped ride. All Sonatas have front-wheel drive. GLS and Limited models get low-rolling-resistance tires aimed at improving fuel economy, while the SE gets stickier low-profile tires and a firmer suspension tuning.
Appearance-wise, the Sonata is completely new from every angle, inside and out, with a more flowing, curvaceous design throughout (Hyundai calls it Fluidic Sculpture). The new waterfall grill design dips low in front and a prominent body-side crease flows upward into the rear lights. The interior design "wraps around" the front occupants and flows through to the back, bringing climate-control vents, while the instrument panel itself follows a new, straightforward control layout that puts entertainment and navigation controls up high with large climate controls just below. Front and backseat appointments are plenty spacious for five adults--including enough space for taller adults in back.
In addition to the base GLS, two other Sonata automatic-only models of the Sonata are offered: the sporty SE and the especially luxurious Limited. The three models of the Sonata also get quite different interior appointments; lower-level Sonata models get a textured plastic material for the dash and doors, while SE models get more metallic trim and Limited models get woodgrain or piano-black trims. SE models add steering-wheel paddle-shifters and Limited models get a sport-shift mode for the transmission.
GLS models get a very generous array of standard equipment, including keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, tilt/telescopic steering wheel adjustment, steering-wheel controls, power windows, locks, mirrors and split folding rear seatbacks. SE models add sport seats, leather steering-wheel and shifter trim and push button start, plus fog lamps, "hyper silver alloy" wheels, performance tires and a chrome-tipped exhaust. At the top of the range, the Limited gets a long list of additional features, such as a sunroof, heated leather seats (front and back), heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control and rear-seat heat ducts.
All Sonata models get a USB interface as well as an iPod connector, plus XM satellite radio and a Bluetooth hands-free calling interface. A 3-month trial subscription for XM is included. A new wide-screen navigation system is optional on the SE and Limited, featuring real-time XM NavTraffic along with weather, stock, and sports information. Also included with the system are Bluetooth audio streaming capability and 8 GB of flash memory for storing music files.
Safety features are strong in the 2011 Sonata. All models get active head restraints for front occupants and include front side airbags, full-length side-curtain bags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes.
Vehicle Price: 20,145.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
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