Thursday, June 3, 2010

2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: A New Standard for Family Cars


What’s New:

With so many players in the midsize segment, the freshly redesigned sixth-generation Hyundai Sonata is bound to make everyone step up their game. Not only is the vehicle larger, the exterior design has moved upscale, bearing some likeness to Lexus and Mercedes. Unlike the previous generation Sonata, the 2011 model is available with only one-engine, a spunky, extremely fuel-efficient 4-cylinder.And every Sonata also comes equipped with Bluetooth, which is a first for a vehicle in this segment. 
  
Must Have Goodies:

The Sonata is available in three trim levels: the base GLS, the mid line SE and the upscale Limited. Depending on the trim ordered, the cool-looking Sonata can be outfitted with a power sunroof, an automatic dimming rear-view mirror, leather seats, automatic headlights, heated front (and rear) seats, 17 or18-inch wheels, dual automatic temperature controls, a rear-back up camera and a voice-activated navigational system. Ordering the navigational system will also provide one’s access to a 90-day complimentary subscription to real-time XM NavTraffic, XM NavWeather, XM Sports scores and XM Stock updates. This is another first for a vehicle in this segment.

HD radio technology, with multicasting, is also available in the Sonata.  And the Sonata is available with a 400-watt AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system.



What Rocked:

There were so many standard features incorporated into this midsize sedan: XM radio, electronic traction control system, steering wheel mounted controls and Bluetooth connectivity. Hyundai is known for building value-priced vehicles. In addition to the pricing, we continue to rave over the upscale exterior styling and the ergonomically designed instrument panel.

Moreover, the smooth-shifting, six-speed automatic transmission is capable of garnering over 500 miles on one-tank of gas. Why pay a premium price for a hybrid with this type of gas mileage? Ironically, Hyundai will be launching it first hybrid soon, which will also be based off of the Sonata.

What We Hated:

While there isn’t much not to like about this Hyundai, the automaker has decided to forego outfitting the vehicle with a 6-cylinder engine, instead offering a 4-cylinder turbo, as an alternative. Also Hyundai needs to add some spunk to the design of the seat pattern on the base GLS we reviewed. The design of the seat pattern should compliment the new upscale appearance of the Hyundai GLS. Also with this vehicle moving upscale shouldn’t a push-button starter be standard equipment on the entire line up -- not just on certain trim levels? We also wondered why we couldn’t order the high-end Limited trim package with a manual transmission. Unlike the other trim packages, the Limited is only available with an automatic transmission.

Any Juice:

The snappy 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine, with its all-new 6-speed transmission, produces 198 horses (200 horses on the upgraded SE trim.)  Hyundai is adding a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo to the line up soon. This vehicle will incorporate dual exhausts to handle all 276 horses. 


The Verdict:

If you’re looking for a bread-and-butter midsize vehicle, the redesigned Sonata should be at the top of your shopping list. While we only reviewed the base Sonata GLS, we were extremely impressed with the fit-and-finish, the ride quality, the workmanship and the overall design of the vehicle.

Pricing for the Sonata starts around $19,900 and when fully optioned can run up to $28,300. Hyundai has made a gallant effort over the years to become one of the most respected brands in the industry with its good looks, value pricing and long-term, industry-leading warranties.

Furthermore, the Sonata also offers more passenger room and cargo room than any of its competitors. And yes, we also believe it’s among the most stylish out of the bunch.

Competition:

Chevy Mailbu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Mazda6, Mercury Milan, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Suzuki Kizashi

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