The all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata isn’t due to make its U.S. debut until the 2010 Detroit Auto Show in January but already we have the first tentative details about its American specifications. The big shocker is that the car will likely miss out on a V-6 engine option, instead being offered with a four-cylinder engine only at the initial launch and then a gasoline-electric hybrid option towards the end of next year.
The four-cylinder engine destined for the new Sonata is based on the current model’s 2.4-liter unit but gets a few nifty features to boost performance and fuel economy. Dubbed the 2.4-liter Theta II GDI, the new mill will even come with gasoline-direct injection--a feature not normally found in this segment.
The current 2009 Sonata gets 175-horsepower and fuel economy of 22/32 mpg city/highway, so expect the 2011 model’s numbers to better this.
Why the change? Only about 15% of Sonatas currently built are V-6 models. Then there are the new fuel economy and emissions regulations to deal with. Furthermore, Hyundai is also expected to drop the V-6 option from its upcoming 2010 Tucson SUV.