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2011 Hyundai Sonata Photo
8.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
BASE
INVOICE
$18,593
BASE
MSRP
$19,395
Quick Take
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata takes some smart styling and performance risks to raise its profile. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

Interesting and stylish, the Sonata offers an engaging mix of traditional sedan and four-door coupe rolled into one.

Autoblog »

We see more than a little Volkswagen Passat CC and the Mercedes-Benz CLS in the roofline as the Sonata's designers look to pay homage to the four-door coupe styling rage, but the sleek look is for more than just show.

Motor Trend »

The resulting huge gaping maw in the front of this vehicle only needs a few rows of baleen and it could strain the oceans for plankton (better opt for a dark hue to hide it).

Inside Line »

Classy interior and smooth-operating, firm-feeling controls were more like you'd expect in a near-luxury car. Even just operating the turn signal stalk or pulling the shift lever into gear could generate a tiny shiver of delight.

USA Today »

The interior is tastefully and ergonomically styled with only a small amount of cheap plastic around the controls.

Automobile »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$19,395 $27,245
MSRP $19,395
INVOICE $18,593 Browse used listings in your area
4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS
Gas Mileage 24 mpg City/35 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas I4, 2.4L
EPA Class Large Cars
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
8.6 out of 10
Browse Hyundai Sonata inventory in your area.

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The Basics:

It’s true in cars as it’s true in politics—to rise above the clutter, you need to make a dramatic statement. While Hyundai won’t be telling anyone it can “see Russia from its house!” anytime soon, it’s given its mainstream, mid-size Sonata a refreshing new look and a new mission.

The goal: to dislodge some Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion buyers (along with shoppers considering the Camry, Malibu and Accord) and bring them into the Hyundai fold.

So, how’s the hopey-changey thing working out for the big Hyundai four-door? Very well, thanks. Sales are the best ever, and it’s largely a matter of the right look, matching up with the right features and the right fuel-economy number on the sticker. The Sonata’s ditched formality for fab new lines, inside and out. It’s skipping the V-6 route and instead fitting the car with a four-cylinder that rates up to 35 mpg—a little lower if it’s fitted with a turbocharger, considerably more if it’s teamed with Hyundai’s new hybrid technology. In any version it meets our performance expectations; both the Hybrid and 2.0T versions thrill us beyond the norms, for their own distinct reasons.

Inside, there’s more usable room than ever, and it’s finished in an agreeable way, though we’d love to see softer seats and a little less gloss black plastic. The steering could use some more refinement in feel, too. It works great in sweeping turns, but wanders a touch on some highway surfaces. While they’re at it, Hyundai needs to buckle down on interior noise. On asphalt roads, the Sonata’s low rolling resistance tires generate lots of noise, overpowering even the good mid-level speakers.

You’ll probably overlook those minor flaws given the Sonata’s extremely smart pricing. All this space, frugality and good looks can be had for less than $20,000—and comes with USB, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. The turbo version adds more than 80 horsepower, but only raises the price to about $25,000 base. The Hybrid will earn around 39-40 mpg in highway driving—with a base price of about $26,000, not much more than the much smaller Honda Civic Hybrid.

Likes:

  • Zoomy new styling
  • Fuel-conscious in all forms
  • Well-damped ride
  • Big standard features list
  • Huge value for the dollar

Dislikes:

  • Inconsistent steering feel
  • Seats feel rather firm
  • Cabin gets noisy at higher speeds
  • If you have to have a V-6, you’re out of luck
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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