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TheCarConnection.com's editors have prepared this preview of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata from official information released at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show. Editors will update this story and bring you a first drive as soon as the new Sonata sedan is available for press previews.
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is making its world debut today at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show.
- Zoomy new styling
- Entertainment options galore
- Turbo, Hybrid versions coming
- Will buyers accept no V-6?
- Interior is stylish--but not everyone's style
The sixth generation sedan is set to go on sale in 2010, and it's taking an aggressive styling and performance stance as it tries to woo away shoppers from the likes of the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and even the Mazda6. The 2011 Sonata will be offered in four-cylinder form--with a turbocharged four in the works, as well as a hybrid--but in an interesting twist of marketing, it's not going to be offered with a V-6 engine, at least initially. Priced from about $20,000, the new sedan will compete with those other big-selling sedans as well as Hyundai's own Azera front-driver.
The new car was designed and developed in Hyundai's Orange County, California offices, and shows a design flair that's been absent from the model's repertoire. It adopts a new "fluidic sculpture" design language. It's a daring look for what will be the brand's "family" sedan--with lots of curves and arcs accentuated by a deep sculptural strake in its side. Hyundai says the high beltline and chrome grill give it far more presence than the current 2010 Sonata. The interior shares some themes with the big Hyundai Genesis sedan, including flanks of vents around a big LCD screen atop the dash, though the new Sonata has even more dramatic sculpturing in its steering wheel and dash cap.
As compelling as it looks, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is breaking ground in powertrain choices. It will launch, at least initially, without the V-6 option that's immensely popular in all its competitors. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder will make 198 horsepower, thanks to direct injection and other advanced engine technology. A turbocharged 2.0-liter version of the same four-cylinder will be added to the Sonata lineup next year, Hyundai promises, and then a hybrid version crafted from the 2.4-liter engine and lithium-ion batteries will be introduced. Both gas-only engines will be offered with a new six-speed automatic transmission; a six-speed manual will be standard on base versions. Hyundai says the Sonata will rate 23/35 mpg with the automatic, 23/34 mpg with the manual. Hyundai's also putting some attention to the Sonata's handling: an SE version with 200 hp is planned, and the sedan's multi-link rear suspension will be retuned in SE trim for better responses. The SE also will add 18-inch wheels and tires to the base car's 17-inchers; 19-inch wheels will be available.