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Hyundai Sonata

Risen to the top.

HYBRID

The Sonata is the most important car in Hyundai’s lineup, so the company has a lot riding on the model, which was completely redesigned for 2011. Like all the Korean carmaker’s recently launched models, the Sonata is truly a world-class effort that helps wipe away any memories of the heinous Hyundais of a couple decades ago. The mid-size Sonata is at or near the top of its class in a broad range of categories — some you might expect (low price, fuel economy) and some you might not (power, torque, interior space, driving dynamics). The volume engine is a 198-hp, 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder (200 hp in the SE model, which has dual exhausts). Instead of an optional six-cylinder, the Sonata’s more potent engine is a 274-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Filling out the lineup is the 206-hp Hybrid model, which costs about $6000 more and sports a strangely aquatic face. It boasts fuel-economy ratings of 35/40 mpg city/highway and bangs heads with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid. The styling of the Sonata is a big step up from that of its predecessor, with nice proportions and an elegant arc that sweeps from front to rear, although the distorted-looking grille can take some getting used to. Add in a low price, and the Sonata is one of the stronger contenders in its hypercompetitive class.

COMPETITORS

Ford Fusion

Honda Accord

Nissan Altima

Toyota Camry

new for 2013

The two-pane panoramic sunroof is now available only on Limited models, which now get a traditional smaller sunroof as standard equipment. Also, heated seats are now standard on all Sonatas except for the base GLS.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, front side, and side curtain air bags; active front head restraints; ABS; traction and stability control; the Blue Link telematics system; electronic brake-force distribution; and tire-pressure monitors are standard on all Sonatas.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 22–35

HWY 34–40

PRO

A star in a tough segment

Excellent fuel mileage

Fantastic warranty

CON

Steering feel is artificial

Brakes aren’t very confidence inspiring

Base Price Range: $21,670–$28,370

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: GLS, SE, SE 2.0T, Hybrid, Limited, Limited 2.0T

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 2.0L turbo I-4, 274 hp, 269 lb-ft

2.4L I-4, 198/200 hp, 184/186 lb-ft

2.4L I-4/electric hybrid, 206 hp, 195 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 103.8 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 16.4 cu ft

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