By on October 5, 2009

YF_NF

Hyundai’s on a roll. It wasn’t too long ago that the only things its cars generated were pollution and repair bills. Today, however, Hyundai cars are generating awards, increased sales, and most importantly, opinions. Read the comments section of any post on anything Hyundai, and people will have something to say. Many have good things to say, some do not. In either case, Hyundai has changed something: people care enough about its cars to have an opinion.

Take the new [2011 model year in the US market] Sonata. Much has been said about it already. Most of it has been positive. Some of it has been negative. But all of it has been good for Hyundai. As Madonna has proven time and time again, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

I spent a couple of hours with a production model of the 2010 Y20 Sonata in Korea recently and I too came away with a strong opinion. Namely, that Hyundai should be proud.

YN, face to face

The next-generation Sonata is better than the outgoing model in every objective measure. It’s bigger, lighter, quieter, safer, roomier, more powerful, more fuel efficient, and emits less CO2, if you’re into that kind of thing. On these points, the numbers don’t lie.

When it comes to subjective measures however, the picture becomes less clear. We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Having said that however, some things are universally good-looking; Liz Hurley, Keira Knightley, and the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL fall into this category. The Sonata is no Liz Hurley. But then, it’s not a Pontiac Aztek, either.

The grill is an especialy polarizing point. There are those who like it, those who don’t, and those who have reserved judgment until seeing it in the flesh, so to speak. Having seen the new Sonata in the flesh, the subjective eye of this beholder was surprised by its beauty.

Face-to-face, the Sonata’s snout manages to be bold without crossing into garishness. Above all else, it lends the Sonata something it’s always lacked: a personality. In comparison, the grill on the Genesis Coupe looks stifled and the Genesis Sedan’s grill feels stodgy. In short, Hyundai got it just about right.

Another thing a lot of people have been talking about is the Sonata’s derivative styling. For those people, I offer the following:

One of these burgers is a Quarter Pounder, the other is a Whopper. Although they both have a top bun with sesame seeds, a plain bottom bun, and a meat patty in between, they have enough individual character, both in appearance and flavor, to set them apart from one another. The new Sonata is the same way. Yes, it looks similar to other cars on the road today, but it finally has a character and a flavor all its own that sets it apart.

The car I drove was a Y20 Top Super Deluxe model which retails for 27.85 million Korean won (about $23,000 US). As you might imagine, this model comes with a long list of features. That list is so long in fact that instead of putting it here, I  have translated the entire price guide and options list [doc format] from Korean into English.

The dealership I visited for a test drive is near a highway onramp, so it was a right turn off the lot and another one onto the highway. The car I drove was equipped with Hyundai’s 2.0 liter four cylinder Theta engine. In fact, it’s the only power plant currently available in the Korean market Sonata. It’s rated at 165 horsepower (up from 163 last year) and 30 miles per gallon combined (up from 27 mpg last year).

Throttle tip-in seemed overly sensitive, but that was probably more my fault than the car’s. The car I drove had Hyundai’s newest six-speed automatic and apart from a 1979 Lincoln Continental I used to have when I was in college, I’ve never owned an automatic. My preference would be for the six-speed manual, but sadly it’s only available in the base model in Korea. With the automatic, the engine was turning just 1,500 rpm at 50 mph in sixth gear and the cabin was as quiet as Marcel Marceau in a bank vault. At higher speeds however, around 70 or 80 mph, I did notice some wind noise, particularly from around the A pillars.

YF interior

Independent research done for Hyundai during the Sonata’s development found its wind noise levels to be 63.1 decibels. Unfortunately, that research didn’t say at what speed that level was recorded. For reference, that same independent research measured the wind levels of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord at 63.5 and 64.5 decibels, respectively. On paper at least, the new Sonata is quieter than both the Camry and the Accord. In the real world, I can attest to the cabin being nearly silent at speeds up to 60 or 65 mph, but over that, I was surprised at the amount of wind noise. This is something that other reviewers in Korea have noticed as well. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Honda dealership where I live and the Camry won’t be available in Korea until the end of October, so I couldn’t make a back-to-back real-world comparison. The table below shows how the new Sonata stacks up against its competition and against the outgoing model, at least on paper.

Previous Sonata          Current Sonata            Accord                  Camry

Wind Noise (dBA)          63.5                         63.1                     64.5            63.5

Road Noise (dBA)           70.0                        69.5                    73.5            68.0

In terms of performance, putting the pedal, which is the same ‘organ-style’ pedal as in the Genesis sedan, to the metal provided a smooth and prompt kick-down. The acceleration was good, but nothing to write home about and the engine sounded slightly overworked. The 201 horsepower 2.4 GDI engine will be available starting in January and I suspect it will remedy both these shortcomings. On top of being more powerful than the two-liter engine I drove, at 31 mpg combined, it gets better gas mileage, too.

A six-cylinder model is not available in Korea, but I’m sure the 3.3 liter 249 hp engine currently available in U.S. models will carry over and be tweaked for more power and better fuel economy when the car debuts in the States next year. That same engine in the Korean domestic Genesis sedan already makes 262 hp, so it should be an easy enough matter to pop it into the new Sonata. Having said that however, as I write this, there have been Internet mumblings and rumblings saying that because only 15% of previous generation Sonatas sold in the U.S. were equipped with the V6, Hyundai is considering dropping it as an engine option. I hope this is NOT the case. I don’t know if Hyundai can afford to turn its back on the 15% of people who did opt for the V6 in the old, rather humdrum Sonata. With the flash and dash exterior of the new car, people might be expecting a little more get-up-and-go and be disappointed, like I was, by the performance, and sound, of the four cylinder. Does anyone remember the Pontiac Fiero? It was all flash and no dash when it first came out. Besides, even if I buy a four cylinder, I like knowing that the company that makes my car has enough engineering prowess (spelt b-a-l-l-s) to build and offer a V6, even if it is superfluous in a car this size. Maybe Hyundai has something else up its sleeve. Wait and see, I guess.

gauges(¿œπ›)During my test drive, I had the good fortune to pull alongside another new Sonata. It was a lower trim level that had the standard 16-inch alloy wheels (my test-drive car had optional 17-inch alloys with 215/55 R17 rubber). I must say that with the 16-inch wheels, the wheel wells look as empty as the L.A. Clipper’s clubhouse at playoff time. The wheels themselves look nice enough; it’s just that since the Sports model comes with 18-inch wheels, the designers had to make the wheel wells big enough to accommodate 18 inches and that leaves way too much room when equipped with the 16-inch wheels.

The interior of the new Sonata is not as revolutionary as the exterior. Instead, it is a nice evolution of the previous interior which now looks a little pudgy in comparison. The new model comes with a foot-operated electronic parking brake which has allowed Hyundai to position the shift lever closer to the driver. This move frees up a bit more room on the center console and makes it easier to access the storage bin, power outlet, and USB jack below the HVAC controls.

Perhaps the biggest change in the new interior is the gauges. The new gauges are, for lack of a better word, more engaging than those in the previous generation car. The car I drove was equipped with the Supervision Cluster which offers a higher contrast display and upgraded driver information center over the standard cluster. Both clusters come with ‘floating’ digital temperature and fuel gauges positioned in the center of the tachometer and speedometer. This not only looks good, but it’s also a good use of space.

The driver information center in both of these sets of guages displays instant and gauges(∞̱fi)average fuel economy, distance to empty, average speed, and so on, but the Supervision Cluster offers the information in a larger, clearer, and more interactive format. This is due to the Supervision Cluster’s 3.5-inch TFT screen located between the tachometer and the speedometer. It does a wonderful job of displaying useful information, clearly, quickly, and dare I say it, in a intruiging way. The display graphics are so well done that I often found myself paying more attention to them than to the road. Just don’t tell Ray LaHood.

The interior plastics range from good to high quality. Some are a little hard and ‘plasticy’ for my liking, but fortunately nothing looks like it has come from the Tic Tac factory. This interior is far and away the best available in Korea in its class, and leaps and bounds better than the outgoing Sonata. If the last model seemed like a good start, the new Sonata seals the deal.

Hyundai has said that it hopes to do with this generation Sonata what Ford did with the first-generation Taurus, namely turn the entire automobile industry on its ear. The first-generation Taurus was unlike anything else on the road, a game changer for the entire car industry. Though the Y20 Sonata probably won’t change the entire industry the way the Taurus did, it also doesn’t need to. The road from Hyundai’s modest roots to this car was one of steady, incremental progress. This Sonata is merely an improvement on the last one, but it’s also the culmination of years of experience and development. In short, the perfect symbol of Hyundai’s transformation.

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92 Comments on “Test Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Y20 [Korean-Spec]...”


  • avatar

    Based on the photos, I’m more a fan of the new interior than the new exterior. But I’ll grant that the latter will make the car much less anonymous than the current Sonata.

    Nothing on handling? I gather there were no curves to speak of on the test loop.

    The current Sonata has required few repairs according to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. If the 2011 proves to be a popular car–and Hyundai sales have been relatively strong lately–we could have a quick initial reliability stat for it.

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php

  • avatar
    rockit

    People who make negative comments about Hyundai mostly have questioned there current LONG TERM (Hyundai’s at 60,000+ miles have not done well) reliability which is still in question.

    This “review” just like the mediocre Kia Forte one a few months back, seems to offer a lot of commercial like praise and strangely does not mention handling in the write up.

    The new Sonata does look better than the old one at least. Even with that front end.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I too would be curious to hear more about handling. The looks of the car are great. Sure, it’s derivative styling, but it looks good! Also, since it borrows from a number of other cars, it’s not quite as vanilla as it might have been. A back handed compliment I suppose, but a compliment nonetheless.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I suspect that high on the design brief was the goal: Make it look more expensive than it is. If so, Hyundai is taking a page from the Honda design manual. Smart move.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    People who make negative comments about Hyundai mostly have questioned there current LONG TERM (Hyundai’s at 60,000+ miles have not done well) reliability which is still in question.

    One point of note: Phil Edmonston, who writes the Canada-centric Lemon Aid series bought (in 2003) and still recommends the Hyundai Elantra**. Lemon Aid is far harsher on a car’s reliability than Consumer Reports would ever hope to be, taking note of things like NHTSA complaint patterns and such that CR does not consider.

    I think that, if someone like Edmonston can get behind Hyundai, that the long-term reliability issue is more in the minds of people who either haven’t kept up, or have something to prove.

    ** Over the Civic and Corolla, I might add. Edmonston is no import apologist, not by a long shot. He’s not a Hyundai apologist, either, having taken them to task for their horsepower misstatements of a few years back.

    • 0 avatar
      smylmakrr

      I am breathing a sigh of relief as I read your post. After painstakingly weeding out all of the econo-boxes I chose the Elantra as my 16 year old’s first car. I’m not one to put up with multiple repair issues on my car so the warranty and consumer satisfaction record sucked me right in. I haven’t yet taken possession of the vehicle but have a good feeling about my choice now. I’ll be sure to take the time to read something from the critic you mentioned.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The front looks a little awkward but the rest looks fine. But then again, I guess that is subjective as I also don’t share your aesthetic appreciation of Ms Knightly or Ms Hurley.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    does anyone really care about handling? in these cars? seriously?

    it’s a fwd sedan… it’s not gonna carve up the nurburgring in 7’28″…

    just not that interested if it weighs 3,500lb and only has a 2.4 four…

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    What is surprising in this “Family Car” segment that includes the 400,000 Accords and 450,000 Camrys sold every year,

    is that SEDANS are so popular, while Family needs would be far better satisfied in a WAGON!

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @ Rockit

    Like the throttle tip-in on the new Sonata, I might be overly sensitive b/c this is my first review, but I don’t think it was full of “commercial-like praise.”

    I called it out for not offering a manual in anything but the base model (in Korea), for being underpowered (with the 2.0), for not offering a V6 (in Korea and maybe also in the States), and for being noisy (over 65 mph).

    As to the handling (or rather the lack of it in my review), perhaps that WAS an oversight on my part… again, this is my first kick at the cat. But I do like what @TonyJZX said, “does anyone really care about handling? in these cars? seriously? it’s a fwd sedan… it’s not gonna carve up the nurburgring in 7′28″”

    Let me go back to my notes and see what I can come up with on the new car’s handling, and maybe it can be added to my post as an update or made into a new post.

    Finally, about Hyundai’s at 60,000+ miles… In Korea, the average person puts on only 7,500 miles per year (small country with exceptional public transportation and high fuel costs). The average age of a car on the road in Korea today is between 6 and 7 years. That means that, in Korea at least, a car only has to last about 52,000 miles. Obviously, Hyundai needs to tailor their cars to the market they want to sell in, and I think take steps toward that with their increased quality and 10-year warranty in the States.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Ask Daniel J. Stern if you want to know why blue instrumentation lights suck.

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @ carguy…

    Ok, so you’re not into Liz Hurley or Keira Knightly, but you’ve got to agree with me on the ’56 M/B Gullwing, right?

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @Martin Schwoerer…

    I always thought Daniel J. Stern just had it in for blue HEADLIGHTS? Does he also talk about blue IP lights, too?

  • avatar
    carve

    The crease down the side reminds me of my 3-series, or a TSX. The interior reminds me of a Lexus RX. Other than the droopy front bumper, good looking car. Hopefully they didn’t have to sacrifice too much under the skin to pull this off at this price point (like VW often does)

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @TonyJZX…

    The new Sonata is rated at 3,240 pounds with the 2.0 liter engine and the 6-speed auto. The manual is rated about 25 pounds lighter.

    I have no idea the weight of the 2.4 engine.

    Also, does anyone know anything about published car weights? Specifically, how are they done? I presume they are ‘wet’ weights, but how wet? Full tank? Also, certain options are bound to add weight, like the 3-piece glass sunroof and power seats, no?

  • avatar
    speedbump47

    TonyJZX (and Walter):

    Even in this segment, handling (in comparison to others in the segment) is still important to people. Sure, it’ll be blown out by a Vette or 300ZX in handling, but does a Corolla or Civic have more steering feel? Better braking? Mushy suspension?

    Regardless of segment, compromises must be made with respect to seat of the pants and steering feel, so I think it’d be important to at least show some comparison; whether anecdotal or numerically supported.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Autosavant :

    What is surprising in this “Family Car” segment that includes the 400,000 Accords and 450,000 Camrys sold every year,

    is that SEDANS are so popular, while Family needs would be far better satisfied in a WAGON!

    All car fans want to see more wagons, it’s just that most of us don’t actually buy them. AS for the public…

    Subaru manages to sell wagons in good numbers, but when other manufacturers tinker, they don’t sell so well.

    Just ask Mazda how Mazda6 wagon sales went a few years ago. Total disaster. People that bought them love them. All 8 of them.

    Same goes for Ford’s attempts with the Flex/Taurus X/Freestyle, really. Too wagon, not enough SUV for American consumers. That, and the Freestyle/Taurus X were boring as sin and the Flex is too expensive.

    Raised wagon/crossovers seem to be the only wagons that are palatable to families. And Hyundai cranks out plenty of those (Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Tuscon, Hyundai Veracruz, Kia Sportage, Kia Sorrento, Kia Borrego).

  • avatar
    Seth L

    I’m trying to say something sarcastic about how this looks like a camry solara and VW CC’s love child, but it isn’t happening.

    Interior does indeed look nice.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “Justin Berkowitz :
    October 5th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Autosavant :

    What is surprising in this “Family Car” segment that includes the 400,000 Accords and 450,000 Camrys sold every year,

    is that SEDANS are so popular, while Family needs would be far better satisfied in a WAGON!

    All car fans want to see more wagons, it’s just that most of us don’t actually buy them. AS for the public…”

    Most buyers of Camrys are NOT car fans. Those of us that do not have families beyond a spouse and a child, can do just as well with less $ to buy and even less to operate the vehicle with a compact CIVIC or COrolla or Jetta Diesel.

    “Subaru manages to sell wagons in good numbers, but when other manufacturers tinker, they don’t sell so well.”

    True, maybe because its sedans are even uglier than its wagons.

    “Just ask Mazda how Mazda6 wagon sales went a few years ago. Total disaster. People that bought them love them. All 8 of them.”

    NO mazda was ever successful, and Mazdas are largely rebadged Fords anyway. the Accord and Camry did offer wagons, but the minivans, and now the obese and fuel-thirsty crossovers (which are nothing but tall, obese, AWD wagons) have killed them.

    “Same goes for Ford’s attempts with the Flex/Taurus X/Freestyle, really. Too wagon, not enough SUV for American consumers. That, and the Freestyle/Taurus X were boring as sin and the Flex is too expensive.”

    None of this explains WHY. I was aware of the fact that Families buy Accords and Camrys SEDANS and not wagons, I was curious WHY.

    “Raised wagon/crossovers seem to be the only wagons that are palatable to families. And Hyundai cranks out plenty of those (Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Tuscon, Hyundai Veracruz, Kia Sportage, Kia Sorrento, Kia Borrego).”

    $4.50 gas in summer 2008 turned the best seller table (top 10 and top 20) on its head, and had the F-150, after of 2o full years of being no 1, plummet to no. 5 in May 08, below all of the big 4 (Camry, Accord, Civic and Corolla).

    $4.50 gas will do it again, and this time rid us of the stupid crossovers, the same way it rid us of the StupidUglyVehicles and the 100,000s of pickups bought by those who never needed one.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    BMW and Audi had beautiful wagons offered in the 3 and 5 series as well in the 4 and 6. Now they prefer to make more money offering obese crossovers and “activity” (LOL) vehicles. Again, give me $5 gas and these beautiful wagons will reappear in no time.

    Perhaps Honda and TOyota could hire an Audi or BMW designer to design a BEAUTIFUL Wagon version of the Camry or the Accord and not some POS like the god-awful VENZA, and then they would sell a ton of them.

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @speedbump47…

    Very valid points. I’ll check my notes and/or drive the car again and come up with something on handling.

    I won’t be able to compare it to the Toyota products as they are not available in Korea yet, nor can I compare it to the Honda products, as there is not a Honda dealership where I live.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I’ve driven a few different Hyundais and they all had a terrible, soft, bouncy suspension that made anything over 65mph very sketchy. I am curious if they are changing this at all as they seem to improve everything else year after year.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    BMW and Audi had beautiful wagons offered in the 3 and 5 series as well in the 4 and 6.

    They still do.

    “NO mazda was ever successful, and Mazdas are largely rebadged Fords anyway.”

    Wrong. Ever hear of the Miata? Also, they may share platforms and some components with Ford and vice versa, but no Mazda (excepting the Tribute and B-series truck) was ever a badge job.

  • avatar
    menno

    Good and unbiased write-up. Thanks for that. I’m impressed.

    I’ve seriously been considering one of these for the future – but I am also considering a Subaru Forester since Michigan (and much of the rest of the USA) has had 15 degrees colder temperatures than normal pretty much all year (after 5 months of snow on the ground last winter) – and I suspect that, due to the solar minima (i.e. lack of solar flares / COLD SUN = COLD EARTH), I may be wanting all wheel drive for northwestern Michigan winters after all…. despite “managing” my whole life without all wheel drive.

    The ’08 Prius will be gone soon enough, I suspect within a year. We’ll be keeping our ’09 Sonata. I like it.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    is that SEDANS are so popular, while Family needs would be far better satisfied in a WAGON!

    No, because anyone with a family can instantly see the benefits of the higher roofline of a minivan, crossover or whatever-the-hell-the-Kia-Rondo-is. With a high-roofer you get much more space for a smaller exterior footprint, far easier ingress/egress and easier sightlines.

    Minivans, not crossovers, killed the full-size station wagon because they’re better in every way that matters to the people who would buy station wagons in quantity. Hell, the low-roof wagon only exists because we went through a protracted “Long, Low and Sleek” period starting about the mid-1950s.

    You’ll note that, even in Europe, low-roof wagons and hatchbacks are disappearing in favour of “space wagons” like the aforementioned Rondo.

    Minivans were subsequently displaced by SUVs because people are insecure and marketers played to that insecurity since there was real money in doing so: it’s a lot cheaper to build a truck-based SUV than a unibody minivan or wagon. Crossovers happened when people realized that body-on-frame, rear-drive trucks really do suck to drive.

    I don’t think you’ll see the low-roof wagon around much longer, except in subcompacts (which need the space) and premium marques (who can make up for the lack of volume with margin and their market’s more eclectic tastes). Much like the manual transmission, actually.

  • avatar
    vassilis

    Regardless of how the styling and especially the grill look in the flesh (the grill I think is an extremely smart design) , this Hyundai is (and most probablt will be) able to compete in the segment succesfully worldwide.

    In Europe, if they offer in (late) 2010 the new 1.6 liter engines, Opel, VW, Skoda, Seat, Peugeot, Renault, Mazda, Nissan, Honda should worry. As for handling, I cannot imagine that it is high on the agenda of interested customers.
    Excellent first impressions review.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    “Throttle tip-in seemed overly sensitive, but that was probably more my fault than the car’s.”

    To me, sensitive tip-in is extremely frustrating and its presence or absence is my #1 consideration when deciding how much I like an automatic transmission. Please don’t gloss it over.

    Kudos for lightening the car and being aggressive with the styling. Does it compromise interior comfort, especially in the back?

  • avatar
    pauldun170

    I drive a Madza6 wagon.

    You would never have know they made them since Mazda didn’t advertise them much and rare was it that a dealer had it on the showroom floor.

    Same goes for Malibu Maxx we also checked out.
    Had to walk to the back of the lot (only after convincing the salesperson that we DID NOT want a SUV)

    Millions are spent on telling people how SUV….er I mean CUV….oops I mean Crossovers are the PERFECT family vehicle and that decades worth of drivers were wrong in picking station wagons.

    If you have a family, wagons work. If you need more space….go for the minivan.

    and guess what…regular old sedans work as family cars as well.
    who’d a thought

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “PartsUnknown :
    October 5th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    BMW and Audi had beautiful wagons offered in the 3 and 5 series as well in the 4 and 6.

    They still do.”

    I was talking about the USA market, of course. I am aware they still do overseas, even my yougner cousin has a 320 Wagon and they like it a lot (wife and Kids 1 and 3 years old)

    “NO mazda was ever successful, and Mazdas are largely rebadged Fords anyway.”

    “Wrong. Ever hear of the Miata? ”

    How much % of All mazda sales is this Chick car I can barely fit in (and I am only 6 1″)? 10%? Not even that. So, even assuming the Miata was a huge hit, you at best can say that what I wrote was “10% wrong”.

    And in fact, right after I posted it, I bet somebody would bring up the stupid Miata.

    I would never bother looking at that supposedly reliable copy of 60s english roadsters. All yours.

    “Also, they may share platforms and some components with Ford and vice versa, but no Mazda (excepting the Tribute and B-series truck) was ever a badge job.”

    They have a ton of common components. Even just sharing a platform is bad enough in my book.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “psarhjinian :
    October 5th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    is that SEDANS are so popular, while Family needs would be far better satisfied in a WAGON!

    No, because anyone with a family can instantly see the benefits of the higher roofline of a minivan, crossover or whatever-the-hell-the-Kia-Rondo-is. With a high-roofer you get much more space for a smaller exterior footprint, far easier ingress/egress and easier sightlines.”

    Duh, you are 20 years out of date. Minvians WERE popular then, but after a decade or so, Soccer moms decided they clashed with their wardrobe, and went to the STUPID SUVs and Crossovers.

    I was referring to tall wagons anyway, but not obese AWD crossovers. You can do a tall wagon and actually it will weigh LESS than a longer, wider and not tall wagon.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Most cars today are much taller than they used to be anyway.

    Height is the cheapest dimension, as any efficiency expert will immediately recognize from geometry etc considerations. BUT USEFUL Height, not SUV height that is 100% eclipsed by the higher ground clearance.

    Most older people also prefer the higher seating position that you do not have to SINK into, but “parallel park” their aching skeletons on the seat.

    All of this still does not even begin to answer my original question, WHY do most people still buy the STUPID SEDANS, when they are looking for a FAMILY Vehicle such as the Accord or the Camry, and they do not demand an EFFICIENT (Tall if you like) WAGON that is NOT a 4,600 lb giant Odyssey or Sienna Minivan and NOT a STUPID SUV or Crossover?

    Again, $4.50 gas will make people rational once again, just as it did in May 08, and may waken the automakers to produce FIT, tall wagons that can take all the stuff of a family of 4 in COMFORT, with no gypsy-like piles of stuff on the roof or towed.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Honda used to offer an outstanding little, lightweight tall wagon CIvic in the 80s, with a rare for the times efficvient 6 speed manual. That was NOT the civic hatch but a 5 door wagon with a far higher roofline than the civic hatch, which until the 92s (and even beyond) was quite short, more stylish perhaps but not very good for a family’s worth of stuff.

    Honda may want to take another look at that efficient design and have something similar next time gas goes to $4. Today’s Fit is the closest to that design.

  • avatar
    menno

    Why the hate-rant against sedans, autosavant?

    Sedans made up a huge portion of the auto market since 1923 when Hudson introduced the (finally affordable) closed Essex 2 door “coach”. Most cars were open touring cars before that.

    Four door sedans became popular (except for car tests in “enthusiast” magazine) because – duh – it is a lot easier for rear passengers to get in and out.

    When Ford started making Fordors in Model T’s, it didn’t take long for the 4 door sedan market to “take over”.

    Prior to WWII, station wagons were solely for the wealthy, since they were low-production, wood based, etc.

    But back to the present; some folks don’t NEED nor do they WANT tall vehicles because the taller the vehicle, the more frontal area and the worse the mileage. At least, that is my thinking.

    Which is also why I’m vaguely considering the Subaru Outback or whatever that “lower” Subie station wagon is, as well as the Forester. Along with this new Sonata (which hasn’t AWD, alas – it’d be no contest if it did).

    I have virtually no interest, personally, in SUV’s or crossovers per se. The Subaru Forester seems to have attributes that I like, including the low-ish center of gravity enhanced by the opposed engine design. (It may not make a lot of difference in the real world, I don’t know, but it does prove they had their thinking caps on when at design table – though the earliest opposed four Subies from the 1960’s were pretty much a copy of Borgward’s Lloyd technological lay-out).

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    I really don’t know what it is about your blog software and my achy ol browser, but being confronted with a 1.5-monitor-wide cheeseburger on the front page is fairly terrifying and makes me doubt my sanity.

  • avatar
    menno

    Re: the wind noise? I have to wonder if it’s because the car is so quiet that once the speed increases, and the wind noise intrudes, it’s only noticeable because the car is so quiet at lower (sub-65mph) speeds?

    In other words, it’d be less noticeable if the car were LOUDER below 65mph even if over 65mph, it was exactly as loud.

    Needless to say, the 2012 Sonata will need reshaped mirrors (or how about little cameras and in-door LCD’s replacing the stupid mirrors?).

    Of course, since mirrors are possibly going to be different on the Montgomery built cars, it may not be the case for cars sold in the states.

    (I say that because the Montgomery plant doesn’t build cars with fold-down side mirrors – they are fixed, since these cars are shipped on wide US trucks, not crammed into close quarters on ships from South Korea to a US port).

    Edit: In fact, look at the top photo again. Both the 2010 Korean spec Sonata (on the left) and the 2011 car (on the right) have mirrors placed into the “fold away” (or “fold up” in the case of the 2011 car) position.

    Once again; my wife has a 2009 (identical to short-term only 2010) Sonata but it is built in Montgomery Alabama. The mirrors are different and externally do not move/fold/fold up. Alas, if you bump something (like get to close while backing into the garage) and catch it – it breaks off and you end up ordering parts from the dealer! (There are supposed advantages to the swing-away type though I did bash the 2002 Sonata which did have swing-aways by accidentally bumping the side of the garage door opening and it broke anyway)

  • avatar
    dean

    autosavant: there is no post counter here. Please consider combining your thoughts into fewer posts. And please consider if it is REALLY necessary to emphasize your posts with such liberal helpings of all caps. It is easy to italicize words that you wish to emphasize.

    Regarding your earlier statement: The 3 has also been a very successful car for Mazda. I’m not sure how well it fares in the US, but in Canada it is one of the best-selling cars overall.

    I do agree with you that a wagon would be a suitable vehicle for more people, but there are numerous reasons why they don’t sell. Others have done a great job spelling them out.

    Edit: the Sonata looks pretty good. I even like the exterior. I would seriously shop one of these if I was in the market for a mid-size sedan.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    1. Writer said, he have not drove camry and accord.(he can’t compare with any other competiotrs. especially noise part)

    2. Writer said, this a first car review. (he is a amteur. he is neither pro mag driver nor well experienced driver)

  • avatar
    njdave

    Hyundai’s current Sonata has very abrupt throttle response as well. My wife drives one, and I have a terrible time trying to drive it smoothly when I drive. I am sure that if I drove it all the time, I would get used to it and smooth out, but I don’t drive it very often. I read an article once where the writer (a former GM engineer) suggested that companies put in non-linear throttles to make their cars seem more responsive and powerful than they really are. I think that may be true.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    TonyJZX :
    October 5th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    does anyone really care about handling? in these cars? seriously?

    I do. And I’d say anyone who buys an Accord does as well.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Styling is 100% subjective but I not only like the new Sonata I think it is by far the best styled entry in the segment. Far eclipes the Camry and anything far eclipses the ugly Accord.

    How did this turn into a thread about station wagons anyway?

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Styling is 100% subjective but I not only like the new Sonata I think it is by far the best styled entry in the segment. Far eclipes the Camry and anything far eclipses the ugly Accord.

    How did this turn into a thread about station wagons?

  • avatar
    threeer

    Not to go off on too far of a tangent…but “supposedly” reliable copy of 60s English roadsters?” Really? I’d cordially ask that autosavant review reliability data for the Miata…ANY year Miata and see how it proves out when it comes to reliability. And if by copy you mean two doors, four wheels, an engine in front and the drive wheels in back…then sure, the Miata is a copy. Kind of how a Volvo 240 copies a brick, I suppose (and I truly like the 240).

    And while Mazda certainly doesn’t enjoy Chevrolet-like numbers (now there is a guaranteed measure of success!), I’d contend that the Miata AND the Mazda3 have been successful.

    Full confession…I own none of the vehicles mentioned above, but I will say that the Sonata has been on and off of our radar for a while as a family hauler. I’m sure if my wife sees the newly styled one, it’ll be on her list to look at when we are in a position to consider a car a few years down the road. Heck, for that matter, I think the Accent SE 3-door with the factory aluminum rims, sunroof and 5-speed look awesome for a commuter car, but then, I’m partial to simple and basic hatchback transportation. And I know I’m very much in the minority in this country when it comes to that.

    Oh, and +3 on taking the time to thoughtfully combine points of discussion…

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    I was talking about the USA market, of course. I am aware they still do overseas

    So was I. Think before you post. Wagons are offered in the 3- and 5-series and in A4 and A6 variants. In the US.

    They have a ton of common components. Even just sharing a platform is bad enough in my book.

    Right, but that’s not what you said. Again, think before you post. You do realize that the majority of manufacturers share components across brands and/or subsidiaries, correct? Condemning Mazda and Ford for that practice is a little weak. Most would recognize that Ford’s investment in Mazda has been beneficial to both automakers from an engineering and product development standpoint. It doesn’t make Mazda a sales king, but they do make interesting cars. (I don’t own a Mazda).

  • avatar
    pauldun170

    Wasn’t it reported that Hyundai was dropping the V6 from the Sonata and sticking with 4’s (T and NA)?

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Having been a complete cynic for a very long time, I have to admit being interested in Hyundai’s lineup. However one thing is starting to worry me. Hyundai have always been considered the ‘budget price’ brands compared to the likes of Ford/Honda/Toyota who were the ‘middle price’ brands.
    Now when you look at the quoted prices of the new Sonata, it’ll put the vehicle in the same price bracket as a mid range Fusion or Camry. I think that Hyundai better start proving that their products can run rings around the likes of Ford and Toyota otherwise they’ll have a tough sell on their hands.

  • avatar
    YZS

    Where is Mr. s55 today? We need him to tell us again how much better his s55 is compared to these penalty boxes, which he would never consider, since you know, he drives an s55 and all that.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    There are so many people predicting a return to $4 gas and $150/barrel oil, the contrarian in me (especially since it meshes with my belief that the global economy is weakening, credit is becoming more scarce, joblessness rates are rising) puts a fiver on the table that we see sub $2 gasoline and sub $55/barrel oil for quite some time.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I, too, am interested in the suspension characteristics (note, I did not use the term handling) of the Y20. The US-market NF seemed very, very crashy and floaty. Before the ’09 update, the steering wheel would regularly twitch in your hands from bumps and, in the V6, torque steer. I always thought the NF was a 95% finished car, and the guys in charge of the US suspension partied right before their work was due and rushed to finish it. I’m not even talking about enthusiast-style driving (whatever that is). These were all rental cars, mostly 4 cylinder models, driven on surface streets and highways in the normal manner.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    I suppose Hyundai figures people will go for the Azera if they really want a V6 in their sedans. Speaking of which, where is the Azera in all this? Did the Genesis take its place as the uplevel sedan above the Sonata or does the Azera still have a place in the lineup?

    The exterior is gorgeous and is a stark break away from the norm in that old XJ – new XJ kind of way. That said, I think manufacturing this car without a V6 is a mistake. Even though it’s a shrinking market, I believe there are quite a few people who’d want a V6 in their sedans without opting for something bigger.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      The Azera remains…soon to be restyled.  The Azera is targeted at the Toyota Avalon.  The Sonata the Camry.  The Genesis is targeted toward a RWD Lexus.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Autosavant : How much % of All mazda sales is this Chick car I can barely fit in (and I am only 6 1″)? 10%? Not even that. So, even assuming the Miata was a huge hit, you at best can say that what I wrote was “10% wrong”.

    And in fact, right after I posted it, I bet somebody would bring up the stupid Miata.

    I would never bother looking at that supposedly reliable copy of 60s english roadsters. All yours.

    To summarize: the Miata was not successful because you’re not interested in it and because Mazda sells a lot of other vehicles. Very convincing argument.

  • avatar
    SOF in training

    Menno:
    “though the earliest opposed four Subies from the 1960’s were pretty much a copy of Borgward’s Lloyd technological lay-out).”

    I think you will find that the Subie’s layout came from Borgward’s mid sized line : the Goliath had an 1100cc flat four for a couple of years before it was used as a 900cc in the Lloyd Arabella – Which then became the Borgward Arabella. Most Lloyds were 300 and 600cc twins.

    I know – Who cares? Just a bit of historical fluff.

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @Darth Lefty…

    Sorry about that. I sent in some very hi-res images with my story and I thought that they would be automatically resized. My bad.

  • avatar
    petergottlieb

    So, am I the only one who noticed just how similar this “new” gauge set up (with round LCD screens in the center) is to the current Volvo design?

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @v7rmp7li…

    1. Writer said, he have not drove camry and accord.(he can’t compare with any other competiotrs. especially noise part)

    2. Writer said, this a first car review. (he is a amteur. he is neither pro mag driver nor well experienced driver)

    What’s your point?

    And, as far as I know, nowhere did I say that I’m an inexperienced driver!! In fact, I have driven A LOT! I mean a lot of distance, a lot of cars, in a lot of different conditions, a lot of different vehicles.

    While I may be inexperienced in WRITING about cars, I am VERY experienced in driving them. The wind noise is the new Sonata is much louder than I would have expected at speeds over 65 MPH. If fact, the wind noise is louder than my Korean domestic 2002 Avante (Elantra). If you are even in Korea, give me a call (010-6623-4142) and you can see for yourself.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I suppose Hyundai figures people will go for the Azera if they really want a V6 in their sedans.

    I don’t think the Azera is long for this world, squeezed as it is between the Sonata and the Genesis. If/when the Equus arrives I suspect we’ll see the final Azera.

    Pity, really. It’s a nice car, but I can’t see the point of it unless the Sonata shrinks significantly.

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @carlisimo…

    A litte more on the throttle tip-in… it was easy to get used to… that’s why i thought it was more about me than the car. In fact, after only a few blocks, it was a complete non-issue.

    It could also have something to do with the ‘organ-type’ accelerator pedal… it took some getting used to as it requires a little more effort to depress the pedal, but I found the pedal to be very comfortable while driving on the highway keeping a constant speed. It was almost like a left-foot dead pedal. FYI Cruise control is not available in this class in Korea.

    About the interior comfort… I’m 5’10” and didn’t have any problems at all. Some people here have commented on a slight lack of headroom in the back, especiallly for the center passenger.

    The guy in the center in this picture is 5’9″ (180 cm):

    <a href="http://img.autodrive.co.kr/yfsonataclub/com/data/pds_photo/pds_photo_195_2009091905212428609_1.jpg&quot; title="Five feet 10 inches"

    This guy in this picture is reported to be 6'2" (190 cm)

    a href="http://blogfile.paran.com/BLOG_496325/200909/1253454372_IMG_0163.jpg&quot; title="Six feet 2 inches"

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @menno… about the wind noise…

    I also considered the fact that because everything else was so quiet (tires, tranny, road noise, etc), that it made the wind noise SEEM louder. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think is has something to do with shape of the A-pillars. They are pretty big. On the day I drove it was not particularly windy and after I got back into my 2002 Elantra (avante in Korea), it seemed quieter (in terms of wind noise at least).

    About the fold-away mirrors, even smaller cars (like my Elantra for example) have power operated ffold-away mirrors. I always thought it had more to do with the cramped parking spaces here rather than transporter issues.

  • avatar
    V6

    i love the new Sonata, it’s easily my favourite in the segment provided they keep the V6.

    i think rating the handling is irrelevant in this review, it’s like the KDM Sonata would have a different suspension tune to what would be sold else where in the world just as many cars have a softer tune in the USA compared with the same model in Europe/Australia

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    I’ve scheduled another test drive for later this week so I’ll have more about handling then and some more photos too.

    In the meantime, I do recall reading that the Y20 has a MacPherson strut setup in the front, whereas the previous generation had a double wishbone. Also, the new model has something called Amplitude Selective Damper, which is also found on the Genesis sedan.

    There is also a hillstart assist system on the new Sonata, but is that even necessary with an automatic?

    More to come…

  • avatar
    menno

    McPherson struts instead of double A-arms?! Oh dang. That’s too bad. I much prefer the more expensive system; the geometry has far fewer compromises. The Kia Optima (which is not a related car to the Sonata) had McPherson struts in front.

    Even our (two-generations ago) 2002 Sonata had double A-arms in front. The (US spec) ’02 Sonata had an odd peculiar “feel” while driving over bumps on one side of the road.

    Example; hit a pothole on the right side (like that ever happens in Michigan….) and the front would go “bump” (the suspension taking the gaff) then the rear wheel would hit the same pothole a millisecond later “bump” (the rear of the car would dive for a millisecond on that side). It was disconcerting.

    The 2007 next-gen car had the same thing happen, very peculiar – given that it was an all new car – but “someone” had been paying attention because it was about 1/3 as “bad”.

    The 2009 is about 9/10ths fixed.

    Walter, I can see how you mean about the powered side mirrors being valuable in a land with small parking areas. The export (to US) cars don’t have the power feature, but the mirrors fold in manually to save space (presumably for shipping).
    The Montgomery Alabama built cars, as mentioned, don’t have foldaways at all. Perhaps this will fix some of the wind noise. (I know that when I got my busted mirror replaced on the 2002, after it was put on, it whistled and never was exactly right – so I suspect that the wind noise may be a function of not quite having some seals just-so yet).

    As you say, it could be a design fault in the A-pillars, in which case “they blew it”.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “”rpn453 :
    October 5th, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Autosavant : How much % of All mazda sales is this Chick car I can barely fit in (and I am only 6 1″)? 10%? Not even that. So, even assuming the Miata was a huge hit, you at best can say that what I wrote was “10% wrong”.

    And in fact, right after I posted it, I bet somebody would bring up the stupid Miata.

    I would never bother looking at that supposedly reliable copy of 60s english roadsters. All yours.

    To summarize: the Miata was not successful because you’re not interested in it and because Mazda sells a lot of other vehicles. Very convincing argument.””

    Obviously I went too fast for you. Read my comments AGAIN, Sam, I already GRANTED you that the STUPID Miata was a SUCCESS for MAZDA, even though I could care less about the silly toy I can barely fit into, let alone take a LONG TRIP with COMFORT into.

    MY point, again, is, the Miata is barely 10% of Mazda’s total (and MEAGER anyway) Sales, so that makes my earlier post only 10% Wrong.

    Got it, Genius? Now go out and play with your Miata. (assuming you can easily fit in the sardine can)

  • avatar
    geobix11

    It definitely looks more “modern” than the present Sonata (I have an ’09 Limited 4 cyl), but I’m curious about the visibility. The beltline appears to a bit higher, and it looks like visibility might be sacrificed in the name of styling. But I obviously haven’t been in one, so I’d be curious to know from someone who has.

    Otherwise, if it is “bigger, lighter, quieter, safer, roomier, more powerful, more fuel efficient, and emits less CO2,” that sounds like Hyundai is putting together a winner in the midsize segment, unless the car is absolutely hideous, which this clearly is not. I enjoy a sporting driving experience as much as most people, but that’s not why I bought a Sonata. I looked for the practical attributes, which the Sonata provides in large measure – it is an excellent highway cruiser that also does a good job of getting me to work and back in city traffic. If I want a sporting driving experience, I will drive my wife’s Legacy GT or my son’s Mini.

  • avatar

    All of this still does not even begin to answer my original question, WHY do most people still buy the STUPID SEDANS, when they are looking for a FAMILY Vehicle such as the Accord or the Camry, and they do not demand an EFFICIENT (Tall if you like) WAGON that is NOT a 4,600 lb giant Odyssey or Sienna Minivan and NOT a STUPID SUV or Crossover?

    Well, because they just do?

    The only people who will go for tall wagons are those who are either specifically looking for one or have actually tried one on and liked it.

    Everyone else will simply go for a sedan. There’s really no reason WHY, they just need A CAR, PERIOD.

    I’m sure there are families out there that make do with a 4 door for various reasons. Some families see wagons and minivans as more car than they can handle. Or afford.

    There are so many people predicting a return to $4 gas and $150/barrel oil, the contrarian in me (especially since it meshes with my belief that the global economy is weakening, credit is becoming more scarce, joblessness rates are rising) puts a fiver on the table that we see sub $2 gasoline and sub $55/barrel oil for quite some time.

    Nah, some people just wish for $4 gas, for some odd reason. Not saying it won’t happen, but your sub $2 hypothesis may prove to be correct for the rest of this decade and good portion of the next.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    @Autosavant:
    I could care less

    If you could care less, why don’t you?

  • avatar

    Autosavant, I suggest you calm down before someone takes a ruler to your knuckles. These kinds of outbursts do nothing for the website. Or your reputation, whatever that might be.

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    A few people have been talking about $4.00/gallon for gas… I only wish it were that cheap!!

    It’s about $1.40 US per liter here in Korea, which i think works at to over $5.00/gallon, no?

  • avatar
    Yupa

    I’m not sure I understand the comment about the 16″ wheels not filling the wheel well. The 17″ tire is the same diameter and is only 1cm wider than the 16″ tire, so why does it fill the space so much better? Does 1cm make such a big visual difference, or is it an illusion based on perceiving the diameter of the (shiny) wheel instead of the (black) tires?

  • avatar
    Eric Ethier

    Hyundai tried too hard on this car just like Mazda did on the new Mazda 3 ‘Smiley Face’.

    That interior is awesome though.

  • avatar
    menno

    $1.40 US per litre = $5.32 per gallon (3.8 litres to one US gallon, which is smaller than a British gallon – which is moot since they don’t use them any more!)

    This is actually even higher than gas prices in the UK (last time I checked).

    Pity the South Koreans! Not to mention the fact that they have p*ss poor insane neighbors like North Korea….

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    It does look bold if bold is a ES350 with a Fusion grill.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    menno, it’s interesting that the Optima has front struts compared to the Sonata’s “superior” setup. Most people feel the Optima handles better. I hope this can be read as a positive omen for the road behavior of the new front-strut Sonata.

    The Azera, even though it’s a stretched and upmarket variant on the outgoing Sonata, seems to have even worse front-suspension problems over rough pavement.

    I agree with those who’ve stated that suspension tuning seems to be the final frontier for Hyundai. Even the Genesis sedan struggles with small-bump control. One wonders if the reason has to do with Hyundai’s private admission that metallurgy is one of the few remaining areas where they don’t yet have all the knowledge of the Germans and Japanese.

    Hyundai has readied a new Kia to replace its stodgy Amanti. Views of it are available on various sites, and it too is a knockout. It’s the twin to the next Grandeur (as the Azera is known outside America). If rumors are correct that the car will indeed come to the States as a Hyundai as well as a Kia, expect yet another sensation.

  • avatar
    menno

    Yes, tonycd, the Optima has struts.

    I personally prefer the non-strut set-up because technically speaking, it “should” have fewer compromises in suspension and steering geometry than strut set-ups. Of course, in the real world this is not always the case.

    Likewise I prefer independent rear suspension (as seen in the Sonata) to the H-twist dead axle that my Prius has. The ride is much nicer.

    But yep – Hyundai are slowly working on suspension expertise and getting better every generation and every generational upgrade that they do.

    Not forgetting that Koreans prefer a softer ride and that a softer riding automobile is actually more difficult to do well than one which crashes and bangs over every pothole.

  • avatar

    The trade-offs of MacPherson struts are that they’re usually lighter than wishbones or multilink (and cheaper, for much the same reason), which reduces unsprung weight, but they don’t allow much camber gain, and bigger tires give you a big scrub radius. In the real world, though, balance between springs, damping, anti-roll bars, and tires make a vast difference — a well-tuned MacPherson strut set-up will run rings around a poorly calibrated double-wishbone suspension.

    Suspension tuning has not traditionally been a strong point of the Korean automakers, though. When they’ve tried to do sporty handling, it tends to make their cars jiggly and choppy without necessarily making them any more nimble. It’s admittedly a black art, though.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    Underneath it all it (unfortunately) is still a Hyundai…

  • avatar
    Walter Foreman

    @Yupa… about the tires and wheels…

    There are pictures floating around showing the difference b/w the varioius wheels (16,17,18 inch) on the new Sonata. You wouldn’t think that it would make such a big difference, but it does. In fact, the difference is so great it makes me wonder if the actual ride height of the suspension is different b/w the two cars, although I would be very surprised if this was the case, but it does look that way.

    With the 16-inch wheels, the car body looks to be sitting much to high and the wheel wheels look empty. If I can find the comparison pics, i’ll post ‘em.

  • avatar
    BD

    “Underneath it all it (unfortunately) is still a Hyundai…”

    @Bridge2far

    You got it BACKWARDS.

    Thank goodness that Hyundai no longer uses Mitsu drivetrains and powerplants – it’s no coincidence that Hyundai’s quality/reliability started to rise once Hyundai started using their own drivetrains and powerplants.

  • avatar
    menno

    BD, I guess this doesn’t bode well for the dozens of Chinese car manufacturers lined up ready to export cars – which generally all seem to use cast-off Mitsubishi engines which even Hyundai stopped using 8-9 years ago.

    Then again, given the “quality” (or extreme lack thereof) of products from the PRC that I’ve touched/owned/come into contact with for oh, the last 20 years or so, it would seem to be a better idea to NOT bother buying a Chinese made car.

    Finally, I’d add in the abysmal crash-test videos of Chinese built cars here, but I’m pretty sure everyone who reads this has already cringed at them anyway – plus they can be found on youtube easily enough.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    When I first looked at the picture I really thought I was looking at a 2011 Camry sitting next to the current Sonata. The same 2006 on up clichés continue- plain slab sides with decontented bodyside moldings and trim, over bloated bodies, tiny squinty windows, massive oversized front ends and grilles and tires to go along with them. If you put a Toyota badge on the front of this car I would have been none the wiser and this speaks volumes on how badly diluted our culture has degenerated over the past 20 some odd years. Thankfully the interiors have improved with each new generation along with the powertrains. Now if they could just inject some color inside as light gray and light tan have become so nauseatingly boring along with the “I can’t tell what the hell I’m looking at anymore” cars of today.

  • avatar
    menno

    I think that Hyundai have done a nice job, ponchoman49, and don’t see how it closely resembles the Camry at all. It has some resemblance to the Passat CC, but only a resemblance. Kind of like looking at two cousins standing next to each other. Not identical twins.

    My wife’s 2002 Sonata had a resemblance to the then current Jaguar sedans.

    Hyundai’s 2001-2005 XG350 had a resemblance to the Bentley (if you squinted).

    The 2005-2009 Sonata has a vague Audi-esque resemblance.

    I’d like to see Hyundai knock one out of the park for their next-generation Sonata.

    How about the gorgeous style of Italian late 1950’s and early 1960’s elegance, as seen in Pininfarina and Frua cars?

    Think thin pillars, chrome trim around the window glass, lots of visibility (use carbon-fibre surrounding foam – like an animal bone – in the roof pillars for strength).

    The original Maserati Quattroporte was styled by Frua in Italy.

    http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/pic.php?imagenum=1&carnum=1248

    The Lancia Florida prototype was so far in advance of time, that it looks early 1960’s – but was penned in 1955

    http://www.carstyling.ru/cars.1955_Lancia_Florida.html

    The Florida II was even more gorgeous – and produced in increased numbers. (Mr Pinin Farina’s own special example also had two rear hinged 1/2 doors on the 2 door coupe body – to more easily allow his grandchildren entrance and egress)

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/features/lancia-florida-ii-a-design-classic-813678.html

    Consider using that “flavor” for luxurious elegance next time, Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    “All car fans want to see more wagons, it’s just that most of us don’t actually buy them.”

    Wrong, that´s just in the Usa.
    In Europe they often outsell the sedan versions.

    In Sweden it´s looks like this:

    Wagons 38%
    Hatchbacks 21%
    Sedans 21%
    Suv 7%
    Coupes 5%
    Convertibles 4%
    Minivans 3%

  • avatar
    DisturbedDriver

    Why buy a Hyundai when you can buy an S-Class?

    –Flashpoint

  • avatar

    I agree the front looks a bit odd, but the rest is fine

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    Looks like Hyundai copied Camry. Only diffrence is the Hyundai will depreciate like a rock. And probably rust away or hopelessly be in the repair shop. Knuckleheads at Hyundai only putting lipstick on a pig…

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    I’m trying really hard to appreciate Hyundai, but I’m getting tired of them literally making copies of other cars.

    Volvo and Acura gauges
    Volvo climate controls
    Nissan/Infiniti map/nav controls
    Toyota front grille
    Volkswagon Passat CC profile

    Kia does the same thing…that Forte coupe had to be designed with a Civic coupe in the same building.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Autosavant : Obviously I went too fast for you. Read my comments AGAIN, Sam, I already GRANTED you that the STUPID Miata was a SUCCESS for MAZDA, even though I could care less about the silly toy I can barely fit into, let alone take a LONG TRIP with COMFORT into.

    MY point, again, is, the Miata is barely 10% of Mazda’s total (and MEAGER anyway) Sales, so that makes my earlier post only 10% Wrong.

    Got it, Genius? Now go out and play with your Miata. (assuming you can easily fit in the sardine can)

    You said:

    NO mazda was ever successful, and Mazdas are largely rebadged Fords anyway.

    At no point after that did you ever say the Miata is/was a success. The closest you came was this:

    So, even assuming the Miata was a huge hit, you at best can say that what I wrote was “10% wrong”.

    I do not own, nor have I ever owned a Miata, and I’d rather have not even read any of your rants the first time. This site needs an ignore list.

  • avatar
    Tray

    I owned a Hyundai Elantra GT.  It’s all I could afford.  I think if
    I’m ever in that situation again, I would take a bus.  They do not
    stand behind their products at all and completely ignored all
    correspondence.  The car was a lemon from the very beginning and I
    bought it brand new.  I spent so much time at the shop.  Their
    defense was that “it’s under warranty”.  Big deal!  What the hell
    good is it if I’m always in the shop??  The stack of repair bills I
    have could fill a 4 inch ring binder.  One of the major problems was
    the airbags (not to mention water leaking from the hatch, locks that
    would lock and unlock by themselves, air conditioner not working,
    emergency brake not working-, etc. etc. etc).  I never ever felt safe
    and prayed I was never in an accident for fear the airbags wouldn’t
    deploy.  The light constantly came on and after about 3 visits they
    replaced the passenger seat.  All of the wires for the airbag system
    were under the seat.  They claimed that my water bottle was the
    cause.  I told them that if my water bottle rolling around under the
    seat can cause the airbag system to breakdown than that was a serious
    manufacturing defect.  They disagreed for YEARS!.  They had to do
    several other things to remedy this problem (harness, etc.) but I
    just never felt safe.  After I traded the car in for an awesome Jeep,
    I get a notice from Hyundai that their airbag system was defective in
    these vehicles and I needed to bring it in.  No sh*t!  I have known
    others that owned Hyundai’s, one that did get into an accident and
    the airbags DID NOT DEPLOY.  These cars are junk.  They have to sell
    you such a great maintenance package because they are crap cars!
    Keep your family safe, don’t by Hyundai!!!!!  Better yet, buy
    American!

  • avatar
    Disaster

    The grill is my least favorite part.  It looks like a cross between a Honda Accord and a Ford Fusion.  However, the rest of the car is very nicely styled…great flow.  I wonder if the sloping roofline reduces rear headroom?
    Hyundai is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with…from their “Car of the Year” Genesis luxury sedan, to their Genesis coupe pony car, to their 2010 Tucson and now this beautifully restyled Sonata.  I’m not sure who has more to fear.  The Japanese or the U.S. manufacturers…who are finding the Japanese squeezing them out on the quality side and Hyundai squeezing them out on features and price (and quality.)

  • avatar
    jkinseoul

    The overall look of the new Sonata is a big improvement, especially here in Korea where until very recently variety of style and choices have been somewhat lacking along the Korean roads. Take this as what it is, but some of the drivers I spoke with who have had this car here in Korea for a couple of months now are complaining about handling as well as ride noise for passengers. A couple of taxi drivers I spoke with also had similar comments and that the new model was not much better than the previous model in terms of handling and especially comfort for their passengers. It’s rare to hear criticism of local products especially those which have been successfully marketed outside of this country. It’s even more rare at least in my experience to have things like this shared with foreigners, so I was a bit surprised at the feedback I was getting. Maybe it’s due to high expectations, beyond what should be expected for this mid-range model. Still, the general trend in quality for Hyundai are improving and surprising quite a lot of people it seems outside of Korea.

  • avatar
    heavenly creature

    I’m not a car expert, currently drive a 98 Avalon with 225k miles on the ODO. Time for a new car. I test drove the 2011 Sonata GLS this past weekend, then went to Subaru and test drove a 2010 Legacy, then went back to Hyundai and drove the same Sonata again. Sonata wins hands down. No contest. The Subaru felt leaden, the steering wheel felt very heavy and overall impression was the car was solid but that the engine was working hard to haul it around. It felt like driving a brick. The Sonata was lighter feeling, peppy, looser. Definitely more fun to drive. Just my 2 cents.

  • avatar
    jimyuko

    I just leased the 2011 Sonata GLS here in Denver and some amazing deals right now. Drove the Accord and Camry each one more time before I decided and the new Sonata is amazing. I found the other cars exteriors and interiors to not be anywhere as attractive.

    I saw some posts about service, support and reliability issues in general about Hyundai and I could not disagree more. The sales folks were fantastic and I enjoyed working with them. I had a 01 Elantra until today that I bought for $10K cash back then and it was the best car ever. When I did have small issues, the Service department in Denver at Arapahoe Hyundai has always been great and never ever tried to sell me something I did not need. Back in 2001 when I got this first Hyundai, everyone thought I was crazy but, I estimate that including purchase, maint, repairs, tires, I spent about $17K to drive this car for 10 years. Does not get much better and I expect the same with the 2011 Sonata


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