By on April 1, 2010

Hyundai’s Sonata would be a quantum leap forward for the Korean firm under any circumstances, but with a direct-injected standard model, a new hybrid model and now a twin-scroll turbocharged model, it also offers three of the hottest technologies in the business today. The turbo version makes 274 hp, 269 lb-ft of torque while still achieving an estimated 22/34 mpg, making it a V6-free performance option in the crowded midsized segment. Too bad it won’t be available with a manual transmission.

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45 Comments on “New York: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo...”


  • avatar
    bill h.

    Evidently it also can make that power on regular gas.
    Too bad about the automatic-only thing.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    Honestly, if the automatic is a good transmission, I wouldn’t miss a manual much. Don’t get me wrong, I love manual transmissions, but some of the recent automatics I’ve been in (BMWs for example) are simply excellent.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      I’ve always been a die-hard manual guy, but after driving the superb ZF 6 speed auto in the 335i, transmission choice for that car became irrelevent to me. I picked up whichever car I found the best deal on first, and, there, being 9 autos for every stick, turned out to be a 335i auto. Amazing gearbox. It has just as much power at the wheels, accelerates slightly FASTER (due to lower gearing and torque multiplication), gets the same MPG, is buttery smooth with rev-matched downshifts, and I never have to worry about missing a shift and over-revving my $23k motor. The stick is still a little more involving/fun though, but not as much as you’d think.

  • avatar
    wsn

    There two types of people buying cars with standard transmission:
    1) Mouth breathers who can’t afford an auto. They typically go with Chrysler.
    2) Performance wannabes who thought they are pro. They typically go with Bimmer.

    Hyundai is correct with this offering.

    • 0 avatar
      zbnutcase

      WRONG! That car needs a manual! nutcase

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      A car needs a manual only when its auto is not made right.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Trollific assessment!

      (I’ll admit I’m coming around to some of the newer slushboxes, but they still don’t do it for me)

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      You forgot the 3rd and 4th types:

      3) folks who prefer to have more control over their cars performance & safety, who generally prefer better fuel economy and lower repair bills

      4) Folks who don’t idiotically categorize other people because they are insecure about their ability to use their left foot/right hand.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      folks who prefer to have more control over their cars performance & safety, who generally prefer better fuel economy and lower repair bills

      A modern manumatic offers most of the control and performance of a standard, and in many cases superior fuel economy. As for repair bills, since when are clutches covered under warranty?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I drive a manual mainly because I feel more involved in the driving process. I don’t fool myself that I’m extracting better performance as I commute through the suburbs. The drag is that my wife can’t drive it, so no swapping/borrowing cars can happen.

      I’m curious if I’d enjoy a DSG type transmission, but I think that knowing that it COULD be shifting itself as I click the paddles might feel a little too much like wanking.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      I feel the same way that srogers does. I drive a Fusion SE with a manual and it’s more fun than the automatic (for me at least). I’m not a “performance wannabe” and I’m not too cheap, I just enjoy rowing my own gears for whatever reason. I don’t use my phone while I drive so my right hand is free anyhow. I guess it’s a sort of zen thing for me.

      My next purchase will probably be a dual clutch setup or maybe even a plain old auto. While I feel it’s a little sad to lose manuals for the most part I can also understand the economics.

      BTW @wsn, your binary choice doesn’t help make your point.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      Manual transmissions also give an extra layer of theft deterrent.

      As for Bimmers, most of them are automatics these days as well. I had to wait several weeks for the local BMW dealer to have a manual 335i available for test drive. (15 or more 335i on the lot and not a single manual)

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Meh, I save my manuals for 2-wheels.. For a hauler, I don’t really care as much, and a 7+ geared SMG-style auto (with flappy paddles!) would be just fine..

      (And why don’t modern RWD autos run multiple gears in the diff? Electronically control that sucker and have 6/7/8×2 gears for diesel motors to surf the torque curve?)

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      What Chrysler has a manual? Maybe the Caliber but it’s expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I guess I’m a performance wannabe who thought I are pro. Or should that be a performance wannabe who thought I is pro? Since I can’t even figure that out, I must be in the mouth-breather category.

  • avatar
    backspacer

    Normally I’d cry about the lack of a manual, but I’ll want push-button start along with a proximity key on my next car because I’ll be driving more and more in my new job. As far as I know, you can’t get push-button start on a manual. Leaving my keys in my pocket while loading/unloading stuff and getting in and out all day sounds terrific to me.

    I don’t know if I’d buy this car, but the new engine tech can only be a good thing overall. I love the allowance for regular gas as well as the economy they’re claiming. Their in-house automatic sounds good, at least in their press release :)

  • avatar
    don1967

    Impressive numbers for a two-litre engine burning regular fuel. Throw in a long warranty and I just might overcome my turbophobia.

    Although it is tempting to bemoan the lack of a manual clutch, the truth is that even F1 race cars don’t use ‘em anymore. Slushboxes always offered better convenience, resale value and warranty coverage. But now that they also come with six or more cogs, paddle shifters, comparable performance and superior fuel economy, only a true masochist would want a standard in a car like this. Sometimes you just have to let go of the past.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Ever since I started driving a manual I’ve had a very hard time going back to autos. I like to be engaged and feel involved with the vehicle during my drive and driving an automatic makes it increasingly difficult to do that. Its not that I’m trying to eke the next 1mph out of my exit ramp speed (at least not 95% of the time), I normally want to drive more smoothly, choose the best lane, and generally avoid being passively limited by following traffic. I find automatics up-shifting at the wrong time and taking too long to downshift when I want and generally requiring excessive throttle modulation (and poorer fuel economy) just to regain a fraction of the response that comes standard with a manual trans.

    I haven’t driven a paddle-shift auto, but I did drive an auto-stick previous-gen Mazda6 4cyl and was unimpressed. It downshifted rather than let you lug the engine a bit and up-shifted rather than allow high-rpm engine braking on a long downhill. Fail.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m in love.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    I love manual transmission cars. Really, I do. But, in most turbo apps, the automatic is going to yield better performance.

    The other harsh reality is that a well done computer is better and faster than you, me, and Michael Schumacher.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    This engine needs to replace the 3.8 in the Genesis Coupe. It may be down on power, but it’s lower weight could balance things out and the flat table of torque does the V6 one better also.

  • avatar
    Audi-Inni

    Saw this car at the Atlanta car show – if it was possible to make a car uglier than the last gen ES, Hyundai has figured it out with this one. The styling is bizarre and follows the tagline of Six Flags — “More Creases!! More FUN!!”

  • avatar
    pauldun170

    Too bad about the lack of manual. Won’t get my dollar.
    Even if it had a DSG with reasonable smoothness…won’t get my dollar.
    I’m sure it will make plenty of folks happy as they use 50% of the engines potential in the daily grind. Stop light to stop light in medium traffic as they obey (or at least come close to) traffic laws.
    At least with a manual car I can do something while driving legally and keep it interesting.
    vs One hand on wheel, the other out the window, 1/4 throttle and drifting off to la-la land.

    Sure a computer can do it faster but what does it add to the driving experience?
    Nothing
    Thats just me though. Manual transmissions aren’t for everyone. Especially for people who need to focus on other things while driving.

  • avatar
    Toyondai92

    No manual is a shame. But then again this is a FWD family sedan so, I guess it makes sense on Hyundai’s part. Hopefully they at least make the autobox interesting enough.

    On another note- there’s been a few new Sonatas showing up in my neighborhood… I suspect this and the hybrid will start showing as well. Hyundai has a winner, at least as far as America’s (second) oldest working-class suburb is concerned.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    Oh, leave off already about the stick transmissions. Managing to stay in the boost and keep from lugging on a turbo 2-liter is a pain in the butt that 95% of people wouldn’t like to bother with.

  • avatar
    niky

    While I’ve experienced the cream-of-the-crop in terms of automatic transmissions (from CVTs to SMGs to DCTs/DSGs to some of the newer 7-speed ATs), this “automatics now have better economy” meme has just got to stop.

    It’s a myth perpetuated by manufacturers pushing their new, more-expensive-than-the-manual-option automatics looking for a way to entice people into buying up. A myth supported by performing tests on ATs with longer final drives than their MT counterparts on highway drives.

    The only AT that actually does get similar economy to an MT in real-world driving is the CVT. And not just any CVT, it has to be the low-weight CVT with dry clutch packs that Honda uses for their low-end and hybrid models.

    The more durable CVTs used by other manufacturers often use a torque converter… and these penalize you by around 10% in city traffic. Same with most DSG/DCTs… some use torque converters for smoother driving. Others use dry clutches, but in testing, I’ve found that in-traffic economy still suffers. These are heavy boxes.

    Yes, in everyday driving, ATs are more convenient, and a DCT/DSG box is easier to drive both on the road and on the racetrack… and is often faster on the racetrack, as it allows the driver to focus more on the act of steering than rowing. But they are not more fuel efficient than a dry-clutch manual with the same gear-ratios. Not by a long-shot.

    While I like the new 5AT Honda Fit, and was suitably impressed by the performance of the Ford Focus DCT Powershift over our older 6MT Focus (both diesel), both cars suffer quite a bit in real-world fuel economy and performance compared to the previous models. And the previous global Fit had the CVT box… which merely goes to prove my point.

    -

    That said… I don’t really care that the Sonata doesn’t have a manual box… with all that power, I doubt it would matter.

  • avatar
    thetaII

    Believe me, you DON’T want a Sonata with a manual. Take it from a 2009 Sonata 5MT owner. It’s a bitch to launch smoothly or to upshift to second. And I’ve been driving manuals for decades. I’ll take my last car, an Infiniti G20 with a missing fifth gear, over the manual in the Hyundai. And if the reviews of the 2011 Sonata 6MT are any indication, Hyundai hasn’t learned a thing since.

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      Are you saying that the 5 spd Auto equipped 4 cylinder 2009 Sonata would have been better?

    • 0 avatar
      thetaII

      Exactly. I’m used to rowing my own gears, plus the local Hyundai dealer was heavily discounting the 5MT. Hyundai’s spotty history with slushboxes also factored into my decision-making. I just figured that the vague clutch engagement would sort itself out over time, but that hasn’t proven to be the case. All in all, I would have been better off biting the bullet and going with the 5AT.

  • avatar
    carve

    Make it a wagon with AWD and they’ll have a budget Audi A4 Avant. If they do that, I may well buy my first new car, from a company I thought I’d NEVER buy from, no less.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I generally think that for cars with under 200HP a manual is a definite advantage. I think of a car as needing 40-60 more HP to overcome the disadvantage of a torque converter automatic.
    My feelings may change if I ever drive a modern 6-spd auto with “shifters”
    DCTs are manual transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @davey: I have a 2009 Pontiac G6 with 165 HP 2.4L Ecotec and the 6 speed manu-matic autobox. In the vast majority of driving situations, I have more than adequate (frankly illegal) acceleration speed available to me, and that’s leaving the car in full automatic mode. If I use the manual mode, I can shift somewhat quicker than the auto mode, but frankly I don’t care to.

      The powertrain seems to recognize that when I’m flooring the accelerator, it will keep the lower gears longer. And if I’m just puttering around town, it upshifts rather quickly (too quickly IMO) to save fuel. We switched from a V6 car (Malibu) to this one, and I have not once wished to have the V6 car back.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    With so few stats in the article, why is this car accepted with nary a negative comment, but the philosophically similar Regal Turbo is panned?

    Same basic premise, mid-sized car with four cylinder motors of various flavors, ostensibly to meet upcoming CAFE regulations.

  • avatar

    The bemoaning of the lack of a manual isn’t negative?

    I actually like the Buick’s styling better… but they’re only showing two cars on the floor… Hyundai already has the hybrid on display and their high-po version has 25-50 ponies more than Buick’s. And they also have a 10 hp power advantage in the similar direct injection 2.4s…

    And that unique lithium polymer hybrid thingamajiggy…

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @niky: You are absolutely correct. I should have mentioned the lack of a manual as about the only negative comment. And, true, the Hyundai will sell hybrid version with LiPo batteries (Sorry, but LiPo sounds like a faux Chinese food at a buffet somewhere).

      I refuse to comment on styling, other than to say to each their own. I wish I could say that I’ve owned a string of classic beauties, but, no luck.

      In the previous discussions about the Buicks, however, there have been much made of the weight of the cars in relation to the engine output. However, in this article, no mention of curb weight of any of the models.

      Potentially, we could be looking at a very porky sedan with a high output motor. How will that be for driving dynamics? No real mention about the non hybrid models’ mileage, although a few comments on the power output. Is it or is not on regular fuel? I didn’t see that in the original post. What are the non hybrid mileage estimates? What are the curb weights?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      The Sonata is actually the lightest midsize offering out there if I’m not mistaken and the Buick, as nice as it is, is pretty heavy. BTW, answers to a lot of your questions (save possibly anything very specific to the 2 new versions just announced) is readily available on Edmunds (at least that where I’ve been getting some of my info).

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The base Sonata is something like 3250 lbs, and the hybrid is 3457 pounds, so the turbo should slot in around 3400. Mileage is 22/32 for the regular 2.4L.

      The Buick Regal is going to start out at 3600 pounds, and turbo would push it up over 3700. Pretty close to V6 Camaro territory.

  • avatar
    7th Frog

    Driving an automatic is like living with a woman who just wants to cuddle all the time.

    I have owned 8 vehicles in my life and all but one were manuals.

  • avatar
    niky

    Isn’t it more like having a woman who always wants to be on top?

    Only problem is, if she’s like most traditional automatics, she’ll finish before you do.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Wow, guys you’re over analyzing this. Four cylinder I either want manual or a VERY good CVT. If the car is torque-y then an auto will do. However if the company fronts it as a sporty car, then it better be manual.


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