Hyundai Sonata: The Refresh That Pauses
Hyundai's Sonata might be the ultimate in passion-free motoring (it's also available in 100 calorie packs), but it's a direct hit on an American market that shops on specs first, character second. Sales slipped just a tad in 2007 to 145,568 Sonatas, indicating it's a good time for the company to roll out a refresh. Exterior changes are subtle; you'd do better to spot differences between pop singer Fergie's face and a pumpkin. The beauty here is on the inside (same with Fergie, we're sure). First, Hyundai's finally fit a proper interior to the Sonata. The 2004 – 2007 model's cabin was decent and ergonomically acceptable, but buyers wanted a little more style– especially at the higher trim levels. So the new Sonata has a mostly new interior, including a slick looking center stack that's more than a little reminiscent of the Lexus RX. The Sonata also gets optional navigation, which means Hyundai can finally join competitors in scamming customers out of $1500 they could save by buying a TomTom-type device. Second, Hyundai shakes up the powertrains. The four-cylinder engine is now up to 175 horses (from 162) and gains a cog (five-speed auto). The legato V6 is also up to 249 horses from 234. These power bumps also bring slight mileage improvements: 22/32 for the four-pot and 19/29 for the big boy V6. Despite stagnant sales numbers and fleet dependence issues, the Sonata has been a giant leap for vanillacarkind. These refinements should help keep the numbers healthy until the next full redesign.
Immensely bored law student. I've also got 3 dogs.
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