Friday, July 16, 2010

Hot New Family Sedan: 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Sonata 2011
2011 HYUNDAI SONATA

Price range: $22,649-$28,999

The deal: $500 in Clean Air Cash factory-to-customer rebate plus 0.9 per cent financing for five years.

The story: Hyundai now has a sedan capable of taking on the top sellers in the segment, including the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion. The Sonata is well-priced and feels solid and well-built. The last version of the Sonata had very good quality and there's no reason to think this one won't follow in those tracks. For buyers who want something a little jazzier, a little out of the ordinary, hybrid and turbo-powered versions are coming, too.

On the other hand, Hyundai no longer offers a six-cylinder Sonata and that may be an issue with some buyers. Hyundai types feel the Sonata's standard 2.4-litre four-banger with direct fuel injection is plenty of engine for the vast majority of family buyers.

Indeed, direct injection is a premium technology. It boosts power and fuel economy by precisely metering gasoline into the cylinder at exactly the proper time. The Sonata's engine is rated at 198 hp in a field of rival fours typically sporting 170 to 190 hp. And fuel economy comes in at 9.4 litres/100 km in the city, 5.7 on the highway with its six-speed automatic transmission.

Not to be overlooked is the Sonata's cabin. It's as well done as anything in this class and better than many. The controls operate with a firm feel, white and silver markings on the gauges look sporty (though in certain lighting they are washed out) and the seats are well-padded, though the cloth upholstery is not particularly rich.

Overall, this Sonata is refined, pleasant to drive, stylish and comfortable. The six-generation remake looks like a success. Hyundai is trying hard here to make the case that a family sedan need not be boring.