2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T new car reviews

It's sleek, it's turbocharged. Meet the latest Sonata.
Power comes from the latest version of Hyundai's Theta engine.

Better than: Most past Sonatas
But not as good as: Toyota Camry, maybe
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 92.04

One of the first Hyundai nameplates to come to North America was the Sonata. It was a decent, smallish sedan with a body designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. His other designs include the BMW M1, Lotus Esprit and Maserati Bora. His Wikipedia page is worth a look, and we're sure that his mom is proud.

Anyway, the Sonata has grown up, with the sixth generation making its debut for the 2011 model year. Styling was obviously an important part of the development work, although the drivetrain wasn't neglected: Our test car had the turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter powerplant. It was backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.

Two other things on the window sticker that caught our eye: 39 percent of this car came from the U.S. (final assembly is done in Montgomery, Alabama) and a full tank of gas is included.

Our Limited-spec had one big option: $2100 for the Limited Navigation Package. That included a touchscreen display, rear back-up camera and Infinity audio system. The car also had floor mats ($100) and an iPod cable ($35).

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Let's start with the obvious: Wow, good looking car. I totally dig the new sheet metal. (And until I researched the intro to this review, I didn't realize that the Sonata has such a history with its designers--props to Hyundai.)

The driving experience? Very nice. I dig the 2.0T setup. It's smooth. It has plenty of power. I love the interior. It fit me perfectly. I really think I could easily drive this car from coast to coast.

Gripes? Really just one, and I'm still not a fan of Hyundai's steering wheels. Maybe it's my inner steering wheel snob coming out--spent two years selling Momos and Nardis--but the Hyundai wheels have a plastic feel to them. Tell you what: Hyundai, go with a simple, all-leather wheel, and you'll have a bona fide hit on your hands.

Summary: Is this a race car? Of course not. But looking for a family sedan that's nice and not the usual? This is a contender.

Tom Heath Tom Heath
UberDork

The new Hyundai Sonata is an impressive entry to the crowded midsize sedan market. I'd love to try this package with a manual transmission, but the automatic in the Sonata Limited was surprisingly entertaining and helped to keep my sports car aspirations in check.

If Hyundai cared to create a Korean take on the Ford SHO, this would be a terrific starting point.

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Comments
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Xceler8x
Xceler8x UberDork
1/25/11 1:10 p.m.

274 hp? Pretty stout number there! I'm surprised.

Hyundai continues to impress me.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/25/11 1:13 p.m.

That's what they're claiming:

http://www.hyundaiusa.com/sonata/performance.aspx

Yep, it's stout.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/25/11 1:46 p.m.

By the way, I passed a blue Genesis Coupe while driving to work yesterday. It's a striking automobile--nice lines, especially in that color.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

One of the first Hyundai nameplates to come to North America was the Sonata. It was a decent, smallish sedan with a body designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. His other designs include the BMW M1, Lotus Esprit and Maserati Bora. His Wikipedia page is worth a look, and we're sure that his mom is proud.

Anyway, the Sonata has grown up, with the sixth generation making its debut for the 2011 model year. Styling was obviously an important part of the development work, although the drivetrain wasn't neglected: Our test car had the turbocharged, direct-injected, 2.0-liter powerplant. It was backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.

Two other things on the window sticker that caught our eye: 39 percent of this car came from the U.S. (final assembly is done in Montgomery, Alabama) and a full tank of gas is included.

Our Limited-spec had one big option: $2100 for the Limited Navigation Package. That included a touchscreen display, rear back-up camera and Infinity audio system. The car also had floor mats ($100) and an iPod cable ($35).

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