Hyundai claims to have spent a considerable amount of time tuning the suspension on the SE model to up the fun-to-drive factor. The last facelift for Sonata produced an SE model with considerably better handling than other Sonatas, though enthusiasts were still looking for a little more performance. Now SE models use stiffer springs and larger antiroll bars, which Hyundai says results in a 20-percent increase to roll stiffness. Unique dampers are part of the package as are 18-inch wheels. If the SE model doesn't quite live up to our expectations, there's still hope for the forthcoming 2.0-liter turbo cars to offer more excitement.
Inside, every Sonata will feature Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity right from the factory. An optional touch-screen navigation unit is available on every trim level and features Hyundai's new Dimension audio system. Hyundai hopes to turn its Dimension audio system into a premium name, though the top-spec Limited models still offer Infiniti-sourced sound systems as an upgrade.
Hyundai finally has the right mix of looks, technology, and pricing to go from being a sensible choice to a highly desirable midsize sedan with the 2011 Sonata. We're looking forward to the rest of the Hyundai Sonata line being unveiled at the 2010 New York auto show next spring.