Tradition holds that there's no replacement for displacement, but Hyundai's challenging that logic with its latest Sonata sedan. By strapping a turbocharger onto a four-cylinder, Hyundai can offer greater fuel economy, horsepower, and torque than most competitive midsize V-6 sedans -- but will customers buy into the logic that the buying less will, in fact, get you more?
The 2011 Sonata 2.0T, which is debuting at the 2010 New York auto show, is powered by Hyundai's Theta II, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder producing 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, mated to Hyundai's all-new six speed automatic transmission. Those figures are thanks in large part to direct-injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger that Hyundai promises will give the sedan "instantaneous power delivery."
Surely the Sonata 2.0T's predicted 22/34 mpg city/highway fuel economy will help to further ease the transition for folks still pining for a V-6. That's just one highway mpg down from the 198-horsepower regular-strength Sonata four-cylinder. Even better, the turbo runs on regular gas.
No, Hyundai is not the first midsize sedan player to offer a turbo four-cylinder engine. Volkswagen has offered its Passat with a turbo four-cylinder for years. That engine, though, makes less power and helps the Passat accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds, according to Volkswagen. We don't yet have similar times for the Sonata 2.0T, but expect it to be at the top of the class.