2009 Hyundai Sonata Limited

Automobile Staff
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Of all the midsize sedans on the market today, none has the unremitting softness of the Hyundai Sonata. The seats are topped in squishy foam; the compliant suspension lets the car roll, squat, and dive; the steering wheel twirls with one-finger ease. It's a particularly Korean idea of luxury, and one wonders if the ideals took hold back in the days when American luxury cars still ruled, with softness and silence their great achievements.

I suppose Hyundai might point to Lexus as a more modern purveyor of those same qualities, and a highly successful one at that, but the Sonata Limited we drove struck a few discordant notes that belie the comparison. Yes, the Sonata Limited floats over bumps, but potholes send a shudder through the steering column. And the balky action of the shifter through the gated PRNDL slot was a far cry from the motion of more polished competitors. Finally, the navigation screen in our test car usually failed to display the on-screen buttons during navigation mode, and occasionally went on the fritz to the point where even the side buttons wouldn't work. Sometimes shutting the car off and restarting it fixed the nav screen, and sometimes not.

In other areas, though, the Sonata Limited was more convincing. The metallic khaki paint color on our particular example is richer looking than more bland champagne or silver. The two-tone interior color scheme is straight out of the Lexus playbook, with the wise addition of dark-hued carpet to resist dirt. Interior space is fine front and rear, and the trunk is generous. Mostly, though, the Sonata is one big softie.

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