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1010 2011 Hyundai Sonata Se September Update
four seasons long-term tests

2011 Hyundai Sonata SE - Four Seasons Update - September 2010

Miles to date: 11,455 / Months in service: 3

Jeffrey Jablansky
Matt Tierney
2011 Hyundai Sonata reviews to date

With success, it has been argued, comes responsibility. With the 2011 Sonata, Hyundai has recently tasted both. In August, and again in September, the Sonata took third place behind the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in midsize sedan sales in the United States. Then, just last week, Hyundai announced a recall to fix the steering equipment on nearly all of the 140,000 Sonatas produced in Alabama since December 2009.

In the meantime, our editors continued to rack up the miles last month, bringing the total odometer reading to an impressive 11,455. The Sonata has spent a lot of time on the open road, serving duty to Chicago twice in August alone. Associate editor Eric Tingwall gets the medal for long-distance hauling, completing a weekend round-trip run to Madison, Wisconsin, to attend a triathlon. Tingwall, who initially requested a utility vehicle for the journey, came away impressed with the Sonata's people- and cargo-carrying capabilities after stuffing the sedan to the brim.

"Duffel bags, sleeping bags, helmets, a bike pump, and a small cooler fit easily in the trunk, food and drinks rode inside, and rear-seat passengers were packed in with pillows," Tingwall writes. "There are better (read: bigger) vehicles for a road trip, but the Sonata absolutely surprised me with how comfortable and roomy it is. The weight of five adults and aerodynamic drag of two bikes on the trunk was merely another opportunity for the hearty 2.4-liter to showboat. I am constantly impressed with how strong and smooth the power delivery is with this engine."

Senior web editor Phil Floraday, who undertook one of the two Windy City expeditions, concurred. "As Eric discovered, a mid-size sedan with a large trunk dispels the myth that you need an SUV if you intend to drive anywhere with passengers," he writes. "Not to mention that the Sonata will probably double most SUVs' fuel economy in the real world."

Creative director Kelly Murphy praised the Sonata's "juicy" color and sharp lines, but with the effects of luxurypresscaritis kicking in, bemoaned the absence of an auto-dimming rearview mirror, which is standard on top-level Limited trim. "That aside," he said, "it's quite surprising what you get for the money with this car."

With autumn taking hold, we'll be watching to see if the Sonata can continue its meteoric sales success in the United States and keep pace with its top competition in the segment.

Navigation and sunroof package $2,600 Navigation with high-res touch screen display Power sunroof with tilt and slide feature Dimension AM/FM/XM/CD premium audio system Subwoofer
Cargo net $50
2011 Hyundai Sonata Specs
  • Overview
  • powertrain
  • chassis
  • measurements
  • equipment
  • options
Base price (with dest.)$23,315
Price as tested$25,965
Body Style 4-door sedan
Accommodation 5-passenger
Construction Steel unitbody
Engine DOHC direct-injected inline 4-cylinder
Displacement 2.4 liters
Power 200 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque 186 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive Four-wheel
Fuel Economy 22/35/26 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Steering Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns lock-to-lock3.0
Turning circle 35.8 ft
Suspension, Front Strut type; coil spring
Suspension, Rear Multi-link; coil spring
Brakes F/R Power-assisted ventilated disc/disc; ABS
Wheels 18-in aluminum-alloy
Tires Hankook Optimo H431 all-season tires
Tire Size 225/45R18
Headroom F/R 40.0 / 37.8 in
Legroom F/R 45.5 / 34.6 in
Shoulder Room F/R 57.9 / 56.7 in
Wheelbase 110.1 in
Track F/R 62.5/ 62.5 in
L x W x H 189.8 x 72.2 x 57.9 in
Caro Capacity 16.4 cu ft
Weight 3316 lb
Fuel Capacity 18.5 gal
Est. Range 480 miles
Fuel Grade 87 octane
Standard Equipment
  • 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 6-speed automatic transmission
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Electronic stability control
  • Traction control
  • 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Fog lights
  • Power windows/locks/mirrors
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Tilt/telescoping steering column
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
  • Steering wheel mounted cruise, audio, and phone controls
  • Air conditioning
  • AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system
  • 6 speakers
  • iPod/USB and auxiliary jack input
  • Bluetooth connectivity
With 200K on TL I tried a TSX & Sonata SE. At $8K less I bought the Hyundai & am very impressed--Quality of fit/materials, Performance, Economy, Beauty = TSX. 3 Hondas & 2 Acuras later, I'm converted! Plus 87 octane fuel & great handling.

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