Comfortable, yet engaging.
Other than the engine, though, the Sonata 2.0T is essentially the same as a regular 2.4-liter Sonata. The turbocharged Sonata will be available in two trim levels, the taut SE and the more relaxed Limited. Our tests were confined to Hyundai's pint-sized test track in Namyang, South Korea and didn't allow much of an opportunity to explore the ride quality over various surfaces. However, our past experiences with the Sonata have proven that even the Limited provides confident body control, respectable handling, and decent steering effort. The Sonata's ability to balance comfort and agility is one of its finer traits, and that character is made even sweeter with a powerful engine behind it.
Minor equipment changes.
The key differentiators of the 2.0T are dual exhaust outlets as well as steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to control the six-speed automatic. The interior is tastefully and ergonomically styled with only a small amount of cheap plastic around the controls. The seats, however, are still somewhat firm and flat. Pricing hasn't been announced but will likely start around $27,000 when it goes on sale in October.
A glimpse of the future.
Hyundai's turbocharged Sonata is an early example of the midsize sedan's future. As fuel economy regulations tighten, expect to see more V-6 engines disappear with smaller, turbocharged units replacing them. Hyundai's efficient and powerful 2.0T proves that the fuel-conscious future need not be dreary. The have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too engineering is a shining example of how cars can be engineered to be cleaner while packing just as much speed and fun.
2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T
On sale: October 2010
Base Price: $27,000 (est)
Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged direct-injection, DOHC sixteen-valve I4
Horsepower: 274 @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 269 lb-ft @ 1800-4500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
L x W x H: 189.8/ 72.2/ 57.9 in
Legroom F/R: 45.5/ 34.6 in
Headroom F/R: 40.0/ 37.8 in
Cargo capacity: 16.4 cu.ft
Curb Weight: 3338-3452 lbs (estimated)
EPA Rating (city/highway): 22/ 34 (estimated)