This refresh actually did a lot for the Sonata. I spent a good amount of time behind the wheel of a 2006 Sonata and walked away very unimpressed. The steering wheel felt cheap and slimy, the radio offered only AM/FM and a CD player, and the suspension was not well tuned at all. Now the Sonata has a great radio with XM and USB iPod interfaces and much better suspension tuning on SE models. What's more, the steering wheel no longer feels like it's covered in slime. Like Sam said, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata is a remarkably normal, if not terribly involving, mid-size sedan. That's a formula that works very well for the Toyota Camry.
The only things that I dislike about the Sonata are its vanilla looks and the generally soft, uninvolving nature of the chassis, suspension, and steering. But this segment isn't about high-performance driving, and the generic looks mean the design doesn't offend any potential customers. Virtually all mid-size shoppers will be very happy with this Sonata, and the future looks even brighter. Hyundai has already promised a hybrid version of the car for 2011.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor