As much as everyone else has been raving about the new Sonata's interior, I feel that the interior of the new Suzuki Kizashi far outshines the Hyundai's, and for less money. I especially don't care for the Sonata's blue dashboard lighting. I didn't like it in late-1990s Volkswagens, and I don't like it in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, because I find it to be virtually illegible at night. Everything, even the controls on the wheel, a foot in front of my eyes, takes way too long for my eyes to focus on, if at all. I had to turn on the dome light to identify the cruise functions.
Visibility out the rear corners of the Sonata is not great, and the headlights on this car have a really abrupt cutoff and too short of a reach on low beam.
On the plus side, ride, steering, and handling were all very good. I also found the engine to be more than powerful enough. Acceleration to highway speed-while raucous-was perfectly fine, as was punch for passing. My hat is also off to Hyundai for taking a stand against an unnecessary V-6, although I suspect that the company will lose more than a few buyers over that. Plenty of American buyers simply expect a six-cylinder engine in the top-of-the-line version of a car like this, and the fact that the four-cylinder sounds like it's laboring too hard won't help. Perhaps dampening that with more sound deadening, as Don suggested, would help.
It's a good-looking car. Especially with silver paint like our test car had. I like the chrome trim trailing from the headlights, the lines on the body, and the profile of this car a lot. Still, the grille is a bit much, and the wheels could use a little more style.
Matt Tierney, Art Director