The first thing I noticed in the new Sonata is its seats, which are hard and flat with very little support. That's a shame, because the interface between my rear end and the car overwhelmed all my other reactions to the car during my first 20-mile stint in it. Feeling that might be a bit unfair, I signed the car out for a weekend to give it a chance to redeem itself.
Unfortunately, the seats didn't magically become softer or more supportive in the meantime, but I at least got used to them, to the point that I could appreciate the well-fitted interior appointments and the roominess and practicality of this family sedan. Oh, and the four-cylinder engine, which is so responsive and pulls so well that I'll wager that buyers will never pine for a six-cylinder model.
As with the Tucson that was in our fleet at the same time, Hyundai seems to have cracked the code when it comes to meeting - and beating - its Japanese competitors. With lots of standard equipment, good materials and build quality, and competitive pricing, the Sonata looks like it's primed to gobble up some more market share in its segment. If only they could add a little padding to the seats.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor