Hyundai has long been known for its low-priced cars with extended warranty coverage, but the all-new-for-2011 Sonata offers something else: style.
With an exterior design that channels the look of the most recent Mercedes-Benz models, the new Sonata has moved from just a budget buy to a contender against hot sellers like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Such Hyundai hallmarks as the long customer protection plan and a substantial standard equipment list are in place, but the new model has an appeal that transcends simple lists of stuff.
The new Sonata is not just transportation; it’s an appealing vehicle. Beyond the styling, the biggest piece of news is that Hyundai has decided to forego a V-6 engine. Instead, its Theta Two 2.4-liter direct injection four cylinder is the lone engine choice, offering an excellent 22 miles per gallon in the city, 35 miles per gallon on the highway and a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic.
Worried that the four-cylinder engine won’t provide enough power? Don’t be. We found acceleration to be brisk, and the car is fun to be in as well as economical. High on the features list is the new entertainment system that includes XM Satellite Radio, real-time traffic, and HD Radio technology with multicasting.