Monday, November 5, 2012

Review Hyundai Sonata

It's been a couple of years since the mid-size Hyundai Sonata went through such an extreme transformation that it could have been marked by a name change. The smooth, rakish, daring design makeover that the Sonata received for 2011 (in sharp contrast to the staid wallflower it had been before) still turns heads—and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the 2013 Sonata has a lot going for it, as we see elements of its trend-setting 'fluidic design' emerging in rival models. 
That design transformation was marked by some equally extreme engineering rehabilitation that simply kicked the Sonata up into another league. With a new lineup of only direct-injection four-cylinder engines—combined with a lighter body structure—the Sonata performs as well as the V-6 versions of some mid-size sedans, all while getting up to 35 mpg in base form or up to 33 mpg highway with the upscale Turbo model. Most Sonatas come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, making up to 200 horsepower, with a six-speed automatic transmission. The automatic is perfectly appropriate for the class, and is a responsive, seamless gearchanger. Step up to the 2.0T model and you get a somewhat smaller 2.0-liter engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger, providing 274 horsepower. Its 269 lb-ft arrives low in the power band, which thankfully helps this engine work very well with the automatic transmission (the only way to get it). And it mostly skips the turbo lag completely, and succeeds as the more economical parallel to upscale V-6 models.