CNET's Brian Cooley says that You won't want to wear a bag on your head anymore to drive Hyundai's bread and butter ride.
2011 Hyundai Sonata Review Alright admit it. Hyundai is the hottest damn thing in the car business right now. Sales are great, quality ratings are great, and their image is being reinvented. Here’s one of the last pieces that needed to be turned over. The Hyundai Sonata, the bread-and-butter car. Yeah, this is a Sonata. It doesn’t look like one, does it? It’s got some real nice luxury queues to it. First of all you’ve got this sort of four-door coupe roof line which is one of those things that the luxury guys are doing a lot. All kinds of sculpting here which is strictly for a look and feel and passion and not part of a simply practical car. As I come around the quarter here, I feel like they’ve infused some Genesis coupe DNA in this car and there’s nothing wrong with that. But a bigger story than the look of this new Sonata is the powertrain. Direct injection, you’ve heard me talk about it a lot. It’s the big idea right now in combustion engines and that’s what they’re doing here for the first time in Hyundai. This is their theta 2 engine family. 2.4 liter is this case, in line 4, with gasoline direct injection. Now direct injection’s important because it’s the most precise way to get fuel and air that charge right into the piston at the moment of combustion. You can do multiple pulses of the charge as it’s working against the spark and do it with such precision that you can run at a higher compression ratio because it also gives you a cooler charge so you’ll have a lesser risk of detonation. All of that makes an engine that gets more power at a less gas and does it very responsively. So this motor is a big story in a car that is priced under $20,000.00, 198 horsepower comes out of this one. Later there will be a two liter a smaller one that is turbo charged and we’re talking about 25, 35 fuel mpg on this initial 2.4 gas DI. In the Cabin, again I'm seeing Genesis DNA as if Hyundai is trying to conceal their design language in that direction inside and out. This is called a dimensional audio system. It’s kind of the Hyundai system. You can go higher than that and get infinity sound as they have done before. Standard cabin tech will include XM radio and I think its three months of activation, Bluetooth, hands free and this Aux USB iPod compatible jack down here. You can app some things as well, of course the touchscreen NAV system here and HD radio. This gear box is a 6-speed automatic, Hyundai is particularly proud of this because they’re now producing it in house, not buying it outside. Now this car comes out January of 2010, not far away. The turbo edition I talked about and Hyundai is first hybrid version that will be coming out the very end of 2010. So book ending that entire year. This base unit here with the 2.4 liter GTI is going to start under $20,000.00 they say. Not with all the tech toys but that’s a start.