2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited Road Test Review

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

All angles, all good. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

An upscale interior that makes many of its peers seem low rent. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Comfortable, supportive seats were ideal for a long drive. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Roomy rear quarters that even feature rear seat heaters. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

A dilemma. The weekend loomed and a road trip beckoned, but two cars were parked in my garage. Which one should I take? A number of years ago it wouldn't have been an issue. I would have opted for the luxuriously equipped Audi S4 sport sedan without hesitation. But premium gas wasn't $1.50 a litre back then and besides, the Sonata is much larger and therefore more accommodating for my three kids, it's hardly short on convenience and luxury features, and being the turbocharged variant, plenty quick.

The fact that it looks great was really a wash, the other choice being an Audi, but seeing as this review is about the Sonata and not the S4 I need to pay respect where respect is due. From front to back Hyundai's totally revised midsize family sedan is a four-door coupe-like head-turner. Put a premium badge on the grille and it could woo buyers at twice its as tested $33,499 sticker; the base Sonata starts off at a paltry $22,649 plus $1,565 destination, whereas the lowest priced turbocharged model comes in at $28,999.

My tester had all the power features expected in a fully-loaded midsize sedan, including leather seats and trim, piano black, chrome and metallic accents, audio controls on the leather-clad tilt and telescopic steering wheel, which connect through to a great sounding 7-speaker, externally-amplified AM/FM/CD stereo that can also access songs via its auxiliary jack, USB connection, iPod interface, or XM satellite radio. As a bonus the Bluetooth actually connected to my phone, unlike the S4 that wouldn't after countless attempts. Proximity sensing keyless entry and pushbutton ignition is ultra-handy, standard on all turbo models, as is the trip computer for figuring out fuel economy, etc, variable intermittent wipers for the occasional shower, and the powered glass sunroof for otherwise letting the rays shine in. On top of the leather already mentioned, my Limited with Navigation tester added dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated compass, and heated rear seats, no less, plus the nav system and a back-up camera.

Moving up through the trim levels doesn't change the suspension settings other than to adjust for wheel and tire size. Suffice to say that the Sonata is nimble. Actually, with the optional 18-inch alloy rims underfoot and their 225/45R18 all-season tires, the Sonata 2.0T bordered on sport sedan status. I carved out some tricky corners sans kids prior to the trip and could tell that the new model's engineers learned a thing or two from the Genesis sedan team. When combined with the car's 2.0-litre four-cylinder, that thanks to turbocharging and direct injection makes an astounding 274-horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, the latter from a very low 1,800 rpm, and a paddle-shift actuated six-speed automatic gearbox, the daily grind swiftly became sublime.

But like I said before, the road trip was more about fuel efficiency and comfort, and with respect to the former, the Sonata, with dash-mounted Eco button depressed, delivered better than expected with miserly consumption of about 7 L/100km on the highway. Around town mileage ranged between 10 and 11 L/100km, which isn't as good as the overoptimistic estimated Canadian ratings of 9.3 in the city and 6.0 on the highway, but falls inline with U.S. EPA ratings. An additional bonus, despite all that power from a small turbocharged four, the Sonata 2.0T only asks for cheaper regular fuel. To the latter end, the Sonata delivered a comfortable, stable ride at high-speed and superb seat support and roominess fore and aft.

The trunk is a glutton, swallowing up 464 litres (16.3 cubic feet) of our gear so that nothing except pillows, junk food, a couple of fully stocked iPods, my USB drive with even more tunes, and our family UNO game (that fits into a cupholder with cool round cards) needed to be up front.

With the car loaded up, cruise control set to 10 over the posted limit, lamp poles and trees whizzing past as the mountains above and valleys below crawled to keep up, it was a comfort knowing the Sonata had all the airbags it needed front and back, standard traction and stability control, active headrests and tire pressure monitoring. You might also appreciate a warranty that stretches five-years or 100,000 kilometers bumper to bumper, but my mind went back a few years to a previous-generation long-term Sonata I had in my keep for almost a year and any concerns about reliability instantly vanished. That car, like this Sonata, performed flawlessly, and that thought now puts a smile on my face.

You see, the Audi S4 I would have otherwise taken on this trip ended up on the hands of my colleague who experienced a meltdown of the car's infotainment system, which unfortunately eliminated control of the audio and navigation systems as well as the car's dynamic driving controls. In retrospect I think I made the right choice for my road trip.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Hyundai, 2011, Sonata 2.0T, $20,000 - $29,999, $30,000 - $39,999, Midsize,

Organizations: Hyundai

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