2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited Turbo Review - What's Not To Like?


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2011 Hyundai Sonata
2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T What’s not to like?

by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

It was really hard to find any fault with my 2011 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T test car and if I did it would be a nitpick. I had a week of drive time with the Sonata which included a week-end road trip from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan and back. I was happy to be in a car, a sedan, and not a truck for this trip. There was no blizzard, no heavy rain, I wasn’t hauling a lot of stuff, just my wife and I off to a family gathering.

The 3 1/2 hour drive to Ann Arbor is interstate all the way with most of it being in Michigan that has a 70 mph speed limit. To keep up with traffic one needs to go faster than that; and, I keep up with traffic. The EPA Highway MPG rating for the 2.0T is 33mpg. I’m not a hyper-miler. I go for quickest driving time. Both coming and going the Sonata got between 34 and 35 mpg. Impressive! The Sonata 2.0T’s EPA City rating is 22 mpg city.


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The 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine in the 2011 Sonata produces 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque from 1750-4500 rpm with regular fuel (that’s regular; no premium required). I had occasion to do some passing…you know those LLBs – Left Lane Bandits who don’t move over…and more quickly than I expected I approached the 3-figure readings on the speedometer.

The transmission is a six-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC manual control that shifted very smoothly and seamlessly.Having six gears enables closer spacing between gear ratios providing a better balance of performance and fuel economy while also delivering strong acceleration. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters make for some fun driving. With MacPherson strut front suspension, independent multi-link rear suspension, disc brakes at all wheels, 18 inch wheels fitted with P225/45R18 tires, the 3400lb. curb weight Sonata is one joy to drive.

All Sonatas use ultra-high-strength steel, resulting in world-class body rigidity, yet it is lighter than most midsize sedans, and offers more interior room. Noteworthy is that the Sonata is EPA classified as a Large Car, one class above competitors like Camry, Altima, Fusion and Malibu. The low 0.28 CD not only makes for great low fuel consumption but also quiet driving. The absence of wind and also tire noise was very pleasing, The 16.4 cubic foot trunk makes for easy luggage carrying and the 18.5 gal. fuel tank will let you easily travel over 600 miles with any stop along the way being for driver relief and not car refueling.

The 2.0T is available in SE trim level priced at $24,145 or Limited trim level at $27, 045. My Limited test car had the optional Navigation Package ($2100) that includes a rear backup camera and brought the total price with shipping to exactly $30,000.


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Hyundai’s design language is termed “Fluidic Sculpture.” The Sonata exterior is long, light and low. The high beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by the third window. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai signature chrome accent that spans the length of the car. Inside, the look continues creating a sophisticated and upscale ambiance. A flow-through center console and instrument panel complement the exterior design and wrap around the driver and passengers.

Standard safety equipment includes advanced airbag technology and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist, which provides maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles based on the vehicle loading conditions.


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Sonata features six airbags—including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags—along with active front-seat head restraints. Other passive safety features include shingle-style rear-seat head restraints for improved visibility, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, front-seat seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters, and a rear-seat Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for child seats.


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The interior is replete with every comfort and convenience you would want, including heated rear seats. The only item I found desirous was a heated steering wheel which would make my wife very happy in Chicago winters.


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Other Sonata models include the GLS, SE and Limited equipped with the 2.4-liter, GDI DOHC in-line 4-cylinder engine and priced starting at $19,395. Sonatas are assembled in Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama production plant.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata was named the Midwest Automotive Media Association (M.A.M.A.) Family Vehicle of the Year.

Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program which now includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-year complimentary Roadside Assistance in addition to the highly acclaimed vehicle return policy introduced in early 2009.

Larry Nutson


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