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Heels on Wheels: 2013 Hyundai Sonata Review

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2013 Hyundai Sonata Review

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

When the completely reinvented sixth-generation Sonata hit the showroom a few model years ago, it was quite the upset to tried-and-true competitors: A value-oriented formula that mixes youthful styling, modern technology and affordable pricing is what draws shoppers from the usual mid-size sedan suspects.

I drove 2013 Hyundai Sonata with the 198-horsepower 2.4-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 4-cylinder engine with Continuous Variable Value Timing and 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC paddle shifters. Available in the entry-level GLS, sportier SE, Limited and Hybrid trims, my Limited test drive cam with the following standard features: sunroof; power driver’s seat; leather upholstery; heated front and rear seats; dual climate control; leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls; Bluetooth; Blue Link telematics system; premium 360-watt Dimension audio system with XM Radio and HD Radio; and fog lights. Total price as described without upgrades comes to $25,845.

Not much has changed for the 2013 model; a bit more content can be expected from all trims. But the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Honda Accord have risen to the call and can now better compete with what this more sophisticatedly drawn mid-size sedan is doing.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Sonata uses high-quality materials and provides a driver-centric experience. Hyundai’s Blue Link is a safety, service and infotainment telematics system with over thirty different features, from running vehicle diagnostics to finding your Sonata Hybrid in a busy parking lot by way of your smart phone. Space is acceptable for five passengers and workable with child seats. The upgraded panoramic sunroof is a must-have feature, bringing a sleek exterior look and a sense of wide-open space inside. Honda delivers the prefect zinger to Hyundai by installing a standard rearview camera inside each Accord. It’s presented as an upgraded option on the Sonata and is not standard on any trim (same goes for the eight-inch navigation display – you have to opt for the Tech Package to get these items).

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the 2013 model as a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives it an overall rating of 5-Stars (the only 4-Star rating is in frontal crash). Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, an advanced airbag system, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution

Cost Issues: An entry-level GLS trim starts at $21,195 with my Limited test drive reaching $29,080 with a $2,900 Premium Package (upgraded panoramic sunroof, navigation, upgraded Infinity audio system), $200 Shimmering White paint job and a few other incidentals.

Activity & Performance Ability: The Sonata’s direct injection powertrain system delivers an even and robust response with smooth gear transitioning, paired to tuned suspension system that feels nimble at the corners. Road noise is quite noticeable during highway speeds. The Sonata also offers a twin-scroll turbocharged 2-liter with 274 horsepower at 269 pound-feet of torque and a hybrid version that mates the 2.4-liter to next-generation lithium polymer battery technology for a combined horsepower of 206.

The Green Concern: Fuel economy for the 2.4-liter is 24-city and 35-highway for a combined 28 miles-per-gallon with the hybrid version gets 34 miles-per-gallon city and 39 highway. But topping them all out is the plug-in Ford Fusion Energi with more than 100 mile-per-gallon equivalent – that’s 8 more than the Chevrolet Volt and 13 more than the Toyota Prius Plug-in.

Redesigned competitors might have improved technology and powertrain capabilities on similar models, but the 2013 Hyundai Sonata continues to remain one mid-size sedan gem able to radiate true value from every angle.

©2013 Katrina Ramser