The Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan that competes with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion in the crowded family-car segment. The five-seat Sonata was redesigned last year and received much more distinctive styling and better gas mileage.
Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system is now standard, and the Limited trim gains a three-piece panoramic moonroof. There's also a newly available 7-inch touch-screen navigation system with HD Radio.
The Sonata's sloping roof shows glimpses of the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and Volkswagen CC, yet it's distinctive enough to stand out among direct competitors like the Camry and Accord. Exterior features include:
- Standard 16-inch steel wheels
- Available 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels
- Wide chrome grille
- Extensive chrome trim
Hyundai significantly updated the Sonata's interior for the 2009 model year with better materials. Although the cabin was redesigned last year, materials quality was unchanged.
- Standard satellite radio
- Standard Blue Link telematics system
- Standard Bluetooth connectivity
- Standard auxiliary and iPod inputs
- Available touch-screen navigation system
Under the Hood
Mechanical features include:
- 198-horsepower (200 hp in SE), 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine
- Four-cylinder features direct injection for better gas mileage, more power and lower emissions
- Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission
Standard safety features include:
- Six airbags
- Active front head restraints
- Electronic stability system with traction control
- Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist
The Sonata Hybrid combines a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a 30-kilowatt electric motor for a total output of 209 hp, which is slightly more than the base four-cylinder Sonata's output. The car gets an EPA-estimated 35/40 mpg city/highway, which puts it ahead of the Toyota Camry Hybrid's 31/35 mpg and just short of the Ford Fusion Hybrid's 41/36 mpg.
There's a litany of visual changes versus the regular Sonata that include a large, hexagonal front air dam; unique headlights and taillights; new side sills; and the requisite hybrid badges. Inside, an LCD screen shows energy flow between the various drivetrain components, as well as indicators for electric mode, battery charge and gas mileage.
True to its name, the Sonata 2.0T has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes a V-6-like 274 hp and 269 pounds-feet of torque. Unlike the gaggle of V-6 family cars on the market, the Sonata Turbo gets a fuel-efficient 22/34 mpg. It also doesn't need premium gas. Available in SE or Limited trim levels, the 2.0T uses a six-speed automatic. Both trims get 18-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel paddle shifters and dual tailpipes.