THE 2013 HYUNDAI SONATA REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: Why Wouldn’t You Like It?
There are two simple questions behind every midsize sedan review: Who should buy the car, and why does it not have a small-block V8? The answer to the former is en route. As to the gas-guzzling V8, blame OPEC.
For over two decades, the Sonata languished as a bad joke. Yet after a few billion dollars in research and a full-bore redesign in 2011, the Sonata is now the third best-selling car in its segment. With class-leading value, style, and fuel efficiency, the Sonata turned the world upside and Hyundai’s sales charts right-side up. Yet the Sonata generates its fair share of controversy, and some do not like it.
What Does It Look Like?
The Sonata is styled under a design language termed, “fluidic design sculpture.” The potent art form is characterized by long, flowing lines and dynamic, chiseled finishes. (See 80+ images of the Sonata). Although hyper-trendy, the Sonata’s beautiful chaos puts out many a Mercedes-Benz fan. Some pundits claim that the dashing Sonata will lose its appeal in the upcoming years.
Why you’d like it: You appreciate driving a car modeled after the Four Elements. It compliments your tai chi.
Why you wouldn’t: You think the Rolls Phantom is the most beautiful thing since Prada.
Packin’ a Powertrain
Consumers may choose between one of two engines. The base 2.4-liter I4 regularly achieves 198 horsepower. PZEV-certified renditions drop to 190 horsepower. When equipped with a dual-exhaust on the SE trim, the 2.4-liter nets 200 horsepower. For 2013, Hyundai dropped the manual transmission, leaving only a six-speed automatic. Paddle shifters are standard on the SE, unavailable on the base GLS and standard on the Limited trim when equipped with the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Courtesy of one whirring turbine, the boosted 2.0-liter achieves 274 horsepower with only a marginal decrease in fuel economy.
Why you’d like it: You can live without the satisfaction of revving past every vehicle on the highway.
Why you wouldn’t: You ignore anything that doesn’t drink 93-octane fuel and lacks a rear deck spoiler.
In standard guise, the Sonata is precisely what most midsize sedan shoppers want: crisp, comfortable and composed. Though typically serene, the ride has a feisty side when asked to executive evasive maneuvers. With its re-tuned suspension resulting in 20 percent more stiffness, the SE trim is the model of choice for sport-oriented customers.
Why you’d like it: You think it’s what the Honda Accord should have been.
Why you wouldn’t: You deem the Suzuki Kizashi the only midsize sedan with any gumption.
In structure and mechanics, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata is virtually identical to the 2012 model. As such, it benefits from the former’s five-star NHTSA overall safety rating and a Top Safety Pick recommendation from the IIHS.
Why you’d like it: You enjoy the Sonata’s reliability and point-and-shoot simplicity.
Why you wouldn’t: You think stability control is an unwelcome Mary Poppins.
Comfort & Cargo
With over 120 cubic feet of interior space, the Hyundai Sonata is actually classified as a large sedan. All room except headroom is superb. The cabin has plenty of nooks and crannies, and the 16.4-cubic foot trunk is one of the largest in its class.
Like the exterior, the interior utilizes organic, rhythmic design to stimulate the driver and passengers. Similar to Volvo’s system, the Sonata uses an intuitive human-shape climate controls system. The black, silver and blue design scheme lends the Sonata an air of elegant athleticism. The quality and quantity of interior materials is on par with other class leaders.
Why you’d like it: Your three children all want their own cup holders.
Why you wouldn’t: Your childhood nickname was, “The Jolly Green Giant.”
For 2013, the Hyundai Sonata sedan is available in three trim levels: GLS, SE ($23,345) and Limited ($25,845). Regardless of trim, Sonata models are reasonably priced and well-equipped with high-tech technology and cabin conveniences. The Limited trim, which is relatively inexpensive, offers heated rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, panoramic sunroof, and plush leather upholstery. Many options are available.
Why you’d like it: You clip coupons and buy knock-off brands.
Why you wouldn’t: Seventh Avenue is the only way to drive.
Why wouldn’t you like the 2013 Hyundai Sonata?
2.4-liter inline four-cylinder: 198/200 hp @6,300 rpm, 184/186 lb-ft of torque @4,250 rpm
2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder: 274 hp @6,000 rpm/269 lb-ft of torque @1,750 rpm
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Economy: 22/34 – 24/35 mpg
Base MSRP: $20,895
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