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Hyundai Sonata Review

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2007 Hyundai Sonata
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2007 Hyundai Sonata
2007 Hyundai Sonata
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2007 Hyundai Sonata

It’s hard to imagine, but Hyundai says that while it has one of the highest customer loyalty ratings in the industry, getting new buyers into the showroom has been a challenge. Hence the Sonata's new tagline: “A Hyundai you’ve never seen before" and true to form the redesigned Sonata has more power, more space and better fit and finish than it has ever had in the past.

A summary of all reveiewers on Autos.com rates the 2006 Sonata as 5th best of 20 mid-sized cars.[1]

Consumer Reports has given the Sonata a "very good" while MSN's users rate this vehicle a 9.3 out of 10 for overall experience. This includes, styling, performance and quality.[2]


See also the main fact sheet for the Hyundai Sonata.

Contents

High Points

  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Accident avoidence
  • Comfort and convenience
  • Gas mileage

Low Points

Performance and Handling

The 2006 Sonata is adequately equipped with a standard 4-cylinder that offers 162HP. The 3.3-liter V6 with 235HP an available 247 HP engine in Canada are smooth yet responsive and reach cruising speed with little effort.

Acceleration is brisk in the four-cylinder and brings a grin to the face in the V6. Hyundai officials say the V6 will turn 0-60 miles per hour times of about 6.6 seconds, with a top speed of 147 mph. Shifts are executed easily with the five-speed manual, and chirping the front tires is even easier. The Shiftronic automatic transmission moves between gears smoothly, kicking down for passing with minimal hesitation. In manual mode, the Shiftronic will upshift automatically when the engine bumps up against redline, and it declines to downshift at all, leaving that to the driver's preferences.

Steering is light and direct, with good on-center feel and directional stability. Brakes are mostly linear, displaying little of the interference of some of the more complex EBD-equipped systems and then only in the final stages of a stop. Nevertheless, the Sonata is equipped with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, which improves stability and reduces stopping distances by balancing brake force between the front and rear tires, and anti-lock brakes, which allow the driver to maintain steering control under hard braking. The 17-inch wheel/tire combination makes its presence known on rough pavement, where the shorter sidewalls transmit more of the road's imperfections into the cabin. Wind and road noise is decently muted.

The suspension suffers more from what's best described as teething than from lack of proper geometry and components. The latter are there: double wishbones in front, multi-links in back, twin-tube gas-pressure shocks and stabilizer bars all 'round, with a larger front bar in the V6 to handle the larger engine's extra weight. But how it all works together still needs, well, work. Against the competition, which has been refining its suspension technology for much longer than Hyundai, the Sonata feels less polished, less of a whole. Not that there's anything wrong or necessarily lacking in the ride and handling, just that some of the transitions, in direction and between types and qualities of pavements, aren't as smooth as the look and feel of the Sonata promises. The front end tucks in nicely as steering is cranked in, but the car doesn't track as surely as expected. There's also the impression of poorly managed unsprung mass when the rear suspension crosses rough or broken pavement, which suggests the hard parts are a generation or two behind in the alloys used and how they're formed. Still, interstate-intensive travel, even at socially irresponsible speeds, is smooth and unruffled, which is no small achievement.

Gas Mileage:

  • Note that the below table displays the fuel economy ratings of the revised EPA rating system which began testing in 2007.

Trim

4-cyl. Manual

4-cyl. Automatic

6-cyl. Automatic

Engine

2.4 DOHC

2.4 DOHC

3.3 DOHC

MPG (City/Highway)

21/31

21/30

18/27

Safety

NHTSA Crash Test
NHTSA Crash Test

Two 5-Star Safety Ratings by NHTSA

The Sonata receives the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) top 5-Star safety rating for both frontal crash and side impacts.


For 2007 Sonata comes standard with:

  • 4-wheel antilock disc brakes
  • Front airbags
  • Side air bags for front and rear occupants.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Active Head Restraints
  • Seatbelt Pretensioners

Reliability and Maintenance

The Sonata is easy to take care of with very little in the way of scheduled maintenance until 100,000 miles is reached (other than oil changes at regular intervals).

As with many other Hyundai models, oil change intervals arrive only ever 7500 miles.

It is backed by one of the longest powertrainn warranties in the automotive industry at 10yrs or 100,000 miles.

Interior and Comforts

The Hyundai Sonata's new interior marks a major step up the quality ladder. Some rough edges on a few plastic molds and a less-than-lustrous finish on some dash panels can still be noticed. But the overall look is clearly competitive with most in the class and better than some.

Three round dials in the hooded instrument cluster communicate the bare necessities of operational data to the driver, with the largest the speedometer nestled inside a polished circle. To its left is the tachometer, to its right conjoined water temperature and fuel gauges. All gauges appear high quality, but many people notice the lack of the polished circle around the speedometer not also being around the other two bezels. Interestingly, Hyundai's press materials falsely display the rings being around all three gauges. In the lower dash to the left of the steering column are a bank of five switch plugs, only two of which are employed in the U.S. version, one as an on/off for the ESC, the other the dash-light rheostat, and a flip-down storage bin. The ignition key slides into a slot placed where it should be, in the dash to the right of the steering column instead of on the steering column itself. This design is safer and more intuitive.

Seats are comfortable, with adequate bolstering for the style of driving to which the Sonata aspires. The cloth upholstery on the GLS looks and feels durable; on the SE, it's a bit fancier in texture and stitching. The leather surfaces in the Limited add a touch of class without feeling pretentious or inauthentic. The height adjustment on the driver's seat, both manual and power, pivots on the seat's front mounts, which effectively moves the seat forward as it rises. This is a particularly-poor setup for taller drivers, but a positive feature for shorter drivers such as women. Among the primary competitors, the new Sonata only comes in second to the Honda Accord in front and rear headroom and to the Toyota Camry in rear-seat headroom, but by a mere one- to three-tenths of an inch. And of the second-tier competitors, the Kia Optima alone betters the new Sonata and then only by three-tenths of an inch in front seat hip room. Rear seats are accommodating, with the bottom cushion in the center position only minimally higher than and nearly as well padded as the outboard positions. Both rear outboard seating positions have adjustable head restraints, as do the front seats. The rear seatback is split 60/40 and folds to allow the transport of long objects, such as skis and snowboards or gardening tools, depending on the weekend and season.

Storage bins and cubbies are about average for the class. Only front doors have map pockets, and there's no compartment in the rear of the center console, which is, however, bi-level and on the Limited fitted with a sliding top cover. The center console and the rear-seat center armrest provide two cupholders each. A small bin in the forward part of the center console is convenient for coins and keys, while a fuzzy-finished cubby with a flip-down cover occupies the space in the center stack below the climate control panel. A thoughtful addition is a flip-out hook in the footwell on the passenger side of the center stack to restrain handbags and the like (think "purses").

The trunk is the second most capacious in the class, losing out to the Toyota Camry by less than half a cubic foot. Despite the use of gas-pressure struts and articulated linkage on the trunk lid, the Sonata's stubby back end constrains the opening; in other words, it holds a lot, just not big lots.

Exterior

The new Sonata's fascia is refreshingly clean and spare, with sharply angled headlight housings and a quiet, clean-cut grille topped with a sliver of chrome. Wide and deep openings beneath the front bumper provide a home for tightly focused foglamps and visually pull the front end closer to the ground while directing cooling air into the radiator. The striking, concave hood reduces the car's perceived mass without cramping the engine compartment. Unlike many competitors, the Sonata's hood lines are visible from inside the vehicle.

The chassis shape is somewhat reminiscent of an Audi A6, and rightfully so. Hyundai's designers are on the record saying the A6 gave inspiration for certain design elements, and during testing calling the Sonata the "Affordable A6."The side treatment avoids the all-too-common wedge look with an almost horizontal beltline riding above softly shouldered fenders and door panels. Mirrored "Z" seams where the end corners of the bumpers meet the quarter panels add interest, while blacked-out window surrounds play down the tallish side glass. Extended C-pillars shorten the deck lid, which itself presents a rounded, gently sculpted profile vaguely reminiscent of the much maligned posterior posture of today's BMW sedans. The flat-flanged rims on the up-level 17-inch wheels suggest a high-end European import more than an affordable Asian nameplate.

The taillight outlines repeat the headlight shapes and bookend a broad, trapezoidal license plate inset. Again, there's a hint of other cars' architecture, most notably contemporary Camrys and Accords. While many people complain that the Sonata looks too similar to a Honda Accord, beside a 2003-2005 Honda Accord (the model it is most compared to), most would describe the Hyundai as having a less dumpy design. V6-equipped models feature Hyundai signature chrome-tipped dual muffler exhaust outputs.

Styles and Options

The Hyundai Sonata is available in 3 trims: GLS, SE, and Limited.

GLS Sedan

2007 Hyundai Sonata
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2007 Hyundai Sonata
Sonata leather LX interior
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Sonata leather LX interior

SE Sedan

  • all features listed in GLS Sedan
  • 3.3L V6 235-hp engine
  • 5-speed automatic transmission
  • 17" "Euroflange" alloy wheels
  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows, mirrors, and door locks
  • AM/FM/CD audio system with 6 speakers
  • Fog lights
  • Trip computer
  • Steering wheel audio controls
  • Carpeted floor mats
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Anti-theft system
  • Solar-tint glass

Limited Sedan

  • all features listed in SE Sedan
  • Automatic temperature control
  • Leather seating
  • Available black interior
  • Limited exterior badging

All Sonata models are equipped with air conditioning, compact disc player, power locks and power windows as standard equipment. There are many aftermarket options such as mud flaps & upgraded wheels available for the Sonata through Hyundai's vast dealer network.

Main Competitors

Testimonials

  • "The Hyundai Sonata V6 SE is a great car. Very Fast and Powerful. I have one and I think it is funny when you get those kids, that pull up next to you in their Honda Civics or Scion tCs, and the Sonata has no problem leaving them in the dust."

"This car does everything well, and even a few things with excellence. The engine's sophistication, linear acceleration, and smoothness give you BMW goosebumps for about a third as much."

External Links

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