2010 Hyundai Sonata Performance
This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.
Although not the sportiest ride the affordable midsize segment has to offer, reviewers compliment the Hyundai Sonata's more powerful, more fuel-efficient engines and commend the smoother ride thanks to a tweaked suspension.
- "Both the four-and six-cylinder engines have received an influx of power, while raising fuel economy at the same time. That's worthy a thumbs-up any day." -- Edmunds
- "Wind-noise suppression is good across the board. Neither the 4-cylinder nor V6 engine sounds especially refined, but both settle down nicely at idle and while cruising." -- Consumer Guide
- "If anything...it felt a little boatlike. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because a smooth, soft ride is what many shoppers want. But if sportiness is important to you, the Sonata SE is no match for rivals such as the V6-powered Malibu." -- BusinessWeek
Acceleration and Power
The 2010 Hyundai Sonata delivers pleasing power, and receives kudos for increasing the horsepower of both the four-cylinder and V6 engines. But writers also report the Sonata's five-speed automatic transmission could use more fine-tuning.
- "The 4 groans a bit when pushed hard, but it doesn't sound as if gasping for breath." -- Chicago Tribune
- "The four-banger is powerful enough for most folks, but if you want the extra boost, the six is good to go." -- Austin American-Statesman
- "The V6 brings a grin to the face, benefiting from a 15-hp increase over last year." -- New Car Test Drive
- "In the V6-powered Sonata, acceleration from a dead stop is good, and there's plenty of oomph at highway speed. Punch the gas at, say, 55 miles per hour, and the car jumps." -- BusinessWeek
- "The five-speed automatic transmission proved to be a weak link in this power train. It doesn't react particularly fast, even in manual mode, and it takes a while to find the right gear when stressed with hill climbs or passing." -- CNET
- "Revised programming makes the transmission more responsive than in previous Sonatas, but it still lags behind its rivals for overall smoothness." -- Consumer Guide
Both of the available engines on the 2010 Sonata put up respectabe fuel economy numbers compared to most of the midsize class. According to the EPA, the 2010 Sonata should achieve 21/32 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual. Switching out for a five-speed automatic generates 22/32 city/highway. At the top of the line, the V6 engine should achieve 19/29 city/highway.
- "The Sonata now leads its main competitors in fuel economy." -- BusinessWeek
- "No complaints about mileage. Hyundai had the third best fleet mileage rating last year (22.7 m.p.g.) behind only Honda (22.9) and Toyota (22.8)." -- Chicago Tribune
Although Hyundai stiffened the suspension system in the new Sonata, the automotive press still found the soft ride quality they've come to associate with the automaker. But while some appreciate this quality, others wish for more sport.
- "Ride is about 10% stiffer than the past model but certainly won't put off any customers who like that soft feel." -- The Auto Channel
- "The suspension is too soft." -- CNET
- "Like most other Hyundais, the Sonata has been designed to prioritize ride comfort over precise handling." -- Edmunds
- "The underpinnings are retuned for better ride and improved handling, the latter especially in the SE model. Hyundai has also put effort into quelling noise levels, an issue, as noted, with the previous car." -- Motor Trend
- "In terms of ride quality, 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." -- New Car Test Drive
Steering and Braking
For the most part, test drivers wish for better feel from the 2010 Sonata's engine-speed-sensing steering, but are pleased with the responsiveness of the car's standard anti-lock brakes.
- "Steering is light and direct, with good on-center feel, directional stability." -- New Car Test Drive
- "We didn't get a lot of road feel through the steering wheel because of the power mechanism, although it was tight enough to produce results when turned. Again, this tuning is fine in a commute car, but can be troublesome in situations where you want some feedback." -- CNET
- "Numb feel to the steering." -- Edmunds
- "ABS allows the driver to maintain steering control under hard braking. Yet we noticed little of the interference we've found with some more complex EBD-equipped systems, and then only in the final stages of a stop. In the same vein, the electronic stability control (that relies a good deal on the braking system) is seldom noticed and comes on progressively when needed." -- New Car Test Drive