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#9

in 2011 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,487 - $17,540
Original MSRP: $19,395 - $27,245
MPG: 24 City / 35 Hwy
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2011 Hyundai Sonata Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Inside, the 2011 Sonata offers a lot of car for the money. A hefty list of standard features, even on the base GLS model, includes many things the competition offers only as added-cost options.

Reviewers like the Sonata’s thoughtful interior design, and its abundant space (the EPA actually classifies it as a large sedan because of its interior volume). Many writers point out that the controls were clearly inspired by Volvo. For those who aren’t familiar with Volvo’s system, that means that the climate control buttons are shaped like a person in a seat, making it easy to direct airflow where you want it.

  • "The Sonata's cabin continues the same 'sculpted' theme as the exterior. Understandably, it debuts as a much more modern (um, futuristic?) looking cockpit. There are plenty of bluish lights, digital displays, buttons and even a hat-tip to Volvo for the humanoid-look climate control display." -- Autoblog
  • "The interior design aesthetic is modern, if not entirely original, what with its Volvo-esque HVAC cartoon and a cascading center stack -- la Cadillac CTS... Dominating the surroundings are low-gloss materials that minimize annoying reflections and, well, just plain look better than the plasti-chrome that's all the rage these days. It's all rather handsome and functional in the cabin.” -- Edmunds
  • “The Sonata has enough space inside to join the Honda Accord as the only large cars in this class, as measured by the EPA. And the Sonata does so despite being very nearly the shortest among its major competitors.” --  Automobile Magazine

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Seating

Many reviewers mention the Sonata’s spacious rear seats, but those who discuss the front seats aren’t usually as impressed. Upholstery seems to be an important consideration. Reviewers who drove a leather-appointed Sonata often have positive comments about the seats, or fail to mention them (usually a sign that they’re fine). Reviewers who drove the base GLS, with its cloth seats, however, almost always point out the fabric’s low-quality feel.

  • “Missteps [are] limited to the overly flat front seat and the low-rent feel of the cloth upholstery in GLS trim.” -- Edmunds
  • "We aren't fans of the cloth seats in the GLS or the cloth-and-leather combo in the SE, which makes leather, and therefore the Limited, a necessity. The good news for those in northern climates is that the Limited includes heated seats for both front and rear passengers.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Sonata's seats are comfy and reasonably supportive, trimmed in a combination of good-quality vinyl and textured fabric." -- Motor Trend
  • "Your writer's six-foot two-inch frame slid into the driver's seat with plenty of room. In fact, the seat had to be moved forward a bit for comfort (later that afternoon, we jumped into the rear seat behind ‘ourselves’ and discovered that space and legroom was more than adequate)." -- Autoblog

Interior Features

Hyundai has packaged a fairly impressive collection of standard features into even the base model Sonata for 2011. Reviewers are surprised to find such niceties as XM satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity offered on even the inexpensive GLS. Those shopping for a midsize sedan near the $20,000 mark might find the Sonata one of the most upscale options in their price range. Buyers should also consider the Suzuki Kizashi -- it has a similarly long list of features even in its cheapest model.

Those shopping a few thousand dollars above that mark, however, may want to consider the Ford Fusion. Hyundai has nothing to match the Fusion's SYNC infotainment system, which allows you to control smartphones and similar devices inside the car with voice commands. 

We’ve found very few comments on the quality of the stereo, or the available navigation system.

  • “All trim levels offer a heaping serving of standard equipment including a USB input, Bluetooth and XM Satellite Radio. Leather is available in the higher-zoot Limited trim level, which also offers luxuries like dual-zone auto climate control, seat heaters for the front and rear, premium audio and the like.” -- Edmunds
  • "Consumers will be happy to hear that every 2011 Hyundai Sonata comes with iPod/USB connections, XM Satellite radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity as standard equipment - items are still optional on some cars costing three times as much." -- Autoblog
  • “The driving environment is easy enough to adapt to, with straightforward controls and clear gauges housed in the currently voguish deeply hooded twin binnacles.” -- Automobile Magazine

Cargo

The 2011 Sonata’s sweeping greenhouse design makes it look as though it has a small trunk, but it doesn’t. At 16.4 cubic feet, the Sonata’s trunk is one of the largest in its class. Only the Ford Fusion and its Mercury Milan cousin can beat that measurement, with 16.5 cubic feet. 

Reviewers find storage space inside the cabin adequate, though an unusually low-mounted glovebox can open into the knees of the front-seat passenger.

  • “Still one of two sedans in the segment to be classified as a large car by the EPA (Accord is the other), the Sonata's total interior volume of 120.2 cubic-feet is class leading, and its trunk capacity of 16.4 cubic-feet and passenger volume of 103.8 cubic-feet are near the top." -- Motor Trend

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