in 2013 Affordable Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $15,376 - $20,895
Original MSRP: $20,895 - $27,595
MPG: 24 City / 35 Hwy
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2013 Hyundai Sonata Performance

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

Auto critics agree that despite only offering turbo-four and four-cylinder engines, the 2013 Sonata has plenty of power. Sporty yet comfortable handling makes the Sonata a well-rounded midsize car. The 2013 Hyundai Sonata doesn’t have a wide range of powertrain configurations like the Honda Accord, but test drivers are generally impressed with its four-cylinder engines and automatic transmission. The Sonata’s fuel economy is good compared with its gas-only rivals'.

  • "The 2.0T engine demonstrates V6-like acceleration, but boasts 4-cylinder fuel consumption." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Two hundred horsepower absolves a lot, however, and the Sonata GLS gets down the road with dispatch, if not wild abandon. This is not a performance car by any means; still, the Sonata feels reasonably spry, with nicely controlled body roll, accurate steering with good feedback, and assured braking." -- The Wall Street Journal (2011)
  • "Despite the laudable power numbers, the engines in two test cars still had a slightly coarse sound that let you know you were not driving a V-6." -- USA Today (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The Hyundai Sonata loses the six-speed manual transmission for 2013, so the six-speed automatic is now the only choice. The 2013 Sonata’s engine lineup consists of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. The base 2.4-liter engine puts out 198 horsepower (200 in SE models), while the Sonata’s available turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 274 horsepower. The EPA rates 2013 Sonatas with the base engine at 24/35 mpg city/highway, while the turbocharged models get an EPA-estimated 22/34 mpg city/highway.

Most reviewers say the base engine is powerful enough, but a few think it needs more power to pass slow drivers on the interstate. Many prefer the extra power the turbo four-cylinder provides, noting that fuel economy doesn’t take a huge hit with the more powerful engine.

  • "For how quickly and smoothly the 2013 Hyundai Sonata pulls away from a stop, you'd swear there was a V6 engine under its sleek hood. Instead, what resides there is a 2.4-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine producing 200 horsepower and delivering fuel economy figures of 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With any engine, the automatic transmission operates smoothly and it is quite responsive, though downshifts for more passing power are sometimes delayed. However, quick downshifts can be summoned via the manual shift gate and/or the available steering-wheel shift paddles." -- Consumer Guide
  • "With 198 horsepower (200 in SE trim), the base engine will satisfy just about everybody, especially when it returns a very impressive 28 mpg combined when paired with the six-speed automatic transmission. Equally impressive is the turbo engine, which cranks out 274 hp yet still gets nearly identical fuel economy." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Cars in this class all tend to run roughly 8.0-second 0 to 60 times, and the Sonata's engine is about a noisy as all of them on the way up. Back off and it quickly upshifts to quiet down." -- Road and Track (2011)

Handling and Braking

The majority of test drivers agree that the 2013 Hyundai Sonata’s suspension and steering strike a good balance between a soft, comfortable ride and a sporty, firm ride. They say most drivers will be pleased with its handling and strong brakes. For those interested in a bit more sport, the Sonata SE’s suspension is tuned more firmly than GLS and Limited models'.

  • "Sonata GLS, Limited, and Hybrid strike a good balance between comfort and control. Sonata sometimes responds to larger road imperfections with undue body motions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Sonata excels in virtually every category, with excellent brakes and a suspension that delivers smoothness when the road gets nasty and level cornering when the asphalt starts to curve. Steering feel, however, is somewhat vague, and interior noise levels are a bit higher than those in competitors such as the Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Road lumps are acknowledged by the suspension and then promptly damped, resulting in the kind of chassis poise that will appeal to those who can appreciate the keen dynamics of, say, the Ford Fusion." -- Edmunds (2011)
  • "It's no sports car, but the Sonata doesn't mind being hustled along and is well balanced, with a comfortable ride." -- Road and Track (2011)
  • "Brakes were delightful. Push 'em a little, slow a lot. Nothing spongy, vague or tentative. Very nice." -- USA Today (2011)

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