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#8

in Affordable Midsize Cars

MSRP: $21,450 - $28,650
Invoice: $20,532 - $26,760
MPG: 24 City / 35 Hwy
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Hyundai Sonata Performance

Auto critics say the 2014 Hyundai Sonata’s four-cylinder and turbocharged four-cylinder engines have plenty of power. They agree that the Sonata is a bit nimble in turns, and that it’s comfortable on a daily basis.

  • "The 2.0T engine demonstrates V6-like acceleration, but boasts 4-cylinder fuel consumption." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "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)
  • "Acceleration and engine performance seemed more than adequate." -- Boston Globe (2011)
  • "Hyundai will never claim the Sonata is a four-door sports car. Nevertheless, our burgundy SE sedan held more than its own when pressed into the corners. The steering was nicely weighed, and the vehicle's overall balance was surprisingly good." -- Autoblog (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Hyundai Sonata has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 190 horsepower (192 in SE models). The Sonata is also available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 274 horsepower. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates Sonatas with the base engine at 24/35 mpg city/highway, while turbocharged models should get 21/32 mpg. These figures are good for the class, but rivals like the Mazda6 and Nissan Altima use less fuel.

The Sonata’s base engine is potent enough for most drivers, especially from a stop, critics say, though they really like the turbocharged engine, saying it delivers impressive V6-like power. Most test drivers agree that the six-speed automatic’s shifts are quick and smooth, though some note that the transmission hesitates to downshift when more power is needed to pass another car.

  • "When equipped with the base 2.4-liter engine, the 2014 Hyundai Sonata provides eager acceleration by segment standards. The optional 2.0-liter turbo engine serves up serious lag-free punch on demand and keeps up with competitors' V6 engines. Either way, the gearchanges from the six-speed automatic transmission are smooth and prompt." -- Edmunds
  • "Considering it is being pulled by a 4-cylinder engine, we are amazed at how quickly and smoothly the 2014 Hyundai Sonata can move from dead stop." -- 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 (2013)
  • "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 Hyundai Sonata’s steering and suspension strike a good balance between sport and comfort, according to most test drivers. They add that drivers will like the Sonata’s strong brakes. Some reviewers point out that the Sonata SE’s suspension is tuned more firmly than the suspensions in GLS and Limited models, and can feel rigid at times. New for 2014 is a driver selectable steering mode system, which lets drivers alter the Sonata’s steering characteristics to one of three settings: comfort, normal and sport.

  • "From braking to handling to ride smoothness, the Sonata excels in every category." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The GLS and Limited models stake out an agreeable middle ground between comfort and control. The ride quality is relatively firm, but there's sufficient compliance over rough pavement. We're less sold on the Sonata SE, which rides harshly at times due to its sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels. For consumers primarily looking for a car to drive to work, this version's minor handling improvements probably won't be enough to justify the stiffer ride." -- Edmunds
  • "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)
Review Last Updated: 12/4/13

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