Friday, August 22, 2014

Hyundai plays a better Sonata

From page B3 | May 17, 2013 |

Hyundai has been on a roll recently. The old Sonata should have worried Toyota and Honda — the new one should keep them up at night, because it is much better than the old car and possibly better than the Accord and Camry.

To find out, we managed to borrow a Sonata Limited and what we found was very interesting.

Beginning with the 2011 Sonata and 2010 Tucson projects, Hyundai designers set to work on what they call Fluidic Sculpture. Fluidic Sculpture is a consistent, cohesive design language that will ripple through the entire Hyundai showroom. In developing the initial Sonata sketches, Hyundai designers considered the interplay of natural, fluid elements with more rigid surfaces and structures to create the illusion of constant motion. Fluidic Sculpture injects sophistication and dynamic angles into the shape of a vehicle and now serves as the core of Hyundai’s future design identity.

The exterior of the all-new Sonata is long, light and low. The look is aggressive, but smooth; an interesting look that is actually a smart marketing move. It is bold enough to get people excited, but not so much to actually turn people off. The sophisticated look continues inside, where Hyundai has created an upscale ambiance much more expensive and rich than the competition. The feel of the Japanese brands is more economy-car, with some features added. The Sonata feels more European which is a good thing.

The interior is also roomy enough to satisfy the American consumer taste. The Sonata has more passenger volume than most cars in its class. In fact, the Sonata and the Accord are the only two in this class (among the best sellers) that are classified as “large” by the EPA. It also boasts the second-largest trunk of the bunch, only getting beaten by the Ford Fusion. The Sonata trunk is larger than the Accord by a whopping 17 percent.

The new Sonata comes with Hyundai’s new Theta II GDI 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a Gasoline Direct-Injection fuel delivery system, which contributes to improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Hyundai claims that the Sonata is the first midsize sedan to adopt GDI technology as standard equipment in a naturally aspirated powertain. This shorter, more direct path of fuel delivery, allows for greater control of the fuel mixture at the optimum moment, thus improving efficiency.

The fuel is injected by a camshaft-driven, high pressure pump that operates at pressures up to 2,175 psi. Direct injection also utilizes a higher than normal 11.3:1 compression ratio for increased power. Hyundai claims best-in-class fuel economy, best-in-class four-cylinder horsepower and best-in-class torque. The 2.4 liter DOHC engine puts out 198 hp in the Limited trim. This high-tech, all-aluminum, 16-valve engine features Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing and a Variable Induction System for better engine breathing. A version of this engine also meets Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) standards. There is also a hybrid version of the Sonata and a turbo version for those that want more power.

The transmission in most Sonatas will be a six-speed automatic that works well, but is not programmed for sporty driving. It does provide smooth shifts but is a little slow to respond. Developed over a four-year period, this new transmission is 26.4 pounds lighter than the five-speed it replaces. It’s also 1.6 inches shorter and considerably simpler, having 62 fewer parts, which is a key to increased durability. The transmission has no dipstick because it is filled with automatic transmission fluid that is good for the life of the vehicle under normal usage conditions, thereby reducing maintenance costs. If you are a driving enthusiast, there used to be a six-speed manual transmission available but no more.

Behind the wheel the Sonata is a marvel. The 198-horsepower engine is powerful enough for everyday driving but if you need more power you should consider the turbo option. The car is smooth and the fully independent suspension offers good handling as long as you do not push very hard. You can tell that the car was not designed to be a sports sedan but neither was the Camry. The overall feeling of the car tells you that the Sonata likes to be driven at a good pace but not at a sports sedan pace. If you push too hard, you will discover that the Sonata is no sports sedan.

The Sonata is also very competitive in the fuel-economy department. The automatic Sonata is rated at 24 mpg city and 35 mpg on the highway. Those numbers match or beat the competition, all of whom give you less power from their four cylinders.

If you like what you read so far, Sonata pricing will really put a smile on your face. The entry level GLS starts out at $21,195. The sporty SE will cost you $23,545 and the top of the line Limited will cost you $25,845. Order the Limited with the turbo engine and you are looking at $27,595. Those numbers are very competitive.

The Sonata is a serious threat to the competition in this hotly contested segment. If you are considering a family sedan, you have to test drive a Sonata before you sign any papers.



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

    Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

    Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Record drought saps California honey production

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    World travelers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9



    Weightlifters causing a racket

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    No support for militarization

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    A better use for this vehicle

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Police are our friends, right?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Wage plan has a big flaw

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10



    Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

    Light-hitting Cats fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Giants win nightcap in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery





    Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Natsoulas to host mural conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    Yolo Mambo to play free show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11



    Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery





    Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6