What's New for 2001
The Sonata gets only minor trim changes for 2001, such as a new grille design and some tweaks to the rear deck lid. Additional features are ladled onto the standard equipment list.
The Sonata is a thoughtfully designed family sedan that makes for a viable alternative to the more expensive and popular Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Under the hood of base models is a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 150 horsepower and 156 foot-pounds of torque. Buyers can upgrade to a more powerful V6 or get it standard if they spring for GLS trim. This V6 is an aluminum 2.5-liter DOHC motor making 170 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 167 foot-pounds of torque that peak at 4,000, which means power off the line can be a bit lacking. Sonatas can be ordered with automatic or manual transmissions mated to either engine. Higher in the rev range, the V6 can get clamorous, and the Sonata's automatic transmission can be easily befuddled, causing occasionally hard shifts.
The Sonata offers decent steering feedback, and body roll is kept to a minimum. Road and wind noise are adequately muffled, and the brakes stop the car with confidence. Riding on a front double-wishbone suspension and a rear five-link setup, the Sonata's ride and handling can be characterized as stable, smooth and responsive.
Inside the monochromatic cabin are plush seats, an adequate driving position and a nice-looking dashboard. Drivers will also find well laid-out radio and climate controls, a nifty penholder and a leather shift knob on the GLS model. The trunk is spacious with an extremely low lift-in height for ease of use, and rear seats on the GLS fold down conveniently in a 60/40 configuration to expand the cargo area.
Standard safety features such as side airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and a passenger-presence airbag detection system all contribute to a safer environment in the Sonata. Optional ABS is offered.
Hyundai has one big advantage over most other manufacturers peddling bread-and-butter sedans these days. Aptly called the Hyundai Advantage, the company's warranty program is a great incentive to buy a Hyundai over one of the many other choices on the market. With the purchase of any Hyundai vehicle, consumers will receive an awesome 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 5-year/100,000-mile corrosion coverage and a limited bumper-to-bumper warranty for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Roadside assistance is part of the deal, too, for 5 years and unlimited mileage.
Incorporating dependability and cutting-edge style in affordable packaging, Hyundai has come a long way lately, and the Sonata is proof of it. Desirable, safe and well equipped, Sonata is perfect for hauling the family around town. If you're still not convinced that the Sonata could lure you away from that bare-bones Camry, Accord or Passat you've been salivating over, go drive one. You'll be surprised by what you discover.