Full 2007 Hyundai Sonata Review
What's New for 2007
For 2007, Hyundai has shuffled the Sonata's trim levels. GLS replaces the previous GL moniker and Limited takes the place of LX. Hyundai has also introduced a new sporty SE trim. Later in the model year, a tire-pressure monitor and XM radio become standard across the line.
After years of playing second fiddle to the family sedan class favorites, the latest Sonata proves that the company is worthy of first-chair status. The 2007 Hyundai Sonata builds on the strengths of last year's completely redesigned model that captured the hearts and minds of the automotive press, and the checkbooks of scores of consumers. Along with the attractive design, fine build quality, smooth performance and quiet ride of last year's model, the 2007 version adds a few worthwhile improvements. The steering wheel-mounted audio controls now allow one to surf station presets or CD tracks and all engines now meet ULEV (ultra-low-emission vehicle) standards.
Thanks to its generous amount of interior space, the Hyundai Sonata is actually classified by the government as a "large car," although its exterior dimensions are squarely within the midsize family sedan category. This makes for a 'best of both worlds' benefit -- the cabin offers plenty of room for rear passengers, while the Sonata remains relatively easy to maneuver and park on crowded city streets.
Although Hyundai's early days in the U.S. saw the company struggle due to subpar performance and overall quality, the company has reinvented itself within the last decade. Nowadays, things are 180 degrees from that rough start, and you can find Hyundai winning comparison tests (as the Sonata did in a price-driven Edmunds.com family sedan test) as well as initial-quality awards from J.D. Power. It also boasts strong five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection and 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain coverage.
Perhaps more than any other modern automaker, Hyundai has shown that a company can change its products and its image for the better in a fairly short time if a concerted effort is made. Even disregarding the price advantage that it holds over the more established class entries like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the 2007 Hyundai Sonata would still merit strong consideration due to its inviting cabin, abundant standard features, polished on-road demeanor and confidence-inspiring warranty.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Hyundai Sonata is offered in three trim levels: base GLS, sporty SE and plush Limited. The GLS comes with features like air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control and a CD/MP3 player. The SE has a 3.3-liter V6, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a trip computer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and automatic headlights. The Limited adds leather upholstery, a power driver seat, seat heaters, automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror and Homelink. The Premium Sport Package for the GLS adds a power driver seat, power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and a trip computer. Available packages on the SE and Limited versions add features such as an Infinity audio system with six-disc CD changer and a sunroof.
Powertrains and Performance
The GLS comes standard with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 162 horsepower and 164 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a four-speed automatic optional. A 3.3-liter V6 is standard on the SE and Limited trims. The V6 makes 234 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a five-speed automatic transmission. Both automatics can be shifted manually if so desired. The power and refinement of both engines is notable, though the V6 is obviously the more responsive of the two. It's also quick, with a 0-60-mph time of less than 8 seconds. Still, the smaller engine doesn't sound or feel harsh, and those who prefer the fuel economy and lower price of a four-cylinder car won't get shortchanged by choosing the GLS.
All Sonatas come well-stocked with the latest safety features as standard equipment, including antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active head restraints. In NHTSA crash tests, the Hyundai Sonata was impressive, scoring five stars (out of five) in both frontal- and side-impact tests. In the IIHS frontal-offset crash test, the Sonata scored a rating of "Good," (the highest possible out of four ratings) and received an "Acceptable" (the second highest) rating in IIHS side-impact testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
In spite of the car's relatively low price point, the Sonata's cabin manages to exude quality via an abundance of soft-touch surfaces and a precise feel to the various controls. Although leather looks more impressive than cloth, we found the latter more comfortable overall. Unexpected and appreciated features include (on the SE and Limited) a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, steering wheel-mounted audio controls (that now allow one to seek station presets or audio tracks) and a trip computer.
The Sonata's well-tuned suspension smothers the bumps and keeps its composure in turns without drama. Overall, the ride feels surprisingly refined, and even at very high speeds, the Sonata's cabin remains quiet. Braking performance is impressive for this segment, with stopping distances from 60 mph taking less than 130 feet. The Sonata's only significant detriment on the move is its poor road feel through the steering wheel.