2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS vs. 2010 Honda Accord vs. 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring Comparison Test

2011 Hyundai Sonata Sedan

(2.4L 4-cyl. 6-speed Manual)
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS Picture

    2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS Picture

    A shifting of priorities. | March 15, 2010

63 Photos

  • Comparison Test
  • Second Opinion
  • Top 12 Features
  • Data and Charts
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Specs and Performance
  • 2010 Mazda 6 Specs and Performance
  • 2010 Honda Accord Specs and Performance

Here's a statistic that might blow your mind. Honda sold more than a quarter-million Accord sedans in the U.S. last year. While that might not be news to you, what you might not know is that nine out of 10 of those Accords were sold with a four-cylinder engine, not a V6. Clearly it makes no sense any longer to compare $30,000 family sedans with V6 engines and a boatload of options. It's time to change priorities, so we've chosen to compare the best of America's large family sedans equipped with a four-cylinder engine, and that means the 2010 Honda Accord LX and the 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring, not to mention the 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS.

The Honda Accord's place in such a comparison doesn't come by accident, as its perennial spot on top of the sales charts shows this car's powerful influence on the design of the American sedan. Meanwhile, what Inside Line comparison of mainstream sedans would be complete without the Mazda 6, which has won two such comparisons? Like we said last time when the Mazda 6 s triumphed in a comparison of V6-powered sedans, "We've always believed that a family sedan can still be fun to drive, and it's great to discover that Mazda thinks so, too."

The new 2011 Hyundai Sonata is here because it is leading the shift in priorities within the class of sedans, as it combines its customary affordable price with the choice of only one engine, a thrifty four-cylinder. It's an engine perfect for the times, setting a new benchmark for output and fuel consumption in its segment. Furthermore, the 2011 Sonata's stylish, flowing sheet metal and smart interior won't alert the neighbors that you settled for a low-budget alternative to the ubiquitous volume sellers.

Shifty Business
The stage was set for a pertinent comparison test of the cars everyone is actually buying, but we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to select test cars with manual transmissions.

First of all, there's no cheaper way to buy each of these cars. Adding an automatic transmission will run you an extra $800 in the Accord LX, $900 in the Mazda 6 i Touring and a cool $1,000 for the Sonata GLS. What's more, the EPA combined fuel consumption estimate for the manually shifted Sonata is 2 mpg better with its six-speed manual. For the Accord, combined mpg is the same with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic, while the Mazda 6 actually ekes out 1 mpg better consumption with a five-speed automatic transmission over this car's six-speed manual.

(Besides all that, Inside Line is spearheading a campaign to diminish left-leg atrophy, which can cause drivers of these ordinary cars to walk in counterclockwise circles. We endeavor to return to these going-nowhere wanderers a newfound direction in life.)

So even though manual-transmission cars make up only about 2 percent of the mix of sales volume for these cars, there are savings to be had up front in purchase price and potential savings down the road in operational cost. So, you're welcome, Inside Line comparison-test readers. Go forth, you 2-percenters, and walk proud and walk straight.

Follow the Money
The base price of the base-model 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS starts at just $19,915 and adding floor mats and a proprietary iPod cable brings the car's as-tested price to within a U.S. Grant of $20 grand at $20,050, making it the least expensive car in the test.

For that price, however, the base-model Sonata GLS offers a superior amount of standard equipment. For instance, things like a dedicated iPod cable, a six-speed transmission (whether manual or automatic), a trip computer and 60/40-split-folding rear seat cannot be had (or even ordered) on our four-cylinder Accord LX at $21,765. You can find satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity on an Accord, but it requires stepping up to a top-tier EX-L at $26,740.

Nevertheless, the well-equipped Sonata GLS is not furnished with the aluminum wheels, foglamps, power driver seat or leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel that you can get in the Mazda 6 i Touring for $21,650. Granted, our Mazda 6 Touring is not a base model in the strictest sense, as it's found about midway up the lineup of Mazda 6 four-cylinders. You can find the desirable items listed above for both the Sonata and Accord, but you'll have to opt for a sport-tuned Sonata SE ($23,315) or jump clear up to an Accord EX V6 ($27,515) for the foglamps plus other equipment that the Mazda 6 offers for its price.

After we built a chart comparing an assortment of standard and optional equipment, you might have guessed the clear advantage went to the Hyundai Sonata, which scored 78.8 points compared to the Mazda's 72.2 points and the Honda Accord's 30.6 points. For a more detailed score card and explanation of the features we chose to compare and score against prices, see the "Top 12 Features" tab.

Subjective Evaluations
When it came time to evaluate in subjective terms things like dynamics, comfort, function and design/build quality, the gap between these three sedans proved far smaller than the feature-oriented evaluation. A spread of just 2.4 points among them is really close and speaks to the parity of the overall execution of the vehicles themselves. Even so, there were nuances we discovered.

We've already pointed to the feature content advantages of the Sonata, but the Hyundai also scores a strong 2nd place in the Comfort category and a resounding 1st place in the Function category.

Comfort
In terms of overall ride quality, we'd say the Sonata has the most luxurious ride. The way the Hyundai envelops road imperfections is what some people would characterize as "floaty," but not so much as to nauseate you. We've driven an SE model with its higher-rate springs, larger rear stabilizer bar and more rebound damping, and this sportier setup feels like the optimal one for the Sonata.

In comparison, the Accord feels lighter at times, but coarser most of the other time, and always more susceptible to impact harshness. In a way, the Accord feels as if there is too much air in the tires, but we verified the specification of 30 psi. We still think the Accord (and most Honda/Acura products for that matter) would benefit from more supple rubber.

Finally the Mazda 6's chassis proved to be the most buttoned-down of the bunch, with discernible rebound damping, although unfortunately the result is gut-jiggling unhappiness on a wider variety of surfaces. Yes, it's a European-style ride when the road is smooth, but even a wavy, undulating surface had us reaching for the cupholder to pick up the coffee lest we spill some. The Mazda 6 is recognized as offering the best driver's position of these three sedans.

While it is true that ride comfort, road noise and rear-seat accommodations were a strong suit for the Sonata, the center stack of instrumentation and controls proved intrusive on the driver's knee, and obvious wind noise emanating from the base of our car's windshield wipers knocked the car down a bit in scoring as well.

The Honda scored high marks with its utter lack of wind noise, but this asset was confounded by a high-frequency hiss from the tires (a behavior also exhibited by the Mazda, but less so). The Accord's useful rear seat helped it tie the equally capacious Sonata, though the Hyundai's seats themselves were slightly better contoured.

All three cars lacked rear power points and HVAC vents. The rear seat of the Mazda 6 (which is classified by the EPA as a midsize car, rather than the large car definition of the slightly larger Accord and Sonata) is noticeably tighter when it comes to perceived and actual scale, and it didn't have rear door pockets or a center head restraint.

Function
In terms of functionality, we pay particular attention to things like visibility, instrumentation, audio/HVAC layout and performance, in-cabin storage cleverness and trunk size (including an ability to accommodate oversized items).

Honda always manages to make cars with relatively low beltlines and slender pillars, and this Accord follows suit. Compared to the rakish Sonata, for instance, the Accord feels dramatically open and airy with easy sight lines, while the Mazda occupies the middle ground in this regard. You won't necessarily get this impression from the photos of the interior, where the two-tone cabin of the Sonata looks brighter than the darker-hued interiors of the Accord and Mazda 6.

Again, Honda has a way of presenting instrumentation in an unambiguous and legible manner and does so again with crisp white-on-black gauges. The Sonata also features legible white-on-gray gauges, but adds a bluish multipage trip computer/driver-coaching aid between the two main gauges. The Mazda 6 Touring also offers a trip computer, but the LED display is less prominent; it's in a slit at the base of the windshield. The Mazda's white needles against red numerals on a black background surrounded by a blue glow is certainly less legible.

When it comes to evaluating both the audio and HVAC layout and execution, we had difficulty reaching a consensus. Some liked the linear layout of Playskool toy-size buttons/knobs in the Accord, but others complained about the unintuitive choice of a giant volume knob surrounded by teeny tuning knobs.

Some preferred the unconventional layout (and pulsing blue glow) of the Mazda 6's instrumentation, calling it contemporary, while others criticized the mix of buttons. And that crowded multidisplay panel is in a different area code. Finally, those who liked the Sonata said it offered the most intuitive layout for both audio and HVAC controls in an economical space. This design also frees up room at the base of the center stack for small-item storage, a bordered perch for your iPod, and so on. The Mazda was particularly lacking in interior storage.

Trunks
Using one of these sedans as a family car necessitates a functional trunk. All three offer generously sized trunks, and ironically the Mazda's is technically the largest at 16.6 cubic feet. The Mazda 6 has scissor hinges and struts instead of the space-consuming gooseneck hinges of the Accord and Sonata, plus the rear seatbacks fold in a 60/40 split. The Sonata has a 16.4-cubic-foot trunk and its seatbacks also have a 60/40 split.

The Accord trunk measures 14 cubic feet, perhaps owing to intrusion from the rear-suspension shock towers. The Accord loses a fraction of a point for a one-piece fold-down rear seat, but gains some back for a ski pass-through that doesn't penalize occupants for a rare day at the slopes. Sadly, none of these cavernous cargo bays are equipped with a tie-down or cargo net to keep grapefruit or tennis balls from rolling to the far reaches of these vast trunks, but you can order a net from Mazda for $40.

Dynamically Speaking
There were other differences, too. With the exception of the Engine Performance category, all the editors agree the Mazda 6 is the driver's car of this group. The Mazda earns points for steering performance, brake performance, handling and just being fun to drive. Our track testing corroborates our impressions, as the Mazda outperforms the others with ease in the slalom and skid pad tests in particular. Where the Mazda dodged cones with a competence that is obviously engineered into the chassis, both the Hyundai and Honda endured the exercises as if we were asking them to do things they weren't designed to do. They are not, after all, sport sedans.

As mentioned in our Hyundai Sonata Full Test, the Sonata's steering suffers from two handicaps. There's a sense of inconsistency from the electric-assisted power steering, plus a tendency for the car to wander slightly on the open highway. There are examples of electric-assist steering done right, but the technology is clearly still evolving. Both the Accord and Mazda 6 currently use a traditional hydraulic-assisted steering system and as a result, perform more intuitively.

The Honda received some poor marks for its braking system. While the brakes for all these cars feel natural and progressive, all feature four-wheel disc brakes, ABS, electric brakeforce distribution and brake assist. Each car's shortest recorded distance to stop from 60 mph fell between 130 and 133 feet, but the Honda's brakes faded noticeably at our test facility, earning it a "Poor" rating from the test driver. After no more than three stops from 60 mph, the Accord requires 10-13 feet more in which to stop from 60 mph, and the scent of burning brake pads fills the air.

The only dynamic demerit earned by the Mazda 6 came because of engine performance, as what once was adequate has fallen behind in output and consumption. Relative to the Sonata's high-compression 2.4-liter inline-4, the Mazda's low-compression 2.5-liter inline-4 is slightly larger in displacement, yet less potent in both torque (what you feel at the bottom of an on-ramp) and horsepower (what you sense at the top of an on-ramp). This engine feels like the smoothest-running four-cylinder in the test, but it's also the least fuel-efficient engine in our test according to both our testing and EPA data.

The Hyundai Sonata's inline-4 features direct fuel injection, and if you can ignore the ticking under the hood, you'll definitely be impressed by an engine that delivers both the highest specific output in its class and also registers EPA fuel-economy estimates of 24 mpg city/35 mpg highway/28 mpg combined.

Having so much low and midrange grunt makes driving the Sonata a far less frenetic experience. Unlike with the Accord and Mazda 6, we rarely found ourselves in a gear that was too high when the circumstances required prompt engine response. This mill seems absolutely fine pushing tall gears at low rpm, much like a small-displacement turbocharged engine.

The Best for the Middle of the Road
It wasn't long into our three-car test before murmurs began circulating. "Have you driven that new Sonata?" people would ask. When we drove it home, it was unusual not to be asked questions by total strangers. Once we settled into the evaluation routine, the Sonata quickly rose to the occasion, impressing drivers first with its exterior and interior design, then later with its remarkable engine, not to mention its impressive amount of equipment. Mind you, all these accolades are based on the least expensive, base-model 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS.

This is the kind of car that suits real people as well as engineers, because it offers must-have features (even ones that were once luxuries) as standard equipment even as it delivers an engine that has best-in-class output and fuel efficiency. Sure, there are more engaging cars to drive between cones at a test track, but do buyers of these mainstream American-style sedans really care?

The Sonata is a well calculated and exceptionally engineered entry into the heart of the biggest market in the United States. And the ambition for this car has been matched by its excellent execution and affordable price. That the Sonata — like both the Accord and Mazda 6 — is built right here in the U.S. of A. makes it even better, because those folks in Alabama are responsible for upholding their end of the best warranty in the business.

Overall, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is a remarkable achievement. Not just because it does so well in a few ways what the Accord has done for so many years, but also because it delivers excellence in so many categories. The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is the new benchmark among mainstream large sedans. There, we said it.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

Inside Line Senior Editor Erin Riches says:
I almost feel I owe this 2010 Mazda 6 an apology. I haven't given the 6 nearly enough credit. It isn't some middle-of-the-road family car. It's arguably the leader among the current batch of biggie-sized sedans.

When you drive a Mazda 6 back-to-back with the redesigned Hyundai Sonata and the current-generation Honda Accord, the differences among these cars are significant. For sure, the Mazda's 2.5-liter engine is down on torque compared to the others. But this is also the smoothest motor of the group and, when you're working through the gears yourself, smooth is a very good thing.

Ride quality is also far and away better than the others. Indeed, some might characterize the Mazda 6's ride as firm (even too firm) alongside a softy like the Sonata. But for me, the Mazda's high level of composure ultimately adds up to less drama and more comfort — especially compared to the Hyundai, where inadequate damping allows all kinds of unnecessary movement over freeway lumps and ruts.

The Mazda 6 is also the only one of these sedans that seems to enjoy taking a corner. Indeed, the Accord has good steering and the Sonata has decent roll control, but only the 6 integrates the various elements of good handling into a distinct and satisfying whole. Its steering weights up just like you expect it to, and the big sedan turns in crisply with a minimum of body roll.

Inside, our Mazda 6 has the most attractive and highest-quality interior of the group. In fact, the cloth upholstery in this car is arguably nicer than the leather upholstery we had in our long-term Mazda 6.

My only hesitation about the 6 is that its backseat is not quite as comfortable as the Accord's or Sonata's, but there's no less space back here, so even that wouldn't deter from buying one for family-of-four use.

With what are essentially the base-model versions of each of these cars (effectively entry-level models), two things stood out. First, each car is very well equipped, and second, "base model" means different things to each manufacturer.

For instance, Honda is historically a difficult case when it comes to model/style classification and it's often tricky to reconcile its trim levels with other manufacturers. For Honda, there are technically no options available, which means each "style" level is its own model with various features attached, so the LX, LX-P, EX and EX-L versions of the Accord sedan are unique. To make matters more complicated, there's the choice between inline-4 and V6 engines, plus the presence of sedan, coupe and now Crosstour bodies, and the amount of equipment increases as you move up the sophistication scale, some of which is not available on the four-cylinder Accord sedan.

Similarly, the 2010 Mazda 6 i has different levels of base equipment attached to each model — the SV, Sport, Touring, Touring Plus and Grand Touring. At the same time, there are available options for each of these trim levels. Our test vehicle is a midpack Mazda 6 i Touring with a base MSRP between $515 and $2,230 higher than the Accord and Sonata, but the Touring model adds a long list of equipment (see below). Meanwhile, the "s" style designates the presence of a V6.

As for the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, it is only available as a four-cylinder sedan. There are simply three models from which to choose: the GLS, SE and Limited. Each has an increasing amount of standard equipment and supplementary options.

To reconcile these incredible number of variables — which conspire against a direct comparison of price and features — we've scored the features of each vehicle that are available exclusively within the lineup of four-cylinder cars, regardless of model/style designation. If standard (or optional) equipment were available only after you jumped up to a V6, then we scored that feature "not available" on the four-cylinder car, just like foglamps for the Accord sedan.

Features

  2010 Honda Accord LX 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring
50-state emissions compliance S S O
60/40-split-folding rear seats N/A S S
Aluminum wheels O* O* S
Bluetooth connectivity O* S O*
Foglamps N/A O* S
Head restraint, center-rear position S S N/A
iPod/USB input N/A S N/A
Leather steering wheel and shift knob O* O* S
Power-adjusted driver seat O* O* S
Satellite radio O* S O
Six-speed transmission N/A S S
Trip computer N/A S S

Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional and present on test vehicle
O*: Optional but absent on test vehicle
N/A: Not Available

50-state emissions compliance: Both the ULEV-2 Honda and ULEV Hyundai are 50-state compliant. As far as the Mazda 6 is concerned, you must purchase a $100 emissions option if you live in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont or Washington.

60/40-split-folding rear seats: Standard equipment for both the Hyundai and Mazda, but not available on the Accord. At the same time, the Accord's rear seatback folds as a single piece, while the center armrest conceals a ski pass-through.

Aluminum wheels: Standard on the Mazda 6 i Touring and optional on the Sonata and Accord.

Bluetooth connectivity: In the Sonata, this feature is standard for mobile phone connectivity and optional for streaming audio. On both the Accord and Mazda, Bluetooth phone connectivity is optional, and streaming audio is optional on the Mazda, but not currently available on the Accord.

Foglamps: Not available on the four-cylinder Accord LX and optional on the Sonata. This feature is standard equipment on the Mazda 6 i as part of the Touring trim that also includes 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, trip computer and CD changer, among other things.

Head restraint, center-rear position: Granted, there are few occasions when you need to accommodate three-across rear seating, but it's nice to know the person riding the hump would have a head restraint. This is also handy if you were to fold down the 60/40-split rear seat to haul something in the trunk and still carry two rear-seat passengers.

iPod/USB input: You need to buy the $35 proprietary cord for the Sonata, but both iPod and USB jacks are standard, even on the base GLS model. You only get a generic aux mini-jack in the Mazda and the Accord.

Leather steering wheel and shift knob: Standard on the Mazda 6 i Touring and optional on the Sonata and Accord.

Power-adjusted driver seat: Standard on the Mazda 6 i Touring and optional on the Sonata and Accord.

Satellite radio: It's standard (XM) on the Sonata. You have the option of XM for the Accord and Sirius for the Mazda, though the antenna looks decidedly awkward sitting there on the trunk like a wart.

Six-speed transmission: More gears for more occasions would seem to be a sound rationale that would serve both performance and fuel economy, especially when a hard-working four-cylinder engine is involved. Both the Hyundai and Mazda test vehicles have six-speed manual transmissions, while the Accord gets by with a five-speed that incorporates overdrive ratios in 4th and 5th gears. Interesting that even the optional automatic transmissions for both the Accord sedan ($800) and Mazda 6 i ($900) have five speeds, not six.

Trip computer: You know, the digital display that can render miles-to-empty, average fuel economy, instantaneous fuel economy and so on. It's standard on the Sonata and Mazda 6 i Touring, but not available on the Accord.

Dimensions
Engine & Transmission Specifications
Warranty Information
Performance Information


Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions & Capacities

  2010 Honda Accord LX 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring
Length, in. 194.1 189.8 193.7
Width, in. 72.7 72.2 72.4
Height, in. 58.1 57.9 57.9
Wheelbase, in. 110.2 110.0 109.8
As tested curb weight, lb. 3,185 3,199 3,254
Turning Circle, ft. 37.7 35.8 35.4


Interior Dimensions

  2010 Honda Accord LX 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring
Front headroom, in. 41.4 40.0 39.4
Rear headroom, in. 38.5 37.8 37.3
Front shoulder room, in. 58.2 57.9 57.3
Rear shoulder room, in. 56.4 56.7 56.5
Front legroom, in. 42.5 45.5 42.5
Rear legroom, in. 37.2 34.6 38.0
Cargo volume, (DIN) cu-ft. 14.0 16.4 16.6
Max cargo volume, cu-ft. Standard one-piece or ski Standard 60/40 split Standard 60/40 split


Engine & Transmission Specifications

Engine & Transmission

  2010 Honda Accord LX 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring
Displacement
(cc / cu-in):
2400 (146) 2400 (146) 2500 (153)
Engine Type Port-injected inline-4 Direct-injected inline-4 Port-injected inline-4
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 177 @ 6,500 198 @ 6,300 170 @ 6,000
Max. Torque, lb-ft @ rpm 161 @ 4,300 184 @ 4,250 167 @ 4,000
Transmission Five-speed manual Six-speed manual Six-speed manual
EPA Fuel Economy City, mpg 22.0 24.0 20.0
EPA Fuel Economy Hwy, mpg 31.0 35.0 29.0
EPA Fuel Economy Combined, mpg 25.0 28.0 23.0
Observed Fuel Economy Average, mpg 24.4 24.6 23.0


Warranty

Warranty Information

  2010 Honda Accord LX 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain 5 years/60,000 miles 10 years/100,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Roadside Assistance Not available 5 years/Unlimited 3 years/36,000 miles
Corrosion Protection 5 years/Unlimited 7 years/Unlimited 5 years/Unlimited


Performance

Performance Information

  2010 Honda Accord LX 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring
0-60 mph acceleration, sec. 8.0 7.7 8.4
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec. 16.0 15.8 16.2
Quarter-mile speed, mph 86.8 90.6 86.7
60-0-mph braking, feet 133 131 130
Lateral Acceleration, g 0.81 0.79 0.83
600-ft slalom, mph 62.3 62.5 64.0

Final Rankings

Item Weight 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2010 Mazda 6 i Touring 2010 Honda Accord LX
Personal Rating 2.5% 77.8 77.8 44.4
Recommended Rating 2.5% 88.9 55.6 55.6
Evaluation Score 20% 78.1 78.8 76.4
Feature Content 20% 77.8 72.2 30.6
Performance 15% 95.8 89.3 89.0
Fuel Consumption 20% 100.0 79.6 88.9
Price 20% 100.0 88.9 91.4
         
Total Score 100.0% 89.7 80.6 73.3
Final Ranking 1 2 3

Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective; after the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she would buy himself/herself if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be best for the average consumer shopping in this segment.

28-Point Evaluation (20%): Each participating editor ranked the vehicles based on a comprehensive 28-point evaluation. The evaluation covered everything from ride comfort, steering response and brake performance, to cupholders and exterior design. Scoring was calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (20%): For this category, the editors picked the top 12 features they thought would be most beneficial to the consumer shopping in this segment. For each vehicle, the score was based on the number of actual features it had versus the total possible (12). Standard and optional equipment were taken into consideration. (Weighted the same as Price to balance "what you get" with "how much you pay for it.")

Performance Testing (15%): All three cars were subjected to a comprehensive battery of instrumented tests, including 0-60 acceleration, quarter-mile runs and panic stops from 60 mph. Each was run through a 600-foot slalom course to test transitional handling and around a skid pad to determine ultimate grip. The vehicles were awarded points based on how closely each came to the better-performing vehicle's score in each category.

Fuel Consumption (20%): The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the EPA's "combined" fuel-economy estimates for the cars in the comparison test. Assigning 100 to the most fuel-efficient vehicle, the less efficient vehicles received a resulting percentage value.

Price (20%): The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the least expensive vehicle in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the least expensive vehicle received a score of 100, with the remaining vehicles receiving lesser scores based on how much each one costs. (Weighted the same as Feature Content to balance "what you get" with "how much you pay for it.")

Vehicle
Model year2011
MakeHyundai
ModelSonata
Year Make Model2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS
Vehicle TypeFWD 4dr 5-passenger Sedan
Base MSRP$19,915
Options on test vehicleVenetian Red, Carpeted Floor Mats ($100), iPod Cable ($35)
As-tested MSRP$20,050
As-tested Edmunds National TMV$20,050
Assembly locationMontgomery, Alabama, U.S.A.
North American parts content (%)41
Drivetrain
ConfigurationTransverse, front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated, direct-injected, inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2,359cc (144 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)11.3
Redline, indicated (rpm)6,500
Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)198 @ 6,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)184 @ 4,250
Fuel type87-octane recommended
Transmission typeSix-speed manual
Transmission ratios (x:1)1st = 3.27; 2nd = 1.93; 3rd = 1.70; 4th = 1.28; 5th = 1.03; 6th = 0.83; R = 3.59
Final-drive ratio (x:1)FD = 4.33 (1, 2, R) / 3.25 (3, 4, 5, 6)
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeElectric-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)14.5
Tire make and modelKumho Solus KH25
Tire typeAll-season (33 psi cold front; 33 psi cold rear)
Tire sizeP205/65R16 94H
Wheel size16-by-6.5 inches front and rear
Wheel materialStamped steel with hubcaps
Brakes, front11.8-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear11.2-inch one-piece solid steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)2.9
0-45 mph (sec.)5.2
0-60 mph (sec.)7.7
0-75 mph (sec.)11.6
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)15.8 @ 90.6
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)7.4
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)33
60-0 mph (ft.)131
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)62.5
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON61.8
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.79
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.76
Sound level @ idle (dB)42.8
@ Full throttle (dB)72.9
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)67.2
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)2,450
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsTraction control is fairly aggressive and the Sonata is obviously quicker with it off. Remarkable torque at low rpm, good midrange, but power wanes in upper revs. Infuriating throttle damping between upshifts kills pace, momentum and rhythm. Shifter is light and precise, but my guess is that the six-speed automatic would be quicker.
Braking commentsRating: Average -- Consistently average stops with minimal fade; good anti-dive damping and a trustworthy pedal; ABS is unobtrusive and fast-cycling.
Handling commentsRating: Average -- Slalom: Because the steering is so isolated from what's actually happening, the slalom becomes a "visual" exercise rather than one of feel. That said, yaw response is adequately quick, transitions are reasonably good and the rear follows the front. Skid pad: Aside from the isolated steering feel (more like winding a rubber spring than pushing hydraulic fluid) the Sonata is poised and mostly neutral, with minimal-to-moderate understeer.
Testing Conditions
Test date3/2/2010
Test locationCal Speedway
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)59
Relative humidity (%)63.12
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.91
Wind (mph, direction)1.5, Headwind
Odometer (mi.)2,160
Fuel used for test87-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)33/33
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)24 city/35 highway/28 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)22.4 worst/27.3 best/24.6 average over 902.8 miles
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)18.5
Driving range (mi.)647
Edmunds estimated monthly fuel cost ($)$116
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionAM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 with six speakers
iPod/digital media compatibilityStandard iPod via propietary cable
Satellite radioStandard XM
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)Not available
Rear seat video and entertainmentNot available
Bluetooth phone connectivityStandard; optional audio streaming
Navigation systemOptional with traffic 6.5-inch display screen (measured diagonally)
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Optional weather, stock ticker, sports
Smart entry/StartOptional ignition doors trunk/hatch
Parking aidsOptional back-up camera
Blind-spot detectionNot available
Adaptive cruise controlNot available
Lane-departure monitoringNot available
Collision warning/avoidanceNot available
Night VisionNot available
Driver coaching displayStandard (instantaneous/average fuel consumption)
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,161
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,199
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)60/40
Length (in.)189.8
Width (in.)72.2
Height (in.)57.9
Wheelbase (in.)110.0
Track, front (in.)62.9
Track, rear (in.)62.9
Turning circle (ft.)35.8
Legroom, front (in.)45.5
Legroom, rear (in.)34.6
Headroom, front (in.)40.0
Headroom, rear (in.)37.8
Shoulder room, front (in.)57.9
Shoulder room, rear (in.)56.7
Seating capacity5
Trunk volume (cu-ft)16.4
Max cargo volume behind 1st row (cu-ft)60/40 split-fold standard, no volume provided
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain10 years/100,000 miles
Corrosion7 years/unlimited miles
Roadside assistance5 years/unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Vehicle
Model year2010
MakeMazda
Model6
Year Make Model2010 Mazda 6 i Touring
Vehicle TypeFWD 4dr 5-passenger Sedan
Base MSRP$21,650
Options on test vehicleComet Gray Mica, Sirius Satellite Radio With Six-Month Subscription ($430 -- includes Sirius Satellite Radio receiver with six-month subscription: not available in Alaska or Hawaii); Floor Mats + Cargo Mat ($100 -- includes carpeted front and rear floor mats and cargo mat), California Emissions Equipment ($100 -- required in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington)
As-tested MSRP$22,280
As-tested Edmunds National TMV$22,280
Assembly locationFlat Rock, Michigan, U.S.A.
North American parts content (%)45
Drivetrain
ConfigurationTransverse, front-engine, four-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated, port-injected, inline-4, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2,489cc (152 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainFour valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)9.7
Redline, indicated (rpm)6,200
Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)170 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)167 @ 4,000
Fuel type87-octane recommended
Transmission typeSix-speed manual
Transmission ratios (x:1)1st = 3.454; 2nd = 1.842; 3rd = 1.310; 4th = 1.030; 5th = 0.837; 6th = 0.717; R = 3.198
Final-drive ratio (x:1)4.388
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, double wishbones, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeHydraulic-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)16.2
Tire make and modelMichelin Energy MXV4 S8
Tire typeAll-season (33 psi cold front; 32 psi cold rear)
Tire sizeP215/55R17 93V
Wheel size17-by-7 inches front and rear
Wheel materialCast aluminum
Brakes, front11.8-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear11.0-inch one-piece solid steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)3.0
0-45 mph (sec.)5.4
0-60 mph (sec.)8.4
0-75 mph (sec.)12.3
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)16.2 @ 86.7
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)8.1
0-30 mph, trac ON (sec.)32
0-45 mph, trac ON (sec.)130
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)64.0
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON61.0
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.83
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.80
Sound level @ idle (dB)40.2
@ Full throttle (dB)72.6
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)69.2
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)3,000
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsA lenient traction control allows a little spin, but there's not much more to be had by shutting it off. Shifter is reluctant in the last inch or two to go into the gate on fast upshifts. The engine feels torque-challenged, but it is very smooth running up to redline.
Braking commentsRating: Average -- Consistently average effectivness and minimal fade. Pedal effort is slightly higher than those of Sonata/Accord, but it remains unchanged from first to last stop.
Handling commentsRating: Very Good -- Slalom: A little difficult to judge where the corners of the car were, especially in the rear where I hit most of the cones. Crisp turn-in, neutral attitude and good yaw response. Very good results once I sorted out the challenges. Skid pad: Natural-feeling steering with linear build-up and good information, if just a tad heavy. Good grip with easily approached limits within a wide belt of understeer.
Testing Conditions
Test date3/2/2010
Test locationCal Speedway
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)62.56
Relative humidity (%)49.50
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.89
Wind (mph, direction)4.1, Headwind
Odometer (mi.)7,067
Fuel used for test87-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)33/32
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)20 city/29 highway/23 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)20.8 worst/25.2 best/23.0 average over 435.0 miles
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)18.5
Driving range (mi.)536
Edmunds estimated monthly fuel cost ($)$103
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionAM/FM/CD/Sat with six speakers
iPod/digital media compatibilityStandard generic aux jack
Satellite radioOptional Sirius (dealer/port installed)
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)Not available
Rear seat video and entertainmentNot available
Bluetooth phone connectivityOptional
Navigation systemOptional DVD 7.0-inch display screen (measured diagonally)
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Not available
Smart entry/StartOptional ignition, doors, trunk/hatch
Parking aidsNot available
Blind-spot detectionOptional
Adaptive cruise controlNot available
Lane-departure monitoringNot available
Collision warning/avoidanceNot available
Night VisionNot available
Driver coaching displayStandard instantaneous/average fuel consumption
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,258
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,254
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)60/40
Length (in.)193.7
Width (in.)72.4
Height (in.)57.9
Wheelbase (in.)109.8
Track, front (in.)62.8
Track, rear (in.)62.8
Turning circle (ft.)35.4
Legroom, front (in.)42.5
Legroom, rear (in.)38.0
Headroom, front (in.)39.4
Headroom, rear (in.)37.3
Shoulder room, front (in.)57.3
Shoulder room, rear (in.)56.5
Seating capacity5 (4 head restraints)
Trunk volume (cu-ft)16.6
Max cargo volume behind 1st row (cu-ft)Standard 60/40-split-fold rear seats, no volume provided
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain5 years/60,000 miles
Corrosion5 years/unlimited miles
Roadside assistance3 years/36,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Vehicle
Model year2010
MakeHonda
ModelAccord
Year Make Model2010 Honda Accord LX
Vehicle TypeFWD 4dr 5-passenger Sedan
Base MSRP$21,765
Options on test vehicleRoyal Blue Pearl
As-tested MSRP$21,765
As-tested Edmunds National TMV$21,765
Assembly locationMarysville, Ohio, U.S.A.
North American parts content (%)75
Drivetrain
ConfigurationTransverse, front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated, port-injected, inline-4, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2,354cc (144 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing and lift
Compression ratio (x:1)10.5
Redline, indicated (rpm)6,750
Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)6,800
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)177 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)161 @ 4,300
Fuel type87-octane recommended
Transmission typeFive-speed manual
Transmission ratios (x:1)1st = 3.267; 2nd = 1.778; 3rd = 1.154; 4th = 0.870; 5th = 0.647; R = 3.583
Final-drive ratio (x:1)4.39
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent double wishbones, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeHydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, variable-ratio rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)13.08
Tire make and modelDunlop SP Sport 7000
Tire typeAsymmetrical+Directional all-season (30 psi cold front; 30 psi cold rear)
Tire sizeP215/60R16 94H
Wheel size16-by-6.5 inches front and rear
Wheel materialStamped steel with hubcaps
Brakes, front11.1-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear11.1-inch one-piece solid steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)3.0
0-45 mph (sec.)5.2
0-60 mph (sec.)8.0
0-75 mph (sec.)12.1
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)16.0 @ 86.8
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)7.7
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)34
60-0 mph (ft.)133
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)62.3
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON59.9
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.81
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.79
Sound level @ idle (dB)41.9
@ Full throttle (dB)76.5
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)67.4
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)2,600
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsAggressive traction control needs to be defeated for a representative run. Gear ratios feel wide, but I like the "Honda" sound the engine produces (cam+intake). Shifter has long throws, but never balked when hurried. A little VTEC feeling in the upper revs where power seemed to remain strong or increase.
Braking commentsRating: Poor -- First stop was 10 feet shorter than the second, and then distances grew even longer up to a max of 146 feet. Smelly pads and a soft pedal indicate pronounced fade characteristics. Slow, clunky ABS and gravelly tires didn't inspire confidence either.
Handling commentsRating: Average -- Slalom: Shutting off ESP made the Accord very "loose" and prone to oversteer with anything but a perfect line and technique. Steering, however, is light and precise, but a little "distant." Yaw response can grow exaggerated by the wandering tail of the car. Skid pad: When left on, an aggressive ESP made circling the skid pad a non-event. Shutting it off only made the tires shriek with slightly improved results. Would benefit from tires with more grip.
Testing Conditions
Test date3/2/2010
Test locationCal Speedway
Temperature (F)62.75
Relative humidity (%)52.50
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.91
Wind (mph, direction)5.4, Headwind
Odometer (mi.)776
Fuel used for test87-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)30/30
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)22 city/31 highway/25 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)23.4 worst/25.0 best/24.4 average over 539.9 miles
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)18.5
Driving range (mi.)573
Edmunds estimated monthly fuel cost ($)$130
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionAM/FM/CD/MP3 with six speakers
iPod/digital media compatibilityStandard generic aux jack
Satellite radioOptional XM
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)Not available
Rear seat video and entertainmentNot available
Bluetooth phone connectivityOptional
Navigation systemOptional DVD 8.0-inch display screen (measured diagonally) with voice commands
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Not available
Smart entry/StartNot available
Parking aidsNot available
Blind-spot detectionNot available
Adaptive cruise controlNot available
Lane-departure monitoringNot available
Collision warning/avoidanceNot available
Night VisionNot available
Driver coaching displayNot available
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,204
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,185
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)60/40
Length (in.)194.1
Width (in.)72.7
Height (in.)58.1
Wheelbase (in.)110.2
Track, front (in.)62.6
Track, rear (in.)62.6
Turning circle (ft.)37.7
Legroom, front (in.)42.5
Legroom, rear (in.)37.2
Headroom, front (in.)41.4
Headroom, rear (in.)38.5
Shoulder room, front (in.)58.2
Shoulder room, rear (in.)56.4
Seating capacity5
Trunk volume (cu-ft)14.0
Max cargo volume behind 1st row (cu-ft)Standard one piece folding rear seatback with ski pass-through
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper3 year/36,000 miles
Powertrain5 year/60,000 miles
Corrosion5 year/unlimited miles
Roadside assistanceNot available
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Leave a Comment

Research Models

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Hyundai Sonata in VA is:

$126 per month*
* Explanation
ADVERTISEMENT