June 09, 2011
The Venetian Red 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS has left our offices, and on its last night in our fleet, I mounted a camera in the car, hit "record" and set out on Interstate 10. What follows after the jump is sure to be among the most riveting 9 minutes and 59 seconds of your life. At the 6:17 mark, I gently pass a Tacoma PreRunner.
Or not. Actually, if you get carsick easily, don't watch it. I mounted the Kodak ZX3 camera on the rear passenger-side window, bracing it against the B-pillar to minimize shake. And indeed shake is minimized, but instead of a head-on view out the windshield, you're kind of looking at the driver askance as if you were in the passenger seat... while enjoying a view of the LA skyline at dusk.
You'll get a taste of the engine noise during merging and passing from the first 60 seconds of the video. It's hard to get a feel for road noise from a lo-fi video, but my ears tell me it's moderate in the Sonata, and I think that's more or less appparent in the video -- you can follow the play-by-play for Tuesday's Angels/Rays game on the radio.
June 07, 2011
We aim to drive 20,000 miles in our long-term test cars within their year of residence. Some cars get plenty of road time and have no problem making this mark. They are chosen for road trips and vacations.
Our Hyundai Sonata will be about 400 miles short of our goal when it leaves us in a day or two.
It's always sad to see a car leave the fleet. I wonder why we couldn't quite make the 20,000-mile mark on this car. It was a nice car. It's comfortable. It has an automatic transmission. It gets good gas mileage. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Any ideas?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 19,600 miles
June 06, 2011
I'm not a fan of the two-tone camel colored interior in our Hyundai Sonata. I'm not a fan of tan interiors in general, but the camel color of our Sonata is too bright for my tastes. I prefer the black interior with the gray trim. However, if you want the car in Venetian Red, like our Sonata, the dark interior is not an option. If it were my money, I'd get the car in Phantom Black Metallic with the black interior.
Which interior do you prefer? There's a photo of the camel interior after the jump.
May 31, 2011
One year in the hands of our thirty something editors doesn't give any car much shade from the hard light of reality. While it might not uncover failures that can only happen after seven to ten years, 20,000 miles in our hands is nothing to scoff at. This weekend, I reached the conclusion that the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is nothing to scoff at either.
It's a solid car, and a solid choice.
We dropped nearly 900 miles on its head over the past three days - on only two tanks of gas mind you - and I was surprised at this car's all around competency. The strength of the Sonata on this trip was the smoothness and isolation of the drivetrain. It made me forget, not only my elevated speed, but that the Sonata is powered by a four cylinder engine. This is the same engine got us from Mill Valley (north of San Francisco) back to the South Bay (south of Los Angeles) without stopping for fuel. It never lacked for power or composure.
Here's the fuel economy for the trip. Note that each tank had one leg of the highway trip plus a few miles driving around town. We made no attempt to hyper-mile nor did we shy away from mashing the accelerator to floor to merge, or pass, traffic.
Tank one - 422.8 miles on 14.777 gallons for 28.61 mpg
Tank two - 452.0 miles on 14.801 gallons for 30.54 mpg
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 19,021 miles
May 30, 2011
The other morning I was walking to where the Hyundai Sonata was parked on a side street. There was a small army of construction workers nearby, completing some residential road work.
As I approached the Sonata, I heard one of the guys whistle. Secretly, I was pleased.
Until he yelled, "Nice car!"
I'll miss the Sonata when it leaves our fleet. But maybe not the competition.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor
May 23, 2011
Our long-term Sonata is approaching its one-year anniversary with us. Inevitably, that means I'm running out of things to say about it. Overall, I like it and wouldn't hesitate recommending it to car shoppers. But I've said that all before. It seems like everything about this car has been flushed out in the last 10 months, so rather than meekly posting some inane comment on the exhaust bearings or checking the horn fluid levels, I'm going to turn it over to you, our readers. What do you want to know about the Sonata? I'll be checking in regularly to answer your comments and I encourage my colleagues to chime in whenever they see fit, too. The floor is yours.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor
May 20, 2011
I wish I had some revelation for you. Some insight you haven't heard before. But I don't.
I drove our long-term 2011 Hyundai Sonata 820.6 miles in two days and all I have for you is more praise. It was the perfect car for the trip; quiet, extremely comfortable and very fuel efficient. It had plenty of power when I needed it and it covered 517.6 miles on the first of its two tanks of regular. Unlike the Volt, which I also drove to San Fran and back last month, the Sonata didn't need a gas stop until Salinas on the way back.
And its navigation system is fantastic. One of the easiest to use I've ever used. Sure the screen is a little small, but it's accurate and extremely simple to program. I never had to RTFM. And not once did I get frustrated with its interface.
I drove Interstate 5 on the northbound leg, so I changed routes on the way home, taking 101 South to 46 East to 5 South.
May 19, 2011
On Monday I drove our long-term 2011 Hyundai Sonata from Los Angeles to San Francisco. On Wednesday I drove it back. It was an 820.6 mile road trip that includes a fair amount of grades, including the dreaded Grapevine (Google it.), during which the Sonata drank 25.8 gallons of regular.
That's an average of 31.8 mpg.
So, are you impressed, disappointed or just not interested?
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 17,854 miles
May 16, 2011
Last week we asked you which long-term car I should take on a road trip to San Fran and back. You overwhelmingly voted for the Infiniti M56, which is a great choice. But I've decided to take our Hyundai Sonata instead. Whoa, don't hate. I have two very good reasons for taking the Sonata.
One: Its 12 Month Test is over in about three weeks and I haven't taken it on a road trip yet.
Two: Its 12 Month Test is over in about three weeks and the Sonata is in danger of not making 20,000 miles. That's right, we've got some driving to do. This puppy needs some miles.
I hit the road north this morning. I'll return Wed. Hopefully I'll have something interesting to report when it's all over.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 17,079 miles
May 13, 2011
Our data team recently put together a list of the cars with the lowest maintenance and repair costs (more on that to come on Straightline), and the Sonata finished in second place. Our wonks estimate maintenance and repair expenses for the Sonata to total $2,495 over the car's first five years of ownership.
Under maintenance costs, the data team considered both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Under repair costs, they considered repairs not covered by the vehicles' manufacturer warranties, assuming 15,000 miles are driven each year.
Are you surprised at the Sonata's strong showing?
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor