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
April 15, 2011
After you viewed the Mitsu Outlander GT bounce its way down the freeway yesterday, you asked to see something else from our long-term fleet on the same stretch. Herewith we present our Hyundai Sonata GLS after the jump...
Oh, and apparently, this guy feels so strongly about his grill that he actually pays an annual fee to tell us all about it. Hm.
April 01, 2011
I recently spent several hours in the last row, middle seat of a United Boeing 757, universally acknowledged as one of the worst spots you can get on the plane. No surprise that my back's been slightly tweaked since then.
When I got into our Hyundai Sonata yesterday, I tried an experiment. I punched up the lumbar support for part of the drive home, backed off it for a while and then expanded it again. And repeated that every few miles.
While amped-up lower-back support is certainly no replacement for a hot stone massage and sauna/steam at my favorite spa, I feel better today because of it.
How do you like your lumbar?
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 15,544 miles
March 31, 2011
Last night, four of us piled into the Hyundai Sonata to meet an Audi executive for dinner. It was a five-mile drive which took 45 minutes in rush hour traffic. Between alternating groans and heavy sighs, editors Erin Riches and Michael Jordan made the following comments:
Riches, right rear seat: I've always thought the Sonata had a busy ride (where I would feel every little bump in the road), and with the car loaded up with 4 adults, it was pretty uncomfortable in the backseat. Also, the vents invariably blow right in my face, whether I'm driving the car or sitting in the backseat. Still, at least I had plenty of legroom.
Jordan, right front seat: This is such an American car. Big enough for all of us, and it's quiet at idle or while cruising (though not between, which means it still needs development). But it's also American because it seems like a rising tide of crumminess is threatening to engulf it. Now it seems more and more like the last Sonata long-term car we had, a great value but not a great car.
Meanwhile, on the left side of the car, I sat behind Scott Oldham, threatening the whole ride to flick him in the back of the head.
What can I say, we each do our job in different ways.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 15,489 miles
February 18, 2011
I have speed bumps in my neighborhood. They're the low and wide variety. When I drive my personal car over them, it really upsets my suspension. No, I'm not gassing or driving grandma style. My Mazda 3 just can't handle them.
However, last night in our long term Sonata, driving the same way I always do, a completely different story. Like they weren't even there. No, our Sonata doesn't have a floaty suspension, just a very well sorted out one.
Beyond the bumps, our Sonata remains a very well composed car. So far, I'm very impressed with this Hyundai.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer
February 01, 2011
Our 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS test car has the following options:
Sixteen-inch alloy wheels; power driver seat; driver's lumbar support; automatic headlight control; chrome interior door handles; leatherette interior panel door inserts; navigation system with high-resolution touchscreen display; dimension AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system with seven speakers and external amplifier (360 watts); 90-day complimentary subscription to XM NavTraffic, XM NavWeather; XM sports and XM stock), Carpeted Floor Mats.
For more than 13,000 miles, I've been so blinded by all of these great features, I failed to notice one simple thing it was missing:
Automatic climate control.
Not that the boatload of other standard and optional equipment on the GLS isn't awesome, but seems auto climate control would be a basic luxury that would come before the fancy high-res nav system.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 13,316 miles
January 20, 2011
It's been chilly in the mornings recently and one nice thing I've noticed is that I can position the driver-side air vents to blow heated air right on my hands to warm them up if I'm holding the steering wheel at 9 and 3. It's sort of like a poor-man's version of a heated steering wheel. I mention this mostly because I can't always do this (or do as well) as I can in the Sonata.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
December 30, 2010
The Hyundai Sonata has some of the most pronounced built-in finger contours of any steering wheel I've used. I think I prefer a smooth rim as it slides through my fingers easier while shuffle steering. Even better is the GTI's trim, which is smooth, but shaped in a way that better fits your hand.
So tell us, do you prefer a smooth or finger-contoured wheel?
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
December 20, 2010
My parents were in the market for a new car and in the end decided to go with a Honda Accord. They got it loaded up with all the bells and whistles, including a nav (my dad loves this feature the most). Suffice it to say they're very happy with their purchase. But now that I've lived with our 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS this weekend, I can't help but wish that my folks had seriously considered it before they made their purchase.
The Sonata has all these small conveniences and thoughtful touches that my dad, a man who loves technology but still uses AOL, would have appreciated, like that directional man for climate control. Press the areas where you'd like some heat or cold. Easy! Or the dedicated time/temp button, for a quick peek at what the weather feels like outside. I mean, come on.
And I know he'd have loved the following.
October 14, 2010
Yesterday, I talked about the suspension feel in the Honda Accord Crosstour. Last night, I drove the Hyundai Sonata so I could experience them back to back.
Compared to the Accord, the Sonata is a little softer, but not nearly as much as, say, a Toyota Camry. It is definitely stiffer than the previous Sonata.
The new Sonata falls somewhere between the Accord and the Camry.
The Accord Crosstour feels more stable around corners and driving in a straight line. It does a good job of handling bumps and road imperfections. The Sonata handles bumps, too, but does feel a little bouncier driving in a straight line. But then it surprises you as you go around a curve with the way it stays up. The Sonata cabin is also fairly quiet, which helps give you a more confident impression.
Have you driven a Hyundai Sonata. What do you think?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
August 25, 2010
The Hyundai Sonata's driver seat is mounted too high -- I'm practically staring at the visor when behind the wheel. It's a little like the old Ford Taurus/Five Hundred, which had an elevated driving position intended to be SUV-like but ultimately was just suited for little old ladies who'd otherwise have to rely on the Yellow Pages. If our Sonata had a sunroof, I'd imagine my hair would be grazing headliner.
It's not the sleek roofline either, the seat's just too darn high. I would like to see Hyundai lower its bottom-most travel, and increase the upward movement for the little old ladies.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,679 miles
August 11, 2010
I've already covered the Sonata's impressive mileage feats during my recent road trip to Colorado. Here's what else I found during my extended drive.
The navigation system works great. It's easy to set a destination and it offers multiple routes to get there. I also liked the way you can easily pull up nearby restaurants and gas stations without cancelling the destination point. On top of all that, you can access all the options and menus while moving.
After several extended legs behind the wheel, the seats are about average. They are generally supportive and well contoured, but I did get uncomfortable after several hours. This is true of most seats actually, so I wouldn't consider it a major blemish.
You asked about the cruise control? It is indeed solid. The car's speed didn't fluctuate more than a few miles per hour over the various hills on I-70 and it's easy to set through the steering wheel controls. For the mileage minded out there, you can go up to 78mph and still be in "Eco" mode for whatever that's worth.
One minor gripe: the armrests aren't that soft. I'm talking the ones on the door and the top of the center console. My elbows were killing me after awhile due to the lack of cushioning.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com @ 5167 miles
July 16, 2010
Earlier this week Erin wrote that our Sonata's ride quality wasn't to her liking, noting that "there's far too much suspension movement over garden-variety bumps, ruts and seams, and it doesn't get any better on the freeway." Normally Erin and I come up with pretty similar conclusions on cars, but this time my opinion differs.
I certainly don't think our Sonata GLS rides too softly. It seems about right, actually, given the car's family sedan mission. If anything, I could see some people asking for the ride to be softer than it is -- I've noticed the suspension lets too many short, quick impacts from rough pavement into the cabin.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
July 14, 2010
Sure, the sales numbers and the buzz surrounding the 2011 Hyundai Sonata would classify this car as hot, we're talking temperature here. Inhumane temperature. Palm Springs temperature.
The Sonata and I got lost the other day and wound up in Palm Springs where the mercury burst through the top of the thermometer registering 109 at nearly 4pm. I sprinted from the car to the coffee shop and then almost immediately back to the car. The cloth seats were scorching (usually my main argument FOR cloth), the steering wheel was on fire and the shifter-- with its black accent -- was hotter than a thousand suns in a microwave. Even my camera was too hot to touch which is why the photo is so terrible. Yeah, that's why.
In any case, cars parked in the sun get hot. But for the first time in a long time dealing with new cars, the air conditioning was not up to the task of keeping me happy / alive.
After a few minutes of its full-strength wheeze, I had to-- gasp-- open the windows and just deal with the breeze. It took some time, but eventually it worked enough to bring me back to life.
Still, I've yet to see a GM that can't handle the desert.
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com
July 13, 2010
Our long-termer is the second 2011 Hyundai Sonata I've driven, and just as with the first test car, I don't care for the ride quality. Specifically, the dampers are derelict in their duty. Even when I'm just driving around town, there's far too much suspension movement over garden-variety bumps, ruts and seams, and it doesn't get any better on the freeway. Ultimately, you get a soft ride with the Sonata, but there's too little control for my taste. Mazda 6, please.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor