Vehicle2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
ReviewJust bought my 13 Sonata SE on 12/31/12, and so far Im in love. The gas mileage calculator is ticking up steadily as I get past the initial leadfoot (its plenty fast, even without the turbo ) test drive miles, so Im curious to see where it levels out. I hear that it takes up to several thousand miles worth of driving before the mileage really gets where its supposed to be, I will likely update this in a few months with that knowledge, as well as doing manual calculations when I go to the gas pump. I commute back and forth a total of 80 miles a day, 99% in highway traffic; even with the SE suspension and the low profile 18 tires, the ride is pleasantly firm rather than harsh- even over expansion joints and through construction zones along the interstate. Its likely that a GLS or Limited would ride softer, with the slightly different suspension and taller-sidewall tires, so if cloudlike ride quality is a concern, consider that. For my money, I prefer the SE.
Radio display could maybe be a little better. Im still not 101% used to how its all laid out, though, so my opinion here may change. Blue backlighting is nice, auto-adjusting to ambient light conditions as the automatic headlights go on and off I could take or leave, I think. I will be digging into the manual to see if that is a setting I can adjust. That said, my phone paired to the stereo in about 10 seconds and calls through the mic/speakers in the car are easy to hear and easy to be heard, which is a good thing. Stereo on my particular SE sounds good and although it doesnt seem to really crank (I think I have the 104 watt base stereo), thats OK, the car is quiet enough at highway speed that it doesnt have to. Need to read the directions and get all my stuff figured out and set up there, find some XM stations I like, etc. Ill wait a while before I tear into the radio like I tend to do in most of my vehicles- but again, its 100% serviceable as is, and with plenty of connectivity (Bluetooth, aux input jack, etc) besides. My particular vehicle also has the BluLink connection to be honest, beyond Hyundai-brand OnStar, I dont even really know what this is or how Id use it- another thing to look in the manual for. Nice touch if youre looking for it and/or had something like it on a previous vehicle.
The drivers seat is comfortable and easy to adjust, and the cloth material on the center section of the seat has kept me in place well, no sliding around like a full leather seat can sometimes cause. Heated seats are a nice thing never would have picked that as an option living in AL like I do, but my wife loves them and during our brief winter Im sure Ill love them too. Used them this morning. Also worth noting is that Hyundai is smart- lots of people with Sonatas are going to have a kid or two (three in my case) in back, at least occasionally. The back side of the driver and passenger seats (at least in the SE) appear to be leather/leatherette that way you can wipe off the marks from dirty shoes, etc., if any happen to get put there. Cloth might have been cheaper to install, but that one little touch will cause the car to look nicer, longer. Same story on the armrest areas on the doors and the armrest on the console all appear to be covered in material that will wear well, which is a good sign in my book. While Im on the interior, Ill note here that Im 62 and generally automatically move any seat, in any car, all the way to the back. My new Sonata is the first car I can ever remember not needing to do that in. Front legroom is excellent, and even more to the point, so is REAR legroom, even when I have the seat where Ill need it. If things go according to plan, by the time I get rid of this car, those little boys wont be little any more, so this was important to me.
As a lifelong manual transmission prefer-er, my left foot keeps looking for something to do, but I am enjoying the paddle shifters just as well as manually rowing the gears- and Ill admit that itll be nice to be able to let the car do the shifting whenever I happen to get stuck in the occasional traffic jam. One of my reasons for preferring a manual transmission is the simplicity argument- its one less thing to break years down the road. Heres hoping I never have to use it, but the long powertrain warranty Hyundai offers was one of the reasons I was able to get my own head around buying an automatic- the paddle shift ability is just a bonus for me.
The trunk is utterly cavernous. I dont golf and dont really know anyone who does, so I wont use the usual holds _ golf bags! metric, but those three boys I mentioned earlier like to eat. Groceries for our family are sometimes a two-cart affair coming out of the store. The old Montero Sport we had before had plenty of space for anything we wanted to put in it, but Id be amazed if this car had any less- comparing the space below the back of the rear seats in the Mitsu vs. the trunk in the Sonata, just from looking at it, Id say the Sonata probably actually has more space. I wont be throwing any sheets of plywood in here (I have an old pickup for that ), but I dont think Ill ever wish for a bigger trunk for anything one could reasonably expect to transport by car.
These are my initial impressions on a car Ive had only a couple days, but I shopped casually for a long time (18 months?) while squeezing the last utility out of our old SUV, and I drove the Sonata back to back with an Accord and a Camry. The Hyundai was every inch the car as both of those, and better in most cases. Hyundai is for real. If youre like me and remember with amused horror the Excel and other terrible mid-90s Hyundais, do yourself and your wallet a favor and drive a new one. I think youll come away pleasantly surprised. Leveraging last-day-of-year and having Edmunds.com TMV looked up on my phone, I was able to confidently negotiate a great price for a great car that should serve my family for years.
Best FeaturesStandard option package on the SE is comprehensive and includes just about everything you could want. Sunroof and nav only available as an expensive add-on package, but even without it the SE trim level is a strong deal. If gas mileage pans out anywhere close to the rated 35, I'll be cutting my monthly gas usage in half from what I was doing before. That amazes me. Long warranty coverage, doubled on powertrain by my dealer, means this car will likely be mechanically under warranty for the next decade, at least, provided I hold up my end on keeping maintenance records. Amazing. Props to Tameron Hyundai in Hoover, AL- the buying experience was great and I'd recommend them to anyone.
Worst FeaturesNone yet- to be updated later.
on 07/08/14 14:59 PM (PDT)
18 month follow-up: Car's doing great. I'm at about 35k miles and haven't had any real problems to speak of. The first issue ever came up the other day when the AC refused to blow into the car- there was cold air being produced just not very much from the vents. I suspect it may have actually managed to freeze or jam up the blend door somehow so it couldn't be moved by the solenoid. In any case, I let it sit overnight and it had sorted itself out the next day and hasn't repeated. Will be keeping an eye on that, though googling for results seems to pull back a bunch of people who have had problems with the AC on various years of Hyundai products. I'm going to try to be more diligent about changing the vent from Max AC/ Recirculate to vent when I park for the day- I remember years ago that I had a car that would get all gross smelling if you didn't let the AC breathe a little every few days maybe it's related. I'm still getting about 30mpg combined with 80% highway driving, usually at about 75-80mph. If I can remember to keep it under about 80 and my foot out of it, it does a lot better. I tracked the mpg manually for months at first, until I found that the car's fuel economy calculator was reliably about 1mpg optimistic. In other words if it tells me 30.9mpg, that means 29.9 in real life. Cruise works great, AC works great, radio works great. Still on the original tires that are wearing very evenly in spite of my super-casual oh-it's-probably-time-again-I'll-get-it-soon rotation schedule. My three kids fit in the back, still lots of room for groceries and whatnot in the trunk, and I'm still happy with my purchase a year and a half in.Report it
on 01/11/13 08:56 AM (PST)
Further impressions after a week or so with the car: Fuel economy is nice. I reset the mpg calculator last night after I got on the highway and was seeing 38 mpg for a little bit. Cruise on, eco switch on, set at 67 mph- it had settled at 35.5 mpg by the time I got home half an hour later, so the window sticker is pretty well right on the money. I?m not a hypermiler, as I prefer not to get run over, but it?s nice to see what it can do. If economy gets better when broken in and creeps up, I?ll be amazed, but that?s an interesting concept and something to look forward to. I?d be interested to find out exactly how the computer in this thing calculates average fuel economy, too. Seems like on the highway it settles in the mid 30s, but once you get off the interstate, things fall off almost immediately ? same if you pin the throttle to pass somebody in traffic, etc. I drive a mile or two to at lunch in moderate in-town traffic, and that seems to be keeping my overall mileage in the low 30s overall, by the computer. Could be that I don?t have enough miles on it yet for it to have a real average, so that?s why I?m seeing it float around. I?m going to leave it alone for a few weeks now and see what it says, and I still need to fill the tank and divide out the mileage to get my overall mpg, then compare notes between the computer and a pencil-and-paper calculation. A huge improvement from what I was getting in my old car, though, so I?m happy. I saw a couple of reviews on here where people were griping about fuel economy ? I think they must be driving primarily in town. I can see that being an issue, as I?d be annoyed too if I was seeing a 35 on the window sticker and getting 22 in town or something. But then again, if I was in town that much I?d have bought a scooter or a hybrid. I?ve gotten used to the radio interface, etc., at this point. Lots (lots!) of treble available, which is weird to me. I backed that off substantially and things sound a lot better. Bass response is good if you push it up a notch or two- dubstep, electronica, hip hop, metal all sound good in the car, and the factory speakers have a nice tight bass response. Mid control changes the sound a lot, just depending what you like. I cut mids a little usually. I don?t think I?ll be renewing the XM/Sirius subscription. It?s neat, I guess, but sound quality is terrible for something that?s a theoretically a digital source. I don?t know if there?s compression distortion, they broadcast from a crappy mp3 source, or what, but it sounds terrible, very crunchy and bad ? even after rolling the treble off. It?s kind of amazing that the car is quiet enough for me to pick up on that, come to think of it. My hearing is less than great (years in bands in my younger days) and if I can pick up on something like that, it?s definitely there. I?ve been using the Bluetooth and/or aux input to stream Pandora from my iPhone as an alternative ? if I plug up my phone sound quality is great AND the track information pops up on the screen ? plus if I hate something I can hit the thumb down and skip it or get the passenger to do it. Can?t beat that, though I am considering a Spotify mobile subscription to see if it works the same- if so, satellite radio just became completely pointless. Regular old local radio sounds just fine. Now that I have used it some, calls through the Bluetooth connection are really just OK. I can hear callers and they can hear me, but it?s not the BEST sounding thing ever, particularly over the occasional rough connection. Voice recognition dialing of the phone is completely, utterly useless so far. I haven?t been able to successfully place one single call with it. Not sure if it?s using the phone?s voice recognition (Siri) ? but I can?t see how it could be. The computer voice is the same, but my phone generally understands what I?m telling it ? not so with the car. Maybe it?s my southern drawl. Oh well. I don?t tend to place many calls while driving, and so that?s not a huge deal- it wasn?t even a feature I was shopping for. I guess it?d be nice if the add-on worked like it should, but oh well. Can?t have everything. I just signed up for my trial period with BlueLink. We?ll see if it?s useful at all. If the remote start feature works as advertised, I can see using that all the time. Not so much with turn by turn navigation and such, but I?ll test it out anyway. The data nerd in me is interested in the eco-coach feature as well as the maintenance minder features.Report it
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