Fluid Design - 2010 Hyundai Sonata Long-Term Road Test

2010 Hyundai Sonata Long-Term Road Test

2010 Hyundai Sonata: Fluid Design

February 15, 2011

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When I walked out to the Sonata this morning, I was struck by its many complex curves and the way the reflections danced on the surfaces. I started tracing the lines and realized why I'm so drawn to it over the competing midsize sedans. There's a cohesive flow to these curves.

Some curves, like the prominent character line that runs through the doors (shown below as a red line), connects to the trunk lid, continues over the roof, cascades down the hood, frames the bottom of the grille and circles back around the other side. Then there's the greenhouse (shown in green), which starts from the base of the A-pillar, arches back to form the windows, carries back forward as a chrome accent strip all the way to encircle the headlight.

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It was only when I started to study these lines that I really began to appreciate the Sonata's design philosophy. When I look at the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, they look boring by comparison. It's as if I was looking at a generic interpretation of a midsize sedan. The Ford Fusion has a bit more going for it up front, but the view from the rear three-quarters is just as boring as the rest. Mazda has a similar fluid design direction, but I think the execution falls short.

Between the Sonata and the Kia Optima, though, I'd prefer the Kia. It's a tidier design with a hint of aggression. On design alone, what would be your pick?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor.


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