2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Bite and Bind
March 03, 2011
Another moisture front passed through Los Angeles last night, dropping not enough to decrease our current rainfall deficit (-3 inches), but just enough to inspire standard Angeleno highway idiocy. If it's not a terrified 45-MPH moving obstacle, it's ripper Rodney in his beatsauce '98 Civic, exploiting conditions and advancing a few car lengths by carving up the buffer zones. This probably happens in many metro areas. I think it's more pronounced in La Ciudad, given how rarely we have to cope with wet roads.
Donna noted the Sonata's braking ability several months ago and I'll +1 her sentiments, especially for its performance in the rain. The Sonata's snappy binders came through big for me a couple of times, and gave me confidence and a wide margin the rest of the way.
In our testing, we've stopped the Sonata from 60 mph in 127 feet. On paper, that's not all that impressive. It's better than our GTI, same as our new TSX wagon, and much better (nearly 10 feet better) than an Accord SE we tested.
But its falls behind our Kizashi, and even the heavier Kia Optima turbo and Sonata 2.0 turbo models that we've tested. Regardless, the pedal feels firm and the single-piston calipers grab the 11-inch steel discs with authority. Don't know if the Kumho Solus 205/65's deserve much credit - nothing special about these all-seasons - but good to think (imagine?) that DNA from the company's very-capable road racing tires gets infused into the passenger variety.
The Sonata is obviously doing a few things right. I spotted three current models on the drive in this morning. It looks good in black. Hyundai has sold nearly 30,000 of them so far this year, constituting just shy of 40 percent of the product portfolio. That's still shy of 38,000 Accords that Honda has moved so far in 2011, or the 45,000 Camrys that Toyota has sold.
Still, people are clearly -- as Hyundai's marketers have asked -- thinking about it.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor