It's about Expectations - 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS Long-Term Road Test

2011 Hyundai Sonata Long-Term Road Test

2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: It's about Expectations

September 14, 2010

Hyundai Sonata centerstack gaps.jpg

I rolled in our long-term 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS last night for the first time in a while: it's quite popular in the office. I was rather unimpressed.

You see, it's about expectations. Our departed long-term Hyundai Genesis had excellent interior materials and build quality and raised my expectations quite a bit. Adding to this is Hyundai's advertising onslaught comparing the Sonata to more expensive vehicles (including even the Benz CLS with regard to paint).

The Genesis gave you similar features and luxury as the competition at a lower price, but Hyundai has abandoned that strategy with the Sonata.

I found the interior disappointing. While the interior (and also the exterior) styling is quite dramatic and attractive, the materials are of mixed quality and the build is about the same as a Camry or Accord, i.e., not great. Check the two asymmetrical gaps in the top photo as evidence and the photos below. Also, the lower part of the IP and door panels is of a harder, shinier plastic compared to the top. Hyundai learned this cost-cutting trick from Honda and Toyota.

So what you get is the same build quality and materials as Accord and Camry for about the same price, but with a few more standard items like Bluetooth and Ipod jack, and nice styling. It's about the same dynamically, too.

Don't give up your Accord or Camry just yet.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 6,100 miles

Hyundai Sonata left centerstack.jpg

Hyundai Sonata right centerstack.jpg

Hyundai Sonata trim.jpg

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