2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Not For My Commute
November 22, 2010
(Sorry, sorry. Another LT Intro shot. My camera still has not repaired itself. Soon, though. You still want to read what I write though.)
There's a dealership by my old house, on the East Coast-- it's a series of dealerships, actually, but that's not the point-- that is surrounded by the smoothest, most perfect asphalt (yes, asphalt...eat it, California and your sub-par concrete) you've ever seen. It's like a black lake where every car rides like a luxury liner and there's not a decibel of tire noise. It's amazing and I've never known if it's intentional. If the dealership funded the repairs to sell cars. If not, well, lucky them. If so, well, good idea.
And so far none of this has anything to do with our Long Term Hyundai Sonata GLS. Except that it does.
You see, on a smooth road, or one with some serious curves, the Sonata's a great car: Smooth, composed, good handling / ride comfort balance. Trouble is, as soon as the road gets rough, the Hyundai gets thumping. It's not bad by any means, but it is louder than I prefer. The tires and the suspension are audible as the pavement gets cracked and lumpy. It never goes so light you cant steer over the big drainage whoops and it never crashes down, but you can hear the thunk, pong and psst of the suspension crushing down, the tire hitting and the shocks compress. It's a common ride quality in the newer Hyundais as they strive to hit some balance of luxury and driveability. Kudos for even trying and not going the Toyota uber-couch route.
But as much as I like the car on the open highway and back roads, I'm on them 1/100th the time that I'm on my daily potholed commute. The weighting isn't even close. (Takahashi-- who commutes in an Elise00 will call me a wuss here.)
Driving a car on your real commute isn't something a lot of car shoppers look to do, but if you're having trouble deciding between A and B, it could be the deciding factor.
Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com