2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Preconceived Notions
November 29, 2010
Overall, I think our Sonata scores well in all of the important categories, but definitely not in brand perception. Over the extended holiday weekend , that became very clear as I made the rounds.
Considering what I get to do for a living, friends and acquaintances tend to know me as "the car guy." My first stop for the holiday preparations was the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. The owner saw me in the masses of shoppers and shouted out, "whatcha drivin?" My response, "Hyundai Sonata."
His shoulders slumped, facial expression went from interest to pity. "What'd you do, draw the short straw?"
"No," I replied, "it's actually pretty good." He didn't buy it.
Then when I pulled into the Thanksgiving dinner, I got the same question. Last year, I was lucky enough to secure a Panamera Turbo, and perhaps they were hoping for me to top that. When one of the dinner guests rolled up in a black 599 GTO, there was no chance of impressing the crowd. Granted, the Sonata isn't the type of car that impresses people.
I wonder what kind of response I would've received had I said I was driving a Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or Ford Fusion, though. I think the same. But I have a feeling that Hyundai, for all the good it's done in the last few years, is still fighting an uphill battle. For some people, it will always represent a cheap car from the 1980's. Too bad, they don't know what they're missing.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 10,471 miles