2011 Hyundai Sonata Long Term Road Test - Interior

2011 Hyundai Sonata Long-Term Road Test

2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Skip the Tan

June 06, 2011

Sonata Black Int.jpg

I'm not a fan of the two-tone camel colored interior in our Hyundai Sonata. I'm not a fan of tan interiors in general, but the camel color of our Sonata is too bright for my tastes. I prefer the black interior with the gray trim. However, if you want the car in Venetian Red, like our Sonata, the dark interior is not an option. If it were my money, I'd get the car in Phantom Black Metallic with the black interior.

Which interior do you prefer? There's a photo of the camel interior after the jump.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Yes! (Essentials)

April 27, 2011

Hyundai Sonata Yes Essentials.jpg

A few people here have noted that the beige seats in our long-term 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS are quite stain-resistant.

Now I know why. The seats in our Sonata feature Yes Essentials fabric, which they claim are spill-, odor-, bacterial-resistant, etc.

But they didn't mention anything about dog hair, so I guess if that happens again we'll have to bust out the super tape.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 16,200 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Hyundai Tops Kia Here

April 26, 2011


I noticed Donna's post about the poor design of the Optima's shifter and iPod cable. So I took a look at our Sonata to see if Hyundai did it any better. Sure enough, the Sonata's setup is ever so slightly improved, at least in my eyes.

For one, the shifter itself is slimmer, taller and has the button on the backside so it doesn't look so clunky. Also note that because our Sonata lacks the seat heater/cooler switches on the console, there's an extra slot to hold an iPhone after plugging it in. I don't remember the exact action of the lever in the Optima, but the shifter in the Sonata is light yet precise. In other words, a solid setup. Funny how two cars that are so alike can feel so different.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Protecting the Beige

April 25, 2011


For the long weekend I had our 2011 Hyundai Sonata, a fact that made me nervous because of dog + beige seats = disaster. I had to drive my dog down to Long Beach for a play date and was really concerned about how to transport her without harming the near-pristine state of the Sonata's beige seats. After all, editor Warren had blogged about how good a job they were doing resisting our editors' grime. I didn't want to be the one person to dirty them up.

So not only did I put down a blanket for the dog in the backseat, but I also made her wear a doggy diaper to be extra safe. Yes, there is such a thing; it has a cut-out for the dog's tail. And no, I didn't want to post a picture of her wearing said diapers because no one should be shamed in public like that. In any case, we made the trip without incident.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Great Expectations

April 05, 2011


For the $23,465 sticker that accompanies our long-term Sonata, you sure do get a lot of stuff. It seems like it's only been five or so years ago when many of the features in the Sonata were either in a higher price range, and option or not available at all. And that got me thinking, "What do you expect for your money nowadays?"

So I put together a quick list of popular features and how I think they fall into today's price structure. Red signifies not available, Yellow denotes an option and green means standard. Note: this is just my take on this, feel free to comment on what you think should or should not be changed.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Doing the Lumbarda

April 01, 2011


I recently spent several hours in the last row, middle seat of a United Boeing 757, universally acknowledged as one of the worst spots you can get on the plane. No surprise that my back's been slightly tweaked since then.

When I got into our Hyundai Sonata yesterday, I tried an experiment. I punched up the lumbar support for part of the drive home, backed off it for a while and then expanded it again. And repeated that every few miles.

While amped-up lower-back support is certainly no replacement for a hot stone massage and sauna/steam at my favorite spa, I feel better today because of it.

How do you like your lumbar?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 15,544 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Dinner Carpool

March 31, 2011


Last night, four of us piled into the Hyundai Sonata to meet an Audi executive for dinner. It was a five-mile drive which took 45 minutes in rush hour traffic. Between alternating groans and heavy sighs, editors Erin Riches and Michael Jordan made the following comments:

Riches, right rear seat: I've always thought the Sonata had a busy ride (where I would feel every little bump in the road), and with the car loaded up with 4 adults, it was pretty uncomfortable in the backseat. Also, the vents invariably blow right in my face, whether I'm driving the car or sitting in the backseat. Still, at least I had plenty of legroom.

Jordan, right front seat: This is such an American car. Big enough for all of us, and it's quiet at idle or while cruising (though not between, which means it still needs development). But it's also American because it seems like a rising tide of crumminess is threatening to engulf it. Now it seems more and more like the last Sonata long-term car we had, a great value but not a great car.

Meanwhile, on the left side of the car, I sat behind Scott Oldham, threatening the whole ride to flick him in the back of the head.

What can I say, we each do our job in different ways.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 15,489 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Material World

March 07, 2011

hyundai sonata seat fabric.jpg

Ahh, look how nicely textured that seat fabric is.

Recent time spent in a certain top-selling midsize sedan (for an upcoming Edmunds road test) has left me with new appreciation for the thought and care that went into choosing the materials seen in our Sonata's cabin.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Sedatives and Stimulants

February 25, 2011

Hyundai Sonata center stack.jpg

I got back into the Sonata after spending some time in the 2011 Camry. The thing that struck me most is that both cars don't seem to be vying for the same shopper; they seem to have completely different ideas of what their buyers want.

Nowhere is this reflected more clearly than in each model's center stack.

The Sonata's center stack (shown above) is a fitting match for its more connected handling and ride quality. It's lively and engaging -- check out that bold-ish design and all those bright colors clamoring for your attention on the display screen.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Sturdy Center Console Bin

February 23, 2011

hyundai sonata bin2.jpg

Like a stout Amish lass, our Sonata's two-tiered center console bin is no slouch when it comes to milk-fed sturdiness. The bins of some cars in this price range have a flimsy, slapped-together feel -- like they're afterthoughts, almost -- but that's not the case with this one.

All parts involved feel solid and hefty and the floor of the bin is carpeted -- and it's the kind of lining that stays put, not the sort that slides around like a slippery bathroom rug. I remember driving a Volkswagen Rabbit a couple years back and being impressed with its bin for the same reasons.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Perceived Quality

February 17, 2011


Perhaps you tuned in last week for the perceived quality blog on our long-term Nissan Juke, which has a bad case of wibble wobble in its HVAC and audio-control knobs.

This week, it's the Sonata's turn.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Beige Seat Fabric Impervious to Editorial Grime

January 31, 2011

hyundai sonata seat.jpg

The editorial staff here has been criticized by some of you, our gentle readers, for not treating the cars in our long-term fleet with the proper amount of care. The implication is that our editors are masters of disaster, cutting wide swaths of damage and destruction fueled by negligence, carelessness and just plain stupidity as we drag our knuckles from one hapless car to the next. And hey, maybe there's some truth to that.

Which is why it's so surprising that our Hyundai Sonata's beige seats are still spotless after seven months and over 13,000 miles. Pristine. Unblemished. And did I mention that they're beige? We had a Hyundai Azera with beige seats a few years back and it didn't take long for them to take the shame-walk from unsullied to soiled. I blame denim jeans, which, I suspect, somehow bled into the seat fabric.

Anyway, we're still wearing denims but this fact hasn't defiled our Sonata's pure beige butt-cradlers - not yet, anyway. Perhaps Hyundai has learned a thing or two about seat fabrics since our time with the Azera.

What kind of luck have you had with your car's seat fabric?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 13,197 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Touchscreen Interface Looks Better Than Those Seen in Some Luxury Models

January 28, 2011

hyundai sonata touchscreen.jpg

One of the things I love about the Sonata is how colorful and elaborate its touchscreen interface is. You've got your blues, you've got your reds, you've got your grays, you've got your greens. You've got your sharp resolution. The interface is lively and engaging and as far as I'm concerned, it really illustrates care and attention to detail on the part of the manufacturer.

It's interesting that manufacturers like Hyundai and Ford have surpassed even certain luxury-car makers on this front. The touchscreen interface shown below is from Lexus' flagship model, the LS 460. As you can see, the color palette is limited and the resolution ain't so hot.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: 10 Things I Like About You

January 25, 2011


Not in any particular order:

1. smooth four-cylinder engine
2. strong brakes
3. Venetian red paint
4. Unfussy center console
5. Quiet cabin
6. Plenty of interior storage
7. Scrolling audio information display
8. Spacious trunk
9. Simple gauge cluster
10. Long range on one tank

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Like The Air Vent Placement

January 20, 2011


It's been chilly in the mornings recently and one nice thing I've noticed is that I can position the driver-side air vents to blow heated air right on my hands to warm them up if I'm holding the steering wheel at 9 and 3. It's sort of like a poor-man's version of a heated steering wheel. I mention this mostly because I can't always do this (or do as well) as I can in the Sonata.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Really Liking It

January 11, 2011


The more I drive our long-term Sonata the more I like it. This would be in contrast to two of our most recent big-name family sedans, the 2008 Honda Accord and 2009 Mazda 6. Neither never really grew on me. The Accord was just a bit too big and, well, not Accord-y enough. The Mazda, perhaps through its styling, just seemed like it was trying too hard.

The Sonata? I like the look and quality of the interior. I like that it has cloth, not leather, yet still has a navigation system. I like the power and fuel economy from the 2.4-liter engine. In general, I'm happy to just hop in and doing the things family sedans are supposed to be used for, like run errands, commute and take the kids to school.

I do prefer the related Kia Optima for its styling. But either way I'd buy one.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 12,357 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Smooth or Finger-Contoured Wheel?

December 30, 2010

ribbed steering wheel sonata.jpg

The Hyundai Sonata has some of the most pronounced built-in finger contours of any steering wheel I've used. I think I prefer a smooth rim as it slides through my fingers easier while shuffle steering. Even better is the GTI's trim, which is smooth, but shaped in a way that better fits your hand.

So tell us, do you prefer a smooth or finger-contoured wheel?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Interior Design Critique

December 21, 2010


I like our Sonata's interior. From the organic shapes to the praiseworthy materials, I think Hyundai did a great job. The controls are well placed and the buttons have a good solid feel about them. If I were to buy one, however, I'd pick a different color scheme.

In my opinion, there are few cars that can pull off a two-tone color interior. This isn't one of them. It just seems to throw me off a bit, like when someone wears brown shoes with a black suit. Over the weekend, my girlfriend test drove an R-Spec Hyundai Geneis Coupe that had a red and black interior. That suited the car just fine. The red and black color scheme also showed up in a BMW M Coupe that used to occupy my driveway. That too, worked.

For me, the only black and tan I like includes Guinness and Bass. For the Sonata, I'd go with the standard black interior. Boring? Maybe. But the black seats will probably age a lot better than the lighter seats (which are already looking a little scruffy). On the plus side, I like the brushed dark metal trim. I've rarely been impressed by wood trim -- real or simulated.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: The Little Things

December 20, 2010


My parents were in the market for a new car and in the end decided to go with a Honda Accord. They got it loaded up with all the bells and whistles, including a nav (my dad loves this feature the most). Suffice it to say they're very happy with their purchase. But now that I've lived with our 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS this weekend, I can't help but wish that my folks had seriously considered it before they made their purchase.

The Sonata has all these small conveniences and thoughtful touches that my dad, a man who loves technology but still uses AOL, would have appreciated, like that directional man for climate control. Press the areas where you'd like some heat or cold. Easy! Or the dedicated time/temp button, for a quick peek at what the weather feels like outside. I mean, come on.

And I know he'd have loved the following.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Scrolling Satellite Radio Display

December 14, 2010


Here's one way Hyundai got it right in its display of XM radio data. Both the Name field and the Title field of the XM station currently playing are able to scroll to display data which won't fit in the available space.

Hit the jump for more.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Digital Gauges

December 10, 2010


Here's a place that I don't mind a digital gauge. The temperature gauge on modern cars is essentially a warning light anyway. It might as well be a three-position indicator: Cold, normal or broken.

But there are other places where I want a real analog gauge.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: PRNDL and Other Sniglets

December 09, 2010


Before I get lost in Sniglets, let me first explain what led me there. Last night I found the gear indicator (PRNDL - pronounced prehn-duhl), a little distracting. It's quite a bit brighter than the rest of the gauges and indicators. I fiddled with the illumination adjustments, but found it adjusted everything except for the PRNDL and the arrows on the AC's "mode man". Those lights only got brighter when I selected the maximum setting. If you drive with your hands at 9:00 and 3:00, your forearm will block the PRNDL, but I keep my hands lower to facilitate shuffle steering. I suppose that if I owned this car, I'd affix some dark window tint film over it and that'd be that.

On to Sniglets...

Back in the 80's, there was a show called Not Necessarily the News on HBO. If you remember it, congratulations, you're old. On the show, comedian Rich Hall had a recurring bit called Sniglets. A Sniglet is any word that doesn't appear in the dictionary, but should.
PRNDL was one of the featured sniglets, and last night's bout of PRNDLitis got me thinking about other automotive sniglets. I present to you, a small sampling.

Aeropalmics - The study of wind resistance conducted by holding a cupped hand out the car window.

Carbage - The trash found in your car.

Cargument - when two or more people in a car have a serious disagreement and then are forced to sit in close proximity until they reach their destination.

Carnography - TV ads featuring impossibly shiny cars driven at impossible speeds down empty roads by gorgeous men with beautiful women looking on adoringly from the passenger seat.

Carstipation - When your car engine just about turns over and will not start.

Carthritis - Chronic mechanical malfunctions characterized by stiffness, inflammation, and sometimes destruction of ones car; automotive old age.

Curbswell - A seismic condition in which the curb on the passenger side of a car will rise and wedge a car door. The passenger must then climb out and stand on the curb until the swelling goes down.

EssoAsso - A driver that cuts through a gas station to bypass a traffic signal and other vehicles.

Fenderberg - The large glacial deposits that form on the insides of car fenders during snowstorms. (see also: Carbooger, Carsicle)

Ignisecond - The overlapping moment of time when the hand is locking the car door even as the brain is saying "my keys are in there!"

Impassenger - when you're in your car trying to unlock it for the passenger to get in and they're a little too fast and pull up on the handle while its still locked

Kawashock - the act of pulling into a parking space, only to discover at the last moment that a motorcycle has already taken the spot.

Lotshock - The act of parking your car, walking away, and then watching it roll past you.

Magnocartic - An automotive affliction ensures that a car will, when left unattended, attract shopping carts.

Pediddel - A car with only one working headlight. (Related to LEDDIDEP: a car with only one working taillight. )

Phistel - The brake pedal on the passenger side of the car that you wish existed when you're riding with a lunatic.

Rignition - The embarrassing action of trying to start one's car with the engine already running.

TADTS an acronym for "They all do that, sir," commonly uttered by Lotus mechanics to their customers.

Got any car-related Sniglets of your own?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2010 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Floormat Retention?

December 03, 2010


Here's how I found the Sonata's driver's floor mat earlier this week when I jumped in for the commute home. Not a huge problem as it's unlikely to create a stuck throttle in this position, but still unnerving.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: The Screen is Just Right

November 24, 2010


My colleague, Mr. Austria noted in his Sonata post that he thought the touchscreen display was less desirable because it was on the small side. I completely, but respectfully disagree. Allow me to explain...

To me, quality is significantly more important than quantity, and in this regard the Sonata handily beats the stalwart Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. In my opinion, the Sonata's display is as good as it gets in this segment and bests many systems found in more expensive categories. The on-screen controls feature large buttons and are labeled with legible typefaces. Furthermore, the menu organization is intuitive, with enough redundant controls to quickly find what you're looking for.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Pint-sized Navi Screen

November 24, 2010

Sonata Navi screen size.jpg

The navigation system in our long-term 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS is quite good. The graphics are clear and attractive, the logic and screen flow are excellent, and the interface is the easiest to use touch panel.

However, the screen size itself is smaller than its competitors. I measured our Sonata's screen at 6.5 inches diagonally. The Camry's display is 7". One-half inch doesn't sound like much, but it makes a difference not only on workspace, but also on my first impression.

And that impression would be one of cost-cutting. Granted, it isn't postage stamped-sized like our MazdaSpeed 3's display, but when you're trying to go head-to-head with Camry and Accord, you'd best bring your Alpha game.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 10,300 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: 10,000 Miles and Counting

November 17, 2010

Milestone Banner.jpghyundai_sonata_odo_717.jpg

We've passed the 10,000-mile mark in our Hyundai Sonata. It's holding up pretty well I'd say. I was a bit worried about the soft fabric on the seats but it looks the same as when we got it.

Outside of one little problem with the key getting stuck in the ignition, our Sonata has been reliable.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 10,102 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Useful Navigation Feature

November 15, 2010


I noticed this morning that our Sonata's navigation system offers the pictured warning of a "serious" accident clogging the freeway. And I mean that sincerely. This little debacle burned 40 minutes of my life -- a waste I could have easily avoided by altering my route only slightly had I noticed it sooner.

Next time.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Texture, Baby, Texture.

November 12, 2010


I've driven the Sonata for weeks without noticing this little detail. And then, last night as the sun was setting, I noticed it: Texture. Lot's of it. On the door panels and the dash. And when the light catches it just right, it's quite nice.

Subtle, but nice.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Back Seat and Cargo Area

October 18, 2010


Our Hyundai Sonata doesn't offer as much legroom as its nearest competitors, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. With 34.6 inches of rear legroom, it falls third to Honda's 37.2 inches and Toyota's 38.3 inches. It has the same amount of rear headroom as the Camry at 37.8 inches. But both are less roomy than the Accords 38.5 inches.

The Sonata has the largest trunk of the three, though, with 16.4 cubic feet of luggage capacity. The Camry offers 15.0 cu.ft and the Accord only 14.7 cu.ft.

Here's a chart to make it easier to view.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: (Not) Blinded by the Light

October 11, 2010

Sonata visor.jpg

While running various errands yesterday (thumbs-up to the Sonata's spacious trunk that's earned kudos aplenty here), the sun attempted to play that annoying "peek-a-boo" game with my left eye. You know, where it zaps your peripheral vision through the upper, rearward portion of the driver's window. Usually you swing the visor over there to block it, only to discover it's not long enough and old Sol is getting the last laugh. Not so with the Sonata, which has extending visors with a generous range as seen above. Just like the standard Bluetooth connectivity, XM radio and iPod integration, this is another thoughtful feature that comes standard on this, the base Sonata.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 7,911 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Does a Heavy-Duty Dolly Fit?

October 08, 2010

dolly in the sonata trunk.jpg


I forget to bring the video team's heavy-duty dolly back with the Raptor on Tuesday, so I decided to see if it would fit in the Sonata. The pass through is not very big and it was just barely sufficient to fit the dolly through. Lifting it up without destroying something was tricky, but nothing appears to be destroyed. Doing this would've been easier with a hatchback, but a midsize sedan is what I had and it worked just fine.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 7,706 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: I just checked BP's Stock price

October 07, 2010

Stocks 01-1600.jpg

More XM Data at our fingertips: This time, a stock ticker and golf results. You can search, mark, and save your favorites for quick reference. Below are steps for finding BP's NYSE price (yesterday), as well as the results from the Ryder Cup Golf tournament on the other side of the world. There are also categories for MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, tennis, and "other" (various college sports) that all contain live scores as well as final results.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Ken Who?

October 07, 2010

Sound 01-1600.jpg

I dove into our 2011 Hyundai Sonata's sound menu and found Ken C. Pohlmann's name on a screen. Who's Ken Pohlmann you ask?

No, his name isn't on this screen...

You must proceed to the Variable-EQ screen here:

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Other 1 Isn't So Much Fun Either

October 07, 2010

Other 01-1600.jpg

In response to "ocramidajzj" (and what kind of screen name is that, by the way?) who submitted here that our 2011 Hyundai Sonata's warnings did not include earthquake, I give you the "Other 1" screen. Still no zombies, but below are more weather warnings, as well.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Time and Temp

October 04, 2010

Hyundai Sonata Time and Temp.jpg

Are you like me: do you frequently like to know the time and ambient temperature? In some vehicles you have to look all over the place -- in the Navi display, center stack, the multi-info display in the meters, etc. Some vehicles even make you dig through menus for this simple info.

In our 2011 long-term Hyundai Sonata GLS, the time and temp is at the top of the Navi/radio display, but the font is somewhat small.

Hyundai was quite thoughtful and provided a small switch in the upper left of the Navi bezel that when pressed let's you know that you're late and it will be a pleasantly cool evening in SoCal. I think this feature would be particularly useful for older drivers.

Once I discovered this switch, I used it quite a bit. But I still showed up a few minutes late to everything.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 7,330 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Is this Ugly?

September 16, 2010


I'm the last guy on earth who should be judging color combinations. With a fashion sense that falls somewhere between that of the late, great Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and complete indifference, I shouldn't second guess Hyundai's stylists on this one.

But I'm going to.

By saying that gray and tan just don't go together. The wife, who's been known to have a far better perspective on such things, agrees.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Space Efficient

September 15, 2010


This a top view of the center console in our Sonata. Notice the packaging: Three small-items bins, two cupholders and a shifter elegantly organized into the available space. And this is in a car whose shifter moves laterally into a manual gate. Nice packaging, Hyundai. But why didn't you use the space behind the shifter?

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor

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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

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Steal My iPod

August 26, 2010

Sonata iPod plug.JPG

Hyundai and Kia seem to think that keeping its auxiliary audio device connections out in the open is a good idea. While our Sonata has a nice little bin for the iPod to live, it's visible for all to see. As such, you'd need to unplug it every time you park in a public place. Of course, if you live in a civilized place, this is less of a problem. But in a big city like Los Angeles, hoodlums are rampant and you're a busted window away from a stolen iPod and whole heap of glass on your passenger seat. That's annoying.

The best place for such audio device connections is in the center armrest bin, so that it's secure and so that you can still easily access it should you use something other than an iPod (see Audi system which is secure, but you can't easily access).

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,700 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: The Seat's So High, Man

August 25, 2010

the sonata's high seat.jpg

The Hyundai Sonata's driver seat is mounted too high -- I'm practically staring at the visor when behind the wheel. It's a little like the old Ford Taurus/Five Hundred, which had an elevated driving position intended to be SUV-like but ultimately was just suited for little old ladies who'd otherwise have to rely on the Yellow Pages. If our Sonata had a sunroof, I'd imagine my hair would be grazing headliner.

It's not the sleek roofline either, the seat's just too darn high. I would like to see Hyundai lower its bottom-most travel, and increase the upward movement for the little old ladies.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,679 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: A Macro Look at Interior Materials

August 24, 2010


It's no doubt that our 2011 Hyundai Sonata is a lonnng way off from the old cars I grew up with, my 1987 Excel and 1996 Elantra, but check out that interior. Several other shots after the jump. What do you think? Compare this to our Suzuki Kizashi which is about the same price.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: I Never Noticed That Before

August 23, 2010


I'm not usually a passenger but as I was loading my laptop bag and other stuff into the passenger side of the Sonata this morning, I noticed this pocket. I like hidden stuff like this. OK, it's not exactly hidden but it is discreet.

It reminds me of when I was a kid and dreamed about secret passageways in the walls of my house. I used to create little hiding places all over, then I'd put silly stuff in them like notes or pictures or toys and wait for people to find them. This one would be more appropriate for a map or tissues or our fuel log.

Or I could hide my Stig doll in there and see how long it takes for people to notice him.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Blue Lighting Still A Bad Idea

August 17, 2010

sonata ip lighting.jpg

Blue-lit instrumentation was a bad idea in our Veracruz and Genesis sedan, and it continues to be so in our longterm 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

The reasons haven't changed and nor has Hyundai's implementation. Simply put, you can't turn down the brightness far enough when it's well and truly dark outside. Plus, since blue-lit text has crummy edge definition, the afflicted buttons are nigh unreadable. And you really don't want to crank up the brightness to compensate, else the speedo and tach end up blinding you.

Also, the PRND is way bright, too, even at fully dim.

Something tells me Hyundai is steadfast in continuing this silly lighting habit.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Damped Glove Compartment Door. Cool.

August 06, 2010

Another example of Hyundai sweating the details on the 2011 Sonata is the sedan's damped glove compartment door. Nice touch.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Gauges Come Alive

August 03, 2010

I thought you would like to see how the gauges of our long-term 2011 Hyundai Sonata come alive when you twist the key. Like everything else on this mid-size sedan Hyundai has done it right, with just the right amount of show to make the Sonata feel a little special.

Notice how the two small digital guages (coolant temp and fuel level) do a full sweep before settling in, while the larger analog dials (tach and speedo) don't. I also really like how the lighting kicks in after a few seconds for a little extra dramatic effect. And it doesn't come in all at once like someone crudely clicked a switch, instead it comes on slowly for an extra touch of upscale ambience.

Somebody at Hyundai is making good choices.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 3,080 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Lots of Interior Storage

July 29, 2010


Hyundai certainly put some thought into giving the new Sonata a lot of interior storage. There's plenty of space for your stuff, whether its cell phones, MP3 players, drinks, etc. Almost all of these locations are lined or rubberized to keep items from sliding around or rattling. Of the recent long-term cars we've had, the Sonata certainly ranks at or near the top for interior storage design. Photos of the Sonata's storage areas in action follow after the jump.

Up front, you a cubby that works well for electronics (phones, iPods); a small holder next to the cubby (not really pictured) that's good for little items or spare change; a lidded storage slot for items like CDs; and a sunglasses holder (which is good as long as you're not wearing huge Hollywood-style glasses).

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Directional Man

July 21, 2010


Now we have two vehicles in the long-term fleet with pictogram climate controls: the Volvo XC60 and the Hyundai Sonata. They don't work in exactly the same way, however. The XC60's directional man has separate buttons to direct airflow to the head, body and feet. The Sonata's directional man (or mode man, perhaps, seeing as how he's labeled as such) is comprised of just one button; his head is just for display. The way he works is that pushing the button cycles through the various air flow modes.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Hot

July 14, 2010

Hyundai Sonata hot.jpg

Sure, the sales numbers and the buzz surrounding the 2011 Hyundai Sonata would classify this car as hot, we're talking temperature here. Inhumane temperature. Palm Springs temperature.

The Sonata and I got lost the other day and wound up in Palm Springs where the mercury burst through the top of the thermometer registering 109 at nearly 4pm. I sprinted from the car to the coffee shop and then almost immediately back to the car. The cloth seats were scorching (usually my main argument FOR cloth), the steering wheel was on fire and the shifter-- with its black accent -- was hotter than a thousand suns in a microwave. Even my camera was too hot to touch which is why the photo is so terrible. Yeah, that's why.

In any case, cars parked in the sun get hot. But for the first time in a long time dealing with new cars, the air conditioning was not up to the task of keeping me happy / alive.

After a few minutes of its full-strength wheeze, I had to-- gasp-- open the windows and just deal with the breeze. It took some time, but eventually it worked enough to bring me back to life.

Still, I've yet to see a GM that can't handle the desert.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Not Your Average Gauge Cluster

July 08, 2010


Our new Hyundai Sonata stares back at you with an interesting set of gauges. They're not quite as "casual" as the Mitsubishi's, but they're better than the flat, features dials you get on most sedans in this class. I'm not going to say it's the most stylish look around, but it's clear that Hyundai's designers put some effort into the design.

They're easy to read and don't wash out in direct sunlight thanks to the deep set binnacles. The designers also managed to get the fuel and temp gauges in there without cluttering it up too much. And that screen that says "Sonata" eventually switches to a trip computer with plenty of additional information.

Does any of it really grab your attention the minute you sit down? Not really, but spend a few days tooling around in the Sonata and you realize it's a pretty functional setup. Can't ask for much more than that in a family sedan.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 1,051 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS: Seat Fabric

June 28, 2010


I really like the look of the seats in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS. The textured fabric is very attractive. But that light color worries me.

Do you think it will hold up? Here's a closer look.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: Nice Power Outlet Setup

June 23, 2010


Small point here, but important for a car like this. I'm talking about the power outlets/media plug in the center console. Most cars have them these days, but far too many bury them in out of the way places. Great if you want stuff out of sight. Not so great when you want to plug in quickly and have easy access to the device.

As you can see, in the Sonata they're front and center. Two 12V outlets for power, a dedicated plug for an iPod and a place to put the stuff you just plugged in. That last point is important as all too often there's a plug buried in some corner that leaves no place to put the iPod or phone you're trying to charge. The GTI is guilty of this.

So nothing magical here, just a simple, logical design that most buyers in this class will appreciate.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 805 miles

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2011 Hyundai Sonata: First Impressions

June 22, 2010


It just joined the fleet. It stickers at just over $23,000, and it's a Hyundai. So what are my first impressions of our new Sonata?

Very slick interior. Solid materials, some interesting, high quality finishes and a generally pleasing layout. I'm not usually a big fan of the pictograph climate controls, but this setup is fairly simple without taking up too much space.

Steering is too light and artificial feeling. This is probably a good thing to some degree as most buyers in this segment will appreciate the easy-to-maneuver feel of the Sonata. A little more heft and road feel would make it feel more like a Volkswagen and less like a Camry.

Solid engine. This four-cylinder engine is smooth, quiet and sounds refined even when you're winding it out. If it ends up returning the mileage Hyundai says it can, there will be plenty of satisfied customers.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 787 miles

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Past Long-Term Road Tests