Hyundai’s 2013 top-line Sonata Limited sedan has a lot of competition in its midsize class. The Sonata goes up against a long list of similar sedans such as the Accord, Altima, Camry, Fusion, Malibu, even it’s relative, the Kia Optima (Hyundai, in case you didn’t know, owns Kia and the Optima shares Sonata underpinnings).
Sonata is offered in trim levels of GLS, SE and the Limited that was tested. Considering the tough competition, Sonata has the advantage of an extremely generous warranty and very competitive pricing.
Sonata’s powertrain offerings include a 2.4L, 198-hp four-cylinder that produces 198-hp and 184 lb/ft of torque. By adding a dual-exhaust and turbo charging, the same engine puts out 200-hp and 186 lb/ft of torque. As an option on the SE and Limited models, a 2.0L, 274-hp turbo four-cylinder (269 lb/ft of torque) is available and has been timed at 6.7 seconds for 0-60. But for my test car, Hyundai provided the California emissions version (PZEV) of the 2.4L that drops the power ratings to 190-hp and 179 lb/ft of torque and EPA mileage ratings of 24 city, 35-highway mpg. All engines couple to a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic transmission that, in concert, provided lively acceleration and power with two adults aboard. Most certainly, the 274-hp model would be more exhilarating to drive.
Hyundai deserves a lot of credit for their interiors, not just in the Sonata, but their other models as well. In fact it’s certain their interiors inspired GM and others to update their interiors as well. For the Limited tested, the two-tone leather interior was exceptionally attractive with a suave melding of the dash and center stack. Everything flows together ever to tastefully. Even the steering wheel has a two-tone theme that grabs the eyes upon entering the cabin.
All HVAC controls are easy to use and Hyundai appears to have copied Volvo’s “man” design air directional controls whereupon touching a certain chromed dimensional body section directs the air to that area(s). The vertical stack housed the 6x4-inch LCD screen that displayed audio, GPS nav and rearview camera functions.
Front seats are soft, supportive and comfy over the long haul. They’re heated, as are the rear seats, which is a rare standard feature in many competitive sedans.
One complaint is that rear visibility is hampered somewhat by too tall rear headrests. Low profile ones would be better.
A panoramic sunroof came as part of the Limited’s Premium Package however only the front part opened.
Trunk space was huge and can easily hold two large roll-a-longs or two golf bags. Flip the 60/40 rear seatbacks by yanking on two release handles in the trunk, and space doubles.
Shod with 17-inch Kumho tires, Sonata rode like a full-size sedan and its suspension did an admirable job of soaking up road imperfections. In fact we tested a Chrysler 200 sedan the same week and the Sonata offered a better ride.
The standard feature list is considerably lengthy and included such necessities as Electronic Brake Force Distribution with Brake Assist, tire pressure monitoring and Electronic Stability Control.
On the options side, the Premium Package ($2,900) mentioned raises the base price of $25,845 to $29,655 including delivery. It included the sunroof, nav and touch screen display, backup camera, Infinity audio system, XM radio with NavTraffic and NavWeather (free for 90 days), carpeted floor mats and iPod cable.
As mentioned, one of Sonata’s selling points is its generous warranties of 5/60K New Vehicle, 10/100K Powertrain, 7/Unlimited rust protection and 5/Unlimited Roadside Assistance. A compelling deal for a handsome, midsize sedan.
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