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2011 Hyundai Sonata

Overview
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2011 Hyundai Sonata Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.1

Until the arrival of the previous Sonata, Hyundai's mid-size sedan had never offered much more than a low price and long warranty. But the fifth-generation Sonata, introduced in 2005, was a giant leap forward for Hyundai and kicked off its recent rise to respectability. The latest Sonata, all-new for 2011, has been nothing short of a towering home run with critics and consumers alike. Beneath maybe the most stylish sheetmetal in the segment (the Suzuki Kizashi is pretty sharp), the 2011 Hyundai Sonata combines a well-appointed interior, world-class powertrain and newfound levels of quality. Last three words: An instant favorite.

You'll Like This Car If...

By most relevant measures, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is among the best mid-size sedans you can buy. You won't find a more compelling combination of style, value and quality in the category.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata isn't as tech-savvy as the Ford Fusion, doesn't ride as smoothly as the Toyota Camry or Chevy Malibu and doesn't offer the meticulous refinement of the Honda Accord. And until the turbo model bows, it can't match the power of its competitors' V6 models.

What's New for 2011

There's a new mainstream mid-size sedan in town, and it's going to force Honda and Toyota to step up their games.

Driving the Sonata

Driving Impressions The 2011 Hyundai Sonata first impressed us with how smoothly and swiftly it pulls away from a stop, feeling refined and V6-like. Given the Sonata's exceptional fuel economy and that...

many other fuel-sipping standouts are annoyingly stingy in their pedal response, the Sonata's eagerness is refreshing. The responsiveness continues around town, with direct steering and brake feel. It's not as smooth or quiet on the highway as the Chevy Malibu, but we spent several hours in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata's front seats and found it comfortable throughout. And while the powertrain shines on surface streets, the engine works as hard in highway passing situations as do other good four-cylinders. Overall, we count the 2011 Hyundai Sonata's mix of ride, handling and feel as one of its many strong suits.

Heated rear seats
While some luxury-oriented sedans and SUVs offer this feature, it isn't something you generally see in an affordable mid-size sedan. And the fact that they're standard on the Limited trim makes them even more attractive.

HD Radio
HD Radio doesn't have the commercial-free selection of satellite radio, but it sounds better and it's free. We wish more automakers offered HD Radio, and we're glad the 2011 Hyundai Sonata offers it on all trims.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Details
2011 Hyundai Sonata photo Interior

The inside of the Sonata is a mixture of bold shapes and finishes, both welcome additions in a segment where plain vanilla is the norm. We're particularly fond of the dash and doors in two-tone form, which adds extra visual panache. What to look out for? The rakish roofline does wonders for the Sonata's profile, but hinders rear headroom.

Exterior
2011 Hyundai Sonata photo

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is a study in dynamic, sculptural lines that give the car a decidedly up-market look – accented by a healthy dose of chrome that includes a big, shiny grille. Accentuating all of this bling is the Sonata's high beltline and sloping roofline, which give the sedan a sleek, coupe-like profile. Depending on trim, Sonata offers a choice of 16-, 17- or 18-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Hyundai prides itself on offering vehicles chock-full of standard features, and the 2011 Sonata is no exception. Headliners on the standard equipment list include Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod/USB music integration and steering wheel-mounted audio/cruise controls. An impressive array of standard safety equipment includes six airbags and electronic stability control. Like many of its competitors, the base-priced 2011 Hyundai Sonata is saddled with covered steel wheels and a six-speed manual transmission.

Optional Equipment

In addition to common upgrades like a moonroof and leather seats, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata extras list includes a touchscreen navigation system, backup camera, pushbutton entry and start, multiple premium audio systems and XM Satellite Radio/traffic/weather.

Under the Hood

A turbocharged four-cylinder engine and hybrid powertrain will join the lineup for the 2012 model year, but the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is offered only with the most powerful, most fuel-efficient four-cylinder (non-turbo) in the category. The 2.4-liter engine with direct injection is mated to either a six-speed manual (in GLS trim only) or a six-speed automatic transmission.

2.4-liter in-line four cylinder
190-200 Horsepower @ 6300 rpm (varies by trim and state)
184-186 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm (varies by trim)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/35

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 606 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Stylish, comfortable, but still a slow hybrid

By on Friday, July 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great Mileage, Stylish, Extreme Value"

Cons: "Slow - Don't pull out into oncoming traffic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The vehicle is fantastic looking with LED headlight accents and interior accent lighting. The seats are comfortable enough for a 14 hour road trip, and everything inside is superior to similar priced cars. The gas mileage is amazing, I got approximately 45 mpg with the A/C on while on the highway with cruise control in operation at 75 mph. Unfortunately, the vehicle is very slow to switch from battery to gas engine when pulling out into traffic from a complete stop. The engine lacks acceleration and power. It is reliable, has had no issues mechanically in the 3.5 years I've owned it. Buy a spare tire though, because the base model Sonata doesn't come with one."

Has all the bells and whistles

By on Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Has all the extras and nice styling."

Cons: "Gas mileage not as good as other hybrids"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I purchased the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited for the gas mileage and because it comes with keyless entry, navigation, back-up camera and leather seats. It is also a nice looking sedan compared to the Accord or Camry. It drives pretty good and has some get up and go when you need it. Unfortunately I can attest to the safety. It works exactly as it should after 2 1/2 months and 4000 miles I was hit by a driver in a full-size SUV running a read light. The side curtain airbags went off and the whole front end was mushed in. I am relatively unhurt."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Love it!

By on Monday, July 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Been a Honda family for 28 years and was ready to buy another one when I decided to look at the Sonata.Was overwhelmed at the amount of car you get for the money and the warranty is so much better than almost any other car maker. Honda quality is so good that it was a little hard not to get another one.Time will tell once the mileage rolls up, but I said the same thing when I first decided to buy a Honda in 1986."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

My experience with a rented Sonata

By on Friday, July 04, 2014

I don't own this car

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage and cool design"

Cons: "Cheap interior, not many standard features"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"We drove a 2013 Sonata as a rental car for a week between Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Greenville, South Carolina. The best thing about the car was the gas mileage. We made a round trip around the state and then some, and only filled up when returning it to the airport, and even then we weren't close to empty. I liked the sporty exterior styling, and the sculpted interior and dashboard that wrapped around you. This in addition to the high window-line gave me a very safe, secure feeling inside the car. I also liked the design of the 3-dimensional gauge cluster. While I liked the shape of the interior, the materials were almost exclusively hard plastic, aside from the top of the dash. I liked the climate control buttons and the standard satellite radio, but the radio cluster was disappointing to look at. The radio screen was small and would freeze, you would have to change stations and change back to see what song was playing. There were other cheap elements of the car, such as the outdated "Hyundai" car key and the wimpy roadrunner horn that would beep when you locked the car. The car had a firm and solid ride, which was good but not necessarily fun or sporty."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Excellent engine, could use a few refinements

By on Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Engine, stock features, price, reliability"

Cons: "Handling, service, depreciation"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"***Value: I paid $24,880 in 2011 for the current 2011 Sonata SE 2.0T, no upgraded audio, nav, or moonroof. For what it's worth I can't stand car navigation systems and don't miss the moonroof. It's depreciated more than I would have liked, at about 13-15k as of 2014 ***Audio: For me the stock audio, no high powered amp, no sub, etc doesn't mean poor audio at all. The stock audio is fantastic, volume isn't the loudest but it has great dynamics, clarity and connections for an iPhone in particular with a $30+ cable, AUX or USB for Android, or just use a flash drive. ***Performance: If you want awesome acceleration that doesn't break the bank, this is a gold mine. Turn off ECO mode and traction control, slide to manual shifting, hit the accelerator to find the sweet spot. After almost 30k miles it has a 1-1.5 second delay between rolling at 20 to engaging full boost. Cornering is its weak point, not the sharpest or most precise, but 269 ft lb torque means you can slide the tail right out even in a fwd. I get about 30 mpg highway and can't keep lead foot under control enough to get more than 21 mpg in the summer. Previously was getting 24-26 mpg with ECO mode. ***Reliability: Hyundai initially fixed a few problems without charge when randomly in automatic (Drive) it would sometimes shift by itself as if in manual, displaying the gear number instead of D, at 60 mph I would sometimes end up in 2nd gear. They couldn't quite diagnose the problem but reflashed a few parts and the only remaining problem is problems with it automatically upshifting. And the stock tires are honestly terrible... Stock Hankook's were burned down to flat rubber after 20k miles and even prior would slip and completely stutter at the sight of a drop of rain. I used Blizzak WS70's in the winter in New York no problem, now I have Michelin Pilot A/S 3's, it's night and day. Nearing 28k miles Hyundai wanted me to shell out $300 for brake work and transmission fluid for my 30k service... ***Could be better: Cornering for sure, turbo latency (which can be fixed by upgraded parts), initially when I bought the car I had a TON of fog/dew on the inside and outside of my windows and windshield, defogger on full blast didn't fix a thing. Mirrors are harder to view than I would like with their shape and rear windshield slope. ***Overall: Never head a break down or a flat, awesome audio, fantastic performance, a few refinements here and there could be done, but overall great."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Very good car

By on Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,243

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Blutooth, interior desin very roomy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I just purchased a Hundi Sonata. I seems roomy. I just love the fact that the care has Blutooth capability. That way I am totally hand free and I can hear the caller very clearly."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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