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2011 Hyundai Sonata

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Review

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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 754 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

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

Navigation system flaws

By on Friday, January 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,665

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good acceleration, smooth ride, handles well."

Cons: "Can't enjoy the car due to nav system issues."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I have owned this car for 1-1/2 years. Since I drove it off the lot, I have had many problems with the navigation system. I get errors in Korean language, and 2-3 times per month it locks up and I can't use backup cameras, temperature controls, DVD, or maps. You have to turn the car off and re-boot it, and even then sometimes it doesn't clear the problem. Been to the dealership a couple of times, and they say it's probably the fuses... but they just re-boot it and it "works fine". The car has a nice ride, great gas mileage (about 30 MPG combined) and seems reliable performance-wise. But I'm so frustrated not to be able to enjoy it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

2011 model set the style trend for today's vehicle

By on Saturday, January 02, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"When I test drove the 2.4 liter model I thought I was driving a V-6. That power and response remains today. The comfort of the car is very good, only leather seats may improve upon it. The electronic steering makes parallel parking easy and I do a lot of that in places like Washington, DC. I plan on keeping this car for quite a long time. I recommend any buyer to pickup one, even the new ones as they appear to be holding up well. Mine had 62000 miles on it. I did, however, have to replace the right front brake caliper when I performed routine brake pad replacement. I found the aftermarket replacement part about $15 more than the same caliper for my 2006 Dodge truck. Bottom line, great car, in my opinion."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

since bought, hurt back -only wife drives(2 cars)

By on Friday, November 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "excellent warranty"

Cons: "As stated above,we no longer need 2 cars."

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

"We no longer need 2 cars and my wife prefers our Honda CRV ,since it is higher off of the ground. This car is in excellent condition and we have not had any problems and it rides smoother than the Honda and gets better mileage."

16 people out of 20 found this review helpful

best vehicle for price and warranty

By on Monday, November 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great car"

Cons: "none yet"

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

"we have owned this hybrid for 4 yrs now and still going as strong as fist day off lot we bought new in jan 2012, love it and will buy again."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

traded an audi a-6 and fell in love with it

By on Saturday, October 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great to drive, peppy. great sound"

Cons: "none"

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

"Car is quick for it's size. Breaking was excellent at low and high speed. We are trading up to an lexus and hope better would benfine. 53,000 miles and no break job yet. steering seemed weird and dealer replaced electric wire to wire steering. Used roadside assistance for run out, there within in 1/2 hour in city we were not used to. Had to put tires and upgrade made cabin noise nill. Perfect car. with the trade in value, had car five years for $2.200 a year! Over all a great car but getting tired of it because we have had five years."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love the car in good weather.

By on Monday, October 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great car for the money."

Cons: "Not worth risking my life in a 1/2 snowfall"

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

"I've been driving for 28 years. I have never driven a car this useless in the snow. My driveway is a slight incline. With o.e inch of snow my sonata will not make it up my driveway. I've lived in upstate New York all of my life. I KNOW HOW to drive in bad weather. I think I would be safer on a motorcycle without a helmet."

9 people out of 22 found this review helpful

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