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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 765 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
    9.0/10

Best car ever owned

By on Monday, May 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,600

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Price, reliability, styling, and fun"

Cons: "Electronics sometimes require cycling steps"

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

Cell phone shot of 1st day, driver rear corner view

"Less than a month and I can finally offer a more comprehensive review. When Hyundai came out with their body redesign in 2011, they hit a home run! Look at the other cars on the road, from Chevrolet to Mercedes, and you will see the have all adopted that aggressive slant forward design Hyundai designed. It is the most trend setting design since Oldsmobile came out with the 1995 Aurora. On the city streets and highway, control was very reassuring and yet responsive. Acceleration was a very pleasant surprise. It made highway passing and merging no challenge at all. Seats are large enough for my large body. Back seat leg room is a little tight if the front seats are too far back. Sudden braking was a great surprise. I tried it on the test drive (after warning the salesman) and was very impressed even with the wet braking. I spent 3 weeks, 8-10 hours a day, researching different cars and dealerships. It was actually maddening and very stressful, but for a bipolar perfectionist with high anxiety it ended working out for the best. I went to 11 different dealerships (various makes and models) while narrowing my search. When I decided on my Sonata, I was on my way to a dealership for a 2014 model. When I got to the freeway, I decide to go to another dealership which I hadn't visited. I bought my 2013 there. Karma or luck?"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Cell phone shot of 1st day, driver rear corner view

Disappointed

By on Monday, May 09, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 128,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "good on gas"

Cons: "always something that needs to be fixed"

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

"I am disappointed in this car. As soon as the warranty ran out everything started to go wrong with the car. I bought it because i thought it was reliable and good on gas. It is good on gas, however, it sucks in the reliability department. They've done several recalls on this car and I've had to replace sensors, get the transmission repaired, replace two starters, steering wheel pins and others things too numerous to name. I would never purchase another one again"

A great car!

By on Monday, May 02, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "comfortable to drive, quiet, fuel economy"

Cons: "passanger seat sits low"

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

"This car is comfortable to drive around the city or out on the road for hundreds of miles. Great on gas."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Good Car turbo quit after 5 years

By on Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Turbo makes it fun to drive"

Cons: "Turbo quit after 5 years had to replace it"

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

"Good car well designed good value for the money but turbo quit after 5 years and we keep it serviced evey 5000 miles"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I love my car.

By on Friday, April 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "good price, good gas mileage, air bags throughout"

Cons: "pay extra for some features if not bought new."

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

"The Sonata looks great, feels great, great gas mileage. I travel to Pennsylvania a lot and it takes 1/2 tank to go round trip to the Poconos. It's a steady car and with all the air bags; I feel safe and feel good my children are safe with the air bags in the back."

2014 Hyundai Sonata Limited

By on Thursday, April 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,900

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
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great value for the money"

Cons: "audio speakers, which are fair."

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

"Very nice overall. Great gas mileage (especially highway driving). Comfortable seats, good controls, & good trunk space. The only negative is the quality of the audio speakers....which are fair at best."

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