By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
In a segment historically defined by everyday practicality and restrained styling, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata breaks the mold with its sculpted exterior design, feature-laden cabin and three efficient yet engaging 4-cylinder engine choices. Add to that an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and it becomes apparent that the Sonata will continue to seize market share from well-established competitors, such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion. Both the standard engine and the 274-horsepower turbocharged version employ direct-injection technology to deliver impressive fuel economy figures without sacrificing power, while the 2013 Sonata Hybrid represents the pinnacle of Hyundai fuel efficiency with its 40-mpg highway rating and lifetime-warrantied hybrid battery.
If you're in the market for a mid-size sedan and the usual suspects fail to arouse your emotions, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata could be the perfect choice. Given its generous level of standard equipment, its lengthy warranty and rising residual values, the Sonata offers perhaps the best value of the group.
While Hyundai's groundbreaking Fluidic Sculpture design language resonates with many new-car buyers, some might prefer the more subtle looks of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Chevrolet Malibu. When stacked up against the second-generation Camry Hybrid, the Sonata Hybrid suffers from deficiencies in driving dynamics, fuel efficiency and overall ride quality.
For the 2013 model year, the Hyundai Sonata receives a handful of minor revisions to its feature content. GLS trims equipped with the Popular Equipment Package now include fog lights and heated front seats, while Limited models get a traditional moonroof in place of the previously-standard dual-panel unit. Standard heated front seats for SE trims round out the changes.
Driving Impressions For how quickly and smoothly the 2013 Hyundai Sonata pulls away from a stop, you'd swear there was a V6 engine under its sleek hood. Instead, what resides there...is a 2.4-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine producing 200 horsepower and delivering fuel economy figures of 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. If that's not enough power for you, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T sedan adds a turbocharger that brings output to a very healthy 274 horsepower. The Sonata excels in virtually every category, with excellent brakes and a suspension that delivers smoothness when the road gets nasty and level cornering when the asphalt starts to curve. Steering feel, however, is somewhat vague, and interior noise levels are a bit higher than those in competitors such as the Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord. From a comfort standpoint, our Limited trim level's seats were very comfortable, the dash and instrumentation were nice to look at and easy to figure out, and all but the tallest test drivers found the rear-seat headroom and legroom to be exceptional.
HEATED REAR SEATS
While some luxury-oriented sedans and SUVs offer heated rear seats, it isn't something you generally see in a mainstream mid-size sedan. And the fact that they're standard on both the SE and Limited trim makes them even more attractive.
HD Radio doesn't have the commercial-free appeal of satellite radio, but we have no qualms about a subscription-free radio service that broadcasts your favorite radio stations in CD quality. We wish more automakers offered HD Radio, and we're glad the 2013 Hyundai Sonata offers it on all trims.
Like its dynamic exterior, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata's interior is a work of art. Following the exterior design theme, the Sonata's interior is a mix of bold shapes, smooth finishes and lots of attractive blue backlighting. The available 2-tone interior package looks particularly inviting in black and wine leather, and features such as the Limited trim's heated rear seat are practically unheard of in other competitors. However, while we do like the look of the rakish rear pillars, the design somewhat cuts into rear seat headroom.Exterior
The 2013 Hyundai Sonata is truly an original that will be hard to top. From its deeply-sculpted hood to the careful use of chrome trim highlighting the beltline, there is something old-Detroit-classic about this car, a throwback to a time when designers took risks and weren't afraid to produce something unique and dramatic. With its beautifully-detailed grille and swept-back headlights, its high belt line and sharply-raked rear window, the 2013 Sonata sedan projects a formidable presence few cars, let alone mid-size family sedans, possess. The Sonata's wheel and tire sizes vary by trim level and range from 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers to 19-inch split-spoke alloy wheels. One of the Sonata's more appealing exterior features is the Limited trim's available panoramic moonroof.
Hyundai is renowned for outfitting its vehicles with a comprehensive serving of standard features, and the 2013 Sonata is no exception. Topping the list is Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment and concierge service, Bluetooth and a USB port with iPod connectivity. Safety equipment includes six airbags, the usual sprinkling of electronic safety aides and active front headrests to help reduce the severity of whiplash-related injuries. Like many competitors in the category, the Hyundai Sonata in base form includes a 6-speed manual transmission and rides on steel wheels with full-size covers.
In addition to common equipment upgrades, such as leather seats and a moonroof, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata boasts an alluring list of optional features, which consist of a rear backup camera, a pair of premium audio systems and a navigation system with a 7-inch touch-screen and real-time traffic, weather, sports and stock updates. The once-standard panoramic moonroof is now available as part of the Limited Premium Package.
Since both the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and hybrid powertrain are engineered with a specific purpose in mind, the vast majority of Sonata owners will choose the balanced performance of the standard 2.4-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual (in GLS trim only) or a 6-speed automatic transmission. Although it is Hyundai's first mass-production hybrid vehicle, the Sonata Hybrid is packed with innovative tech bits. Leading the charge (pun intended) is a lithium polymer battery pack that weighs 25 percent less than a conventional nickel-metal hydride system. Moreover, the 2013 Sonata Hybrid is capable of all-electric speeds up to 74 mph – better than most plug-in hybrids. When Hyundai corrects the sluggish throttle response issues and elevates the fuel efficiency to competitive levels, we might be looking at the next leader in hybrid technology.
190-200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (varies by trim and state emission regulations)
179-186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm (varies by trim)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
274 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque between 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg
2.4-liter 4-cylinder hybrid
206 net horsepower
154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 35/40 mpg
By Steve on Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, great looking, reliable, fun"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"If you don't need all the bells and whistles in a used car, then the 2012 Sonata GLS if perfect. No nav system, no push button start, but so what. The car is beautiful, handles well, and gets excellent mpg. Having bought it as a certified pre-owned, my warranty coverage is excellent. Really pleased with this car!"
By Abjee on Saturday, December 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Transmission, Brakes, Looks, City handling"
Cons: "Shocks, Noisy engine and ride, Steering."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Bought '13 Limited for a quiet comfortable ride, 100 K miles CPO from a dealer. But after a few days of driving we are disappointed, and noticed a number of issues. a) The steering is tight, and has some resistance to moving it. So tackling windy mountain roads is hard on shoulders and arms. b) The steering cannot be made to go straight in highways, it wanders. It finally got fixed by switching from the "GLS" to the "Sport" mode. c) Very rough ride on certain tars. The car has monotube shock absorbers which makes the ride feel very hard and bumpy, not good for long drives . To make matters worse, the seat cushions are hard too. d) Engine has a timing chain, making it very clunky and noisy like a diesel jeep. e) The engine produces power, but not until it is rev-ed to a very noisy 5000+ RPM. Also, the torque noticeably lags putting feet on accelerator. f) The interior of the car is not noise insulated, causing a lot of wind roar and tyre clap. This steals the comfort out of both the ride and the music. Overall, expected better from a Limited model. There are some good things too. It looks majestic, and the brakes and transmission are among the best of many full-sized sedans I have driven. City mileage is OKAY. So this car is good for short rides in a city, but NOT for highways or the hills."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Gary on Friday, December 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "5 star performance"
Cons: "Low trade-in/resale value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Drove the base model Sonata then drove the 2.0 Turbo. For the extra money the Turbo is hands down the best. Fuel mileage is in the low 30's highway, and the car handles & rides very well. Very roomy interior and the trunk is huge. Fit, finish and overall quality is good and other than one minor factory recall, I just have the normal routine maintenance (oil/filter/tire rotation) done at the dealership. One downfall is the poor resale/trade value when I was thinking of purchasing the re-designed 2015 Sonata so I will be driving my 2013 Sonata for a few more years."
By Neile on Saturday, December 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Very good quality. hwy mileage consistently over 30mpg. great residual value. It has all available options except navigation plus we added pin stripe, tinted windows, and chrome along bottom. Best looking and best quality. this is our 3d Hyundai and I now have buyer loyalty. My next one will be a Genesis."
2 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By dmt on Thursday, November 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great features for the money. The only changes I could hope for would be to lessen the blind spot at both ends of the front windshield due to wide frame. Have had several occasions over the years where a car "appeared out of nowhere" from the blind spot. Also, needs a charging port in the back seat for those passengers to recharge phones/ipods. Lastly, the there is an unavoidable click that is inherent in the console area when the brakes are applied. Can't be remedied even when dealership sprayed an insulator on the area. Sounds as if a toggle is being activated when brakes are applied. Overall, wise purchase. Minimal maintenance."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Greg on Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Responsive handling, fun to drive"
Cons: "wish it was a stick shift"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Looks and drives like a brand new car. Beautiful pearl white paint with panoramic roof. This vehicle has been garage kept and never smoked in or eaten in. If you want a car that looks new without the big sticker, you should consider this car."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful