HyundaiSonata, the mid-size sedan that sent competitors back to the drawing board, is back for its third model year. In 2011, Sonata was the third best-selling mid-size sedan at retail, ahead of Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu. This retail sales success comes with the segment’s lowest incentive spending, averaging just a third of these three competitors’ levels, the highest ratio of transaction price to MSRP and the highest residual values. Sonata owners in 2011 were also more satisfied with their car’s fuel economy, design and value than owners of Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion and Malibu, according to the J.D. Power 2011 APEAL Study.
For 2013, Sonata builds on its trailblazing recipe of high-design and high fuel efficiency with more features, higher value, and better residual value than ever before. That’s important, as the mid-size segment is more competitive than ever, with new competitors like the soon-to-be launched 2013 Ford Fusion and 2013 Nissan Altima borrowing pages from the Sonata playbook with improved fuel economy and design.
Recognizing the Sonata’s remarkable combination of high retail sales, low fleet mix and low incentive spending, ALG has rewarded the 2013 HyundaiSonata with its best-ever residual value of 60 percent, a remarkable achievement for a car in the third year of its life cycle.
For 2013, the Sonata GLS with Popular Equipment Package now has even more content, with the addition of fog lights and heated front seats. At $21,720 for a Sonata GLS with Popular Package, Sonata continues to offer an unmatched value position in the midsize segment.
Sonata SE now comes with standard heated front seats and Sonata Limited comes standard with a traditional sunroof, while a panoramic sunroof is now part of the Limited Premium Package for 2013. Sonata also continues its remarkable level of fuel efficiency, with ratings of 24 mpg city, 28 combined, and 35 on the highway, the highest levels of owner-reported fuel economy satisfaction in the mid-size segment, and best power-to-weight ratio in the segment.
Fluidic Sculpture is a consistent, cohesive design language that is used throughout the entire Hyundai showroom. It considers the interplay of natural, fluid elements with more rigid surfaces and structures to create the illusion of constant motion.
The exterior of the Sonata is long, light and low. The high beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by a third window. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai signature chrome accent that spans the length of the car. Normally, this type of trim is only found around the windows. On the Sonata, this trim extends out from the headlamps, juts up along the hood and through the beltline. The face is bold with a large powerful chrome grille and headlamps that integrate precise details. The stance is completed by 16-, 17- or 18-inch multi-spoke wheels.
The sophisticated look continues inside, where Hyundai has created an upscale ambiance thanks to a flow-through center console and instrument panel. These flowing surfaces complement the exterior design and wrap around the driver and passengers.
The 2013 Sonata is powered by the original Theta II GDI 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a Gasoline Direct-Injection (GDI) fuel delivery system, which contributes to improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions. This shorter, more direct path of fuel delivery, allows for greater control of the fuel mixture at the optimum moment, thus improving efficiency. The fuel is injected by a camshaft-driven, high pressure pump that operates at pressures up to 2,175 psi. Direct injection also utilizes a higher than normal 11.3:1 compression ratio for increased power. The pistons are “dished” to increase combustion efficiency in the cylinder. This powerplant still delivers best-in-class fuel economy, best-in-class four-cylinder horsepower and best-in-class torque more than two years after its initial introduction.
Sonata delivers an impressive 24 mpg city/35 mpg estimated highway fuel economy rating with the standard six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC. The horsepower and torque ratings for the Theta II GDI are 198 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. In the SE trim, which includes a standard dual exhaust, the engine delivers 200 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque. This high-tech, all-aluminum, 16-valve engine features Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT) and a Variable Induction System (VIS) for better engine breathing. A version of this engine also meets Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) standards.
With the 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI engine, the 2013 Sonata offers an unprecedented combination of segment-leading fuel efficiency and power - with 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb.-ft of torque from 1,750 - 4,500 rpm and an estimated 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway with regular fuel. Hyundai’s turbocharged engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger that when combined with the GDI system, results in instantaneous power delivery. The 2.0T engine is available on the SE and Limited trim levels. The Sonata 2.0T SE adds an upgraded fully automatic temperature control system, and the Limited adds the SE’s 18-inch hyper silver alloy wheels, dual exhaust, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. All 2013 Sonatas utilize a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control.
An advanced four-wheel independent suspension system combines a supple ride with precise handling and steering response for Sonata GLS, Limited and Hybrid models. Sonata uses MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems with increased travel for improved wheel control and a smoother ride. All four wheels are controlled by coil springs, fade-resistant dual flow dampers and stabilizer bars. The suspension has been optimized to keep the vehicle flat during cornering and provide quick turn-in response. The rear suspension uses aluminum components to reduce weight and improve suspension performance. The GLS, Limited and Hybrid models also use advanced low-rolling resistance tires to improve fuel economy while maintaining good ride and handling performance.
The Sonata SE is an even more exciting and willing partner for drivers who prefer sportier ride and handling dynamics. The sport-tuned suspension features stiffer springs and larger stabilizer bars, resulting in a 20 percent increase in roll stiffness. Low profile 18-inch tires round out the unique chassis components of the Sonata SE.
All Sonatas are equipped with motor-driven electric power steering that adjusts instantly to changing driving conditions while improving fuel economy over a conventional steering system. A quick-ratio steering rack is used for crisp feel on turn-in. Sonata’s turning diameter of 35.8 feet is better than Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion and Malibu.
The sleek design, combined with Hyundai’s expertise in interior packaging, delivers class-leading interior comfort, functionality and practicality. A sleek roofline typically compromises headroom and interior volume, but at 120.2 cubic feet, the Sonata has more interior volume than many of its key competitors. It is so spacious that Sonata continues to be classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a large car, truly a “class above” Camry, Altima, Fusion and Malibu (all are categorized as midsize cars). The Sonata shines even in trunk volume, with 16.4 cu. ft. of trunk space that gives it a 6.1 percent advantage over the Camry and a 10.4 percent advantage over Accord.