- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2008

Refreshed for 2009, the Hyundai Sonata gets new interior styling; modifications to its exterior; a revised suspension; and alterations to the powertrain that bring a slight increase to horsepower as well as improved fuel economy. This mid-sized sedan competes with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Chevy Malibu. It is available in three trims; GLS, SE and Limited, and is on sale now in Hyundai dealerships, ranging in price from $18, 795 to $27, 585, with “America’s best warranty”.

The 2009 Sonata updates the Hyundai’s 2006 model revision with some 1,000 changes midway through its life cycle. The Sonata’s exterior has soft, fluid lines that highlight its unibody design, accented by horizontal character lines along the fenders and doors.

The interior of the Sonata has been redesigned to bring a more luxurious feel to the cabin with styling, comfort and technical upgrades. Sonata’s contoured front bucket seats have been crafted with longer bottom cushions and angled in a way that improves the seat feel for taller and larger drivers and passengers. A new dual-zone climate control system allows drivers and front passengers to set different comfort zones.

Limited trim models get heated front seats and an 8-point adjustable driver seat and heated front seats. Rear seats are a 60/40 split, fold-down bench with head restraints for all three passengers.

When not in use, the middle rear seat tumbles into a center armrest with cup holders. All of Sonata’s cupholders have been redesigned to accommodate a wider range of drink containers. Up to 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space is found in the trunk.

A leather-wrapped shift knob and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, with audio controls, are found on all three trims, with the exclusion of the GLS 4-cylinder. The 4-cylinder GLS gets a tilt steering wheel, without leather appointments. GLS and SE trims come equipped with a 6-speaker AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio with MP3 capabilities; a 360 watt, 6-speaker Infinity Sound System with AM/FM/XM Radio and 6-CD changer is standard on the Limited trim. An iPod jack is standard on all trims.

The newest Sonata comes with two engine choices that Hyundai says are more “fun-to-drive”. A 2.4-liter, inline 4-cylinder comes paired with a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic, with Shiftronic.

The 5-speed manual is standard on the GLS trim, with the option of the 5-speed automatic. The 5-speed automatic with Shiftronic is standard on the SE and Limited trims; there is no option for a manual transmission on these models. Hyundai’s 3.3-liter, all-aluminum V-6 engine has also been modified to allow greater horsepower and better efficiency. Now rated at 249-horsepower, the V-6 comes paired with a 5-speed automatic, with Shiftronic. EPA fuel economy is rated at 22/32 for the 2.4-liter and 19/29 for the 3.3-liter.

The 2009 Sonata comes with a 10-year / 100,000 mile powertrain warranty, 5-year / 60,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty, 7-year / unlimited mile corrosion warranty, and 5-year / unlimited mile roadside assistance.

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