Review: Hyundai Sonata Turbo

Posted on 27. Nov, 2010 by in Auto News

Rate each car between $ 18,000 and $ 28,000 lately, and someone tied comment prices: "I much prefer a $ 20,000 Hyundai Sonata would." This is not just been talk. Sales of the 2011 Sonata Hyundai have surpassed most fanciful expectations, leaving the car in short supply. Now, to add fuel to the fire, you can get the Sonata with a turbo. Should you? Well, it depends.

The Sonata with a turbo looks just like a sonata without turbo, with one small exception: the Limited 2.0T SE carries the 18-inch alloys 17s instead of the 2.4 's. Those who expected a stronger car look stronger, or at least different, will be disappointed. Others see a swoopy sedan, which is far more stylish than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Some of the new has worn since the sonata spring debut, but it will take a year or two, to major competitors can possibly catch. The immediate challenge is aesthetic of a redesigned Kia Optima, the Sonata platform and drivetrain but share has come even more dramatic (though more disjointed) styling.

The Sonata interior is also independent of the drive upgrade. As such, it is among the segment leaders. Regarding design, materials, space and comfort Who after performance-oriented bits like a boost gauge or aggressively strengthened buckets will not find them.

The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine 198-200 hp is much more powerful for the vast majority of mid-size sedan buyers. But some people "need" more power and a number of other, perhaps a quarter of the total is for more, even if it was rarely, if ever actually use it to pay. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet and Mazda offer such buyers a 3.5-or-so-liter V6. Hyundai has a different approach, taken by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four instead.

Enriched integral with direct injection and twin-scroll turbocharger to the exhaust manifold voices, manages the Hyundai Motor a few horsepower more than one of the six (for a total of 274) and binds the thickest (Mazda 3.7) for maximum torque (269 pounds-feet ). Typical of the turbo torque peak arrives early, at 1,750 revolutions per minute. Curb weight, 3,338 pounds for the 2.0T SE and £ 3,452 for the 2.0T Limited, one of the lowest in the group, the information exciting promise strong performance.

Now the turbo engine delivers strong acceleration, but without much in the way of thrills. The 2.0 turbo is a little louder than the naturally aspirated 2.4, but otherwise refined and speed with the same general lack of drama. The additional noise is usually mechanically. There is none of the exhaust roar / drone in Hyundai previous generation 2.0-liter turbo, still offered in the Genesis Coupe. The most important acoustic flaw: Even a very good four never sounds almost as sweet as a decent six. At low speeds, there is little delay. At higher speeds, there is no. As with many enhanced engines that use the latest technology, the power curve is extremely linear. There is no strong thrust at low speeds (despite everything that suggests the torque peak). No sudden surge of power in the midrange, no zing in the final sprint for the redline Very little torque steer.

The mandatory manually shiftable six-speed automatic behaves well enough. The profits of the Limited 2.0T SE shift paddles. This allows a little more commitment, but are not a substitute for the manual transmission is not offered.

The biggest positive surprise with the 2.0T: fuel consumption. The EPA classifies the 2.0T for 22 city / 33 highway, compared with the 2.4 's 22/35. In the real world, I observed as low as 11 in full hoon mode. But in casual driving, the onboard computer exceeded the EPA numbers easily with an average even touching 40 MPG during a stretch of semi-rural byway.

Handling is also very similar. The Sonata steering is considerably harder than a Camry XLE, but still not particularly sporty. The chassis feels composed and balanced in casual driving, but midsizer typical for a mainstream-oriented front-wheel drive, understeer when pushed. The 18s lifted from the SE Limited sharpen steering a little, but some thumpiness the ride and some road noise on concrete. As with the 2.4 the top trim level is the way to go, although to do its additional features (leather seats, sunroof, 360-watt audio system, climate control, etc.) inflate the base price. The SE firmer suspension setup insecure drive the car more than it enhances performance.

The $ 1,750 price bump for the Turbo, which includes shift paddles and larger wheels and accepts the limitations of $ 27,765 suggests a healthy bang for the buck.

But the Sonata's character hardly affected, let alone implemented, by the addition of Boost, those Evo and STI (or at least from 2005 to 2009 Legacy GT), when they hear "274-hp turbo engine four" are attached to be disappointed thinking. The Sonata 2.0T just not with enthusiasts in mind developed, probably because it's just not that many of them. It has been designed to compete head on with the V6-powered CAMCORD audience. And that's what she does. Expect the Sonata 2.0T by almost the same reasons has to be the 2.4. It lives up to the mainstream buyer wants, just a little faster.

Hyundai provided the vehicle in a ride-and-drive event.

Michael Karesh owns and operates True Delta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data.