For 2013, the Hyundai Sonata is completely redesigned.
The 2013 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize family sedan available in GLS, SE and Limited trim levels. Standard equipment on the GLS includes 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated sideview mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a trip computer, a 60/40-split rear seatback, a six-speaker stereo (with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, iPod/auxiliary audio jacks and steering-wheel-mounted controls) and Bluetooth with phonebook download.
Two optional equipment packages are available. One adds alloy wheels, automatic headlights and an eight-way power driver seat. The other includes all these plus a navigation system and upgraded speakers for the audio system. The sporty SE features all the above (except the navigation system and premium speakers) and adds 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, foglights, a dark chrome grille, a sport-tuned suspension, keyless ignition/entry, leather/cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Opting for the turbocharged engine will also add dual-zone automatic climate control. An optional package bundles a navigation system with premium speakers and a sunroof.
The plush Limited has all the SE's features (minus the 18-inch wheels, sport suspension and cloth/leather upholstery) and adds side mirror turn signal repeaters, a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats (front and rear), dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an upgraded audio system (with HD radio and CD changer) and unique interior accents (either wood grain or gloss black). Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are also standard. The turbocharged SE variant adds 18-inch wheels, dual exhaust tips and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The Limited's sole optional package bundles a navigation system with a back-up camera and Infinity premium speakers.
The standard engine on all Hyundai Sonata trim levels is a 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine good for 198 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque. The SE, with its dual exhaust, has a bit more power at 200 hp and 186 lb-ft. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the GLS, while a six-speed automatic is optional on that trim and standard on the SE and Limited. A powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is available on SE and Limited trim levels. This engine produces 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque.
In performance testing, a 2.4-liter GLS Sonata with the automatic transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds. As expected, the 2.0-liter turbo is significantly quicker, requiring only 6.7 seconds.
The Sonata's EPA fuel economy estimates are impressive for a car of this size. The 2.4-liter engine with the manual transmission is rated at 24 mpg city/35 mpg highway and 28 combined, and 22/35/26 mpg with the automatic. The 2.0-liter turbo, despite its significant boost in power, returns a very impressive 22/33/26 mpg.
All Sonatas come well stocked with antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2013, the Sonata earned a top five-star rating for overall crash protection, with four out of five stars given for front-impact protection and five stars for side impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata earned a top rating of "Good" for frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength protection.
In Edmunds brake testing, a 2011 Sonata GLS came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet. A 2.0-liter turbo model with wider tires stopped slightly shorter at 120 feet. Both stopping distances are slightly better than average for cars in this class.
Fit and finish of the cabin is very good. The controls operate with a feel and precision befitting a more expensive car. We're big fans of the standard iPod interface, which is easy to use and quite speedy in operation. The Limited trim level is particularly upscale, with its available two-tone color schemes, piano black trim and padded door panels.
Now classified as a large car, the Sonata boasts enough room to allow four adults to stretch out and enjoy the ride. As with most cars, five will fit, though the rear middle passenger won't be as comfortable as the others. Headroom is just barely adequate front and rear, however, as 6-footers will likely find their heads uncomfortably in the ceiling. The trunk has a slightly smaller opening than the norm, but its 16.4-cubic-foot capacity is at the top of the class.
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