Thursday, June 19, 2014

Psst, have you looked at the Hyundai Sonata?

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – I’ve probably said it a thousand times: “Have you looked at the Hyundai Sonata?”

That’s my answer to folks who ask me what I might recommend in a reliable, feature-loaded midsize sedan.  In most cases, the questioners have looked at the usual suspects and are prepared to spend around $30,000 or more for some new wheels.

Why spend that much when you can get a perk-laden Sonata?  This has been true for a long time.

Consider that a basic 2014 Sonata GLS starts at around $21,500.  Is that reasonable enough for you?  Yeah, I thought so.

But let’s climb the ladder all the way up to my recent test ride: a 2014 Sonata Limited 2.0T.  This is the top-drawer Sonata, and yet even it starts well below the $30K threshold with a starting price of $28,550.

Loaded?  Oh, my goodness, yes!

The short list of standard goodies includes leather seating surfaces, heated seats front and rear, rearview camera, blind spot-detection system, power sunroof, exterior mirror-mounted turn signal indicators and a full boat of audio excess.

And for the 2014 model year, the Sonata changed for the better.

Exterior sculpting tweaks give the car a more-aggressive and aerodynamic look, and the aforementioned list of comfort/convenience/safety features includes some new arrivals.  That means the Sonata can be had with more than it’s ever had before.

The four-cylinder turbo engine is a thrill-ride plus.  Besides a wonderfully racy exhaust note, my tester was quick out of the blocks and instantly responsive when making maneuvers during freeway commutes.  The Sonata tackled climbs and twisters with rock-solid ease.  I never felt like I was on the edge of control even when I was asking a lot of the car.

Despite the turbo jolt, fuel mileage comes in pretty fair at 21 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the open road.

The tester also came with Hyundai’s “Driver Selectable Steering Modes” system, which is a fancy way of saying that you have a choice or comfort, normal and sport modes to make your driving experience what you wish.

For some reason, I kept edging into the sport mode, which relentlessly put a smile on my face.

Look, I know other hugely popular midsize sedan offerings offer much of what the 2014 Sonata has, but frankly, Hyundai dishes up huge portions of perks for a price that often defies logic.  Oh, and you get Hyundai’s super warranties in the deal as well.

No wonder folks come back to me and say: “Hey, thanks for the tip on the Hyundai.  I had no idea I could get that much car for the money.”

No problem.  Now you know.


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