Hyundai’s clearly on a roll. With a near embarrassment of debuts, including the Genesis, Genesis Coupe , Equus and all-new Sonata , the company’s star is rising – and so are its sales. And now here comes the Sonata we’ve all been waiting for: the turbocharged version. In introducing this new model, Hyundai may have outdone themselves, not to mention their competition, yet again. Not a company to rest on its laurels, Hyundai has added a lot more power and get-up-and-go to the recently redesigned model. For 2011, this Sonata replaces the typically larger engine with a turbocharged four-cylinder that produces more horsepower and better fuel economy than the six. The Turbo has all the right components to bring a bit of excitement to the mid-size sedan segment.
What's to Like
As with all the other 2011 Sonata models, a redesigned exterior and interior, improved fuel economy and a more luxurious look and feel are aces on the 2011. We love the new engine option too. Even at the base price, the Sonata comes with a large number of standard features. A retuned suspension creates a better drive as well. The 10-year/100,000-mile warranty is the best in the biz.
What's Not to Like
The engine, while fast, is a touch loud at highway speeds. The touch screen is also a little too small, and we find the navigation system a tad bit lackluster. We wish that a manual transmission were an option.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
While we liked the base 2011 Sonata when we drove it in late 2010 and we thought the 198 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque 2.4-liter did a nice job of motivating the car down the road, we like the Turbo model even more – 274 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque more, to be exact. With the new turbocharger, the Hyundai uses everything from last year’s bottom-up redesign and adds a measure of spirit to the already fun drivability of the Sonata. Now the Sonata feels more energetic, especially in its sporty SE 2.0T version, which, oddly enough, is the lower base model. We’re lamenting that lack of a manual transmission, but the automatic shifts smoothly and is geared well. The Sonata 2.0T drives like a car that costs a lot more than the sticker would suggest, but now faster!
Engine and Drivetrain
The Sonata 2.0T receives a newly refined engine that boasts more power and sophistication than the inline-four with which the Sonata was launched. With 274 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine has some neat features like twin-scroll turbocharging and direct injection to give the car both increased power and better fuel economy. The engine is mated to a slick six-speed automatic and a manual is not an option. As always, the Sonata is front-wheel drive.