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Hyundai Sonata: Top of Midsize Sedans?

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Although the wheels are already in motion for a redesign with next year's model, the folks at Hyundai weren't satisfied resting on their laurels with the 2014 Hyundai Sonata.

This year's Sonata, a sleek and sophisticated midsize sedan, arrives with some changes from the 2013 model. Maybe that's why the Sonata still remains among the class leaders - Hyundai is always looking to improve.

One thing that that hasn't changed is the Sonata remains near the top in important areas like fuel economy, performance and overall features. And don't overlook a very important aspect - value.

2014 Hyundai Sonata

  • Performance: 2.4-liter, four cylinder, 190 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four cylinder, 274 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate range: 24-35 mpg
  • Price: $21,450 to $28,550
  • Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/unlimited; corrosion 7 years/unlimited

Two of the significant changes that are standard for the 2014 Sonata are a driver-selectable steering effort that offers a choice of being in Comfort, Normal or Sport mode. There's also a sport-tuned exhaust system, which is available only in the turbocharged SE 2.0. The only exterior change is a new grille.

The Sonata works on many levels, fitting the needs of a small family, single person who logs plenty of miles, and seniors who can't commit to anything smaller than a midsize vehicle.

While four or five years ago the Sonata couldn't hang with the class leaders, it was still a smart choice for folks who wanted to save money and loved the Hyundai drivetrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Following a redesign three years ago, the Sonata was not just in the conversation, literally overnight it became the conversation. It shot to the top in some people's estimation and the result was its rivals quickly went into redesign mode to make up for lost ground.

If the 2014 Hyundai Sonata isn't on top, it's not far from it. And that's saying a bunch considering its prime rivals are the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu and the Kia Optima, a cousin of the Sonata since Hyundai and Kia are so closely related.

The Sonata remains at an affordable price and still can be characterized as delivering a lot of bang for the buck. It's a sedan that provides strong performance with a choice of two good engines, gets solid gas mileage (24-35 mpg), offers top-notch safety, rides with comfort, and features a sizable list of standard features.

And one more thing about the Sonata - it has sharp stylish lines and looks good.

The standard Sonata is a 2.4-liter, four cylinder that producers 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. Teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission, it accelerates powerfully for a four cylinder, going 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds.

The alternative is the high performing turbocharged model, a 2.0-liter, four cylinder with 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The mileage is a little less (22-34 mpg), but this Sonata goes 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds.

Sonata drivers will feel confident behind the wheel for a number of reasons, including good maneuverability and braking capacity. The transmission gearshift is smooth and hardly noticeable, and the ride is mostly quiet.

There's also an interior comfort zone with the Sonata. The controls have been designed so they should almost immediately become intuitive and are also easy to reach. The gauges have an appealing design and the optional touchscreen navigation has a strong functionality.

The Sonata delivers comfort for both front and backseat occupants, featuring a roomingness that even taller folks can enjoy. Trunk space is better than average, but note that the opening is on the small side

Perhaps we've saved the best news for last: price. The Sonata has three trim models (GLS, SE, Limited) and its base starting price has gone up a little, but remains very affordable at $21, 450. The cost climbs gradually to a peak of approximately $28,550 for the Limited models.

No matter what trim model you chose, the Sonata offers lots of value for the price.


Weidel on Wheels author Jeffrey Weidel is an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region who has reviewed automobiles for more than two decades. He can be reached at skiweidel@gmail.com
Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.