Something truly remarkable, even
awe-inspiring, is happening at Hyundai. In 20 years in the American
market, the Korean company has gone from a provider of marginal quality
econoboxes to a producer of a range of appealing models, including a
large, handsome, powerful sedan known as the Sonata.
You could see it
coming. The 2004 Sonata got the J.D. Power and Associates ďMost
Appealing Entry Midsize CarĒ rating, and surprised everybody by also
grabbing kudos for highest initial quality in that category too. Now,
the 2006 Sonata is bigger and better, and thatís not just a sales pitch.
The new Sonata competes
with the class-leading midsize Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, among
others. But with 121.7 cubic feet of total interior space, the 2006
Sonata is now classified as a large car in the states. Hyundai added an
inch or two here and there to do it. Even trunk space is up to 16
percent to 16.3 cubic feet.
The new car is
completely redesigned and restyled, looking like a blend of popular
models. Thereís a bit of Accord in the rear, some Audi in the side view,
and plenty of Hyundai up front. Inside and out, the looks will please
many and offend no one. My Dark Cinnamon test car looked dignified and a
little sporty with its 16-inch alloy wheels.
The interior has the
same blend-of-winners look. Without anything tacky or ostentatious, the
gently curving, padded dashboard and doors evoke the aforementioned
Japanese leaders, but also offer a hint of Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Materials are very nice, fit-and-finish are tight, and even the
artificial wood wears an appropriate shade and gloss. Silvery needles in
the gauges look expensive. The matte silver trim is nicely done. The
climate control knobs move with precision and weight. Thereís even a
lined toll drawer, visors with pullout extensions, and pull-down grips
that return to there resting positions slowly. Much research and
homework were obviously done.
The newness doesnít
stop at the sheet metal and interior. You can choose from two new
engines, a 2.4-liter inline four rated at 162 horsepower and 164 lb.-ft.
of torque, or a 3.3-liter V6 that puts out 235 horsepower and 226
lb.-ft. of torque. The four comes standard in the base GL model and the
mid-level GLS model. The GLS also can be ordered with the V6, while the
LX top of the line model has the V6 as standard equipment, as well it
should. You can get a five-speed manual only in the four-cylinder cars.
Fuel economy numbers
for the four-cylinder GL with manual transmission are 24 City, 34
Highway. The V6 gets 20 City, 30 Highway. My V6-equipped tester averaged
My tester was a GLS
with V6, which is likely to be the most popular model. Every Sonata
comes with features buyers want, like power windows (with power up and
down for the driver), power locks (with alarmed keyless entry), and
power mirrors (heated). More amazing, even the base car comes with air
conditioning, cruise control, a complete audio system with MP3, and a
leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Most incredible of all
is the list of standard safety features on every Sonata, including
Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), and
Anti-lock Brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD). This
parade of lifesaving acronyms uses computer technology to keep you and
your family safe, and is normally not standard equipment on cars in this
market segment or price range. In case the high-tech systems canít
prevent a crash, you also get six standard airbags, front, side, and
front and rear side curtain.
Driving the Sonata is
as pleasant as you might expect. Itís very quiet inside, which adds to
the sense of high quality. GLS level upgrades include 16-inch alloy
wheels, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, trip computer, shinier
trim pieces, and more. The LX level brings in eight-way power heated
leather seats, automatic temperature control, 17-inch alloy wheels,
auto-dimming mirrors, and more.
The new Sonata rolls
out of a spanking new billion-dollar plus plant in Montgomery, Alabama.
Twenty-eight percent of the parts are U.S/Canadian in origin. Assembly
of imported cars in America has been around for decades, but this is new
for Hyundai. The company claims that this American-built Sonata was
specifically designed with the U.S. market in mind, and I can believe
My test car, with no
options, came to a mere $21,495. The GL starts at just $18,495, and the
LX lists at $23,495. These prices include freight and handling charges.
Any options will move these modest numbers higher, but with the Sonata,
options are things like sunroofs and subwoofers, not necessities.
Hyundai rolls on, with
newer and better cars every year. The luxury Azera sedan is just
arriving. Advice to competitors: Be afraid! By
Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Hyundai Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
new Sonata is bigger and better
2006 Hyundai Sonata
The 2006 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai Internet Media
2005 - 52
the Microsoft Word version here:
2006 Hyundai Sonata
Download the Original Image File here:
2006 Hyundai Sonata