2011 Hyundai Sonata review by Sherrice Gilsbach

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is a solid family sedan that offers gorgeous exterior styling and impressive gas mileage, but it lacks expressive drive-feel and is low on the fun factor. For many folks, good looks, fair pricing and fantastic fuel economy might be all you need. That's all fine and good, but the Sonata's lack of a dynamic drive left me disappointed because I liked everything else about this sedan.

I loved looking at the Sonata; it was so smooth and glossy, and it reminded me of a polished gem. The interior was just as pretty and had the perfect combination of a little shimmer here and there without being tacky. I even felt an added sense of security when I sat down and pulled the heavy door shut. Then I hit the gas pedal and all my excitement dwindled. While the Sonata proved itself to be a well-built, good-looking and fuel-efficient car, it had zero personality when it came to drive-feel.

The Sonata took off slowly, stopped in plenty of time and offered so-so steering responsiveness. This five-seater has a choice of two four-cylinder engines: One makes 198 horsepower and the other boosts the ponies up by a count of two. Yep, it tops out at 200 hp. I've driven cars with less horsepower that provided a much more engaging and exciting driving experience.

To be fair, the Sonata succeeded in being a practical option for drivers who don't place a high value on fun-to-drive characteristics. A 274-hp, turbo four-cylinder Sonata is also available. The Sonata base model starts at $19,395. However, I was disappointed that my test car, a Sonata SE that has a starting MSRP of $22,795, had a much higher sticker price of $26,015, but didn't include a backup camera, leather upholstery or heated seats.

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