EXTERIOR

The Sonata really is gorgeous. Its long, swoopy lines reminded me of a willowy runway model slithering down city streets.

Because it's a sedan it was easy for everyone in my family to get in and out of it. The cargo area was huge, and I had to bend and reach into it to get at those few items that slid to the back of the trunk. I supposed that's a little inconvenient, but I'd rather have more cargo room than not enough.

The Sonata SE has a 200-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four-cylinder engine. It gets an EPA-estimated 22/35 mpg city/highway and uses regular gas.

During my test week in the Sonata, it achieved the gas mileage of a much smaller vehicle — perhaps closer to a moped. This appears to have been Hyundai's goal: Provide a head-turning, luxurious-looking sedan that uses regular fuel and uses it sparingly. Score! I averaged 25.6 mpg, which as I type doesn't seem so astounding, but let me explain. We drove to the Sonata to Great Grandma's place and back without having to stop for gas. As my kids will tell you, Great Grandma's is a long trip. It's seriously over-the-river-and-through-the-woods distances to get to her place, which can be loosely translated to 90 minutes one way.

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