Base-model safety, some hard-plastic upper-cabin bits, lacks powerful engine choices
Hyundai has upped the game considerably in the midsize car market. Apparently taking four years to develop, the fruit of that labour is the new-for-2011 Hyundai Sonata. It takes on a 'four-door coupe' profile but without the impracticality or high price. The GCC market will receive two economy-biased engines, mainly a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder, with some countries receiving a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder. Both are available with 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions, though some countries will only get a standard automatic with paddle-shifters. The base model comes with power steering, power windows, manual a/c with rear cooling ducts, automatic headlights, paddle shifters, power mirrors with indicators, fog lamps, leatherette-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, CD/MP3 stereo with 6 speakers, USB and AUX ports with iPod cable, steering wheel buttons, 16-inch steel wheels and a single airbag. The mid-range model gains a panoramic glass roof, with automatic rolling cloth roof-shades, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels and ABS. The fully-optioned model is loaded with intelligent keyless entry with start button, power-folding mirrors, HID headlights, chrome door handles, automatic a/c, rear parking sensors, overhead 'map' lights up front, excellent leather upholstery, driver’s power-adjusted seat, trip computer, slightly-tinted glass, 6-CD changer, 'amplitude selective' dampers, 18-inch alloys, navigation, Bluetooth, six airbags, and stability control with hill-start assist and brake assist. Indeed, Hyundai is now offering proper safety features for those willing to pay for it.