Hyundai Sonata 2011 launched in the UAE

Hyundai Sonata 2011 launched in the UAE

The swoopy new 2011 Hyundai Sonata was officially launched in the UAE, at a launch party in Dubai. The launch comes four months after the model was shown off at the 2009 Dubai Motor Show, and two months after a media driving event in Oman that we weren’t invited to.

The front-wheel-drive 2011 Sonata is new from the ground up, being longer and wider than before, as well as lower to accommodate that intense “four-door coupe” profile. While we always thought that the car is over-stylised, it looks phenomenal in person, looking more premium than anything else in the segment.

The big bombshell came in terms of the engines on offer. Instead of the impressive 200 hp 2.4-litre 4-cylinder motor with direct injection offered in the U.S. version, the GCC market will receive two engines, one a 176 hp 2.4-litre 4-cylinder, and later on, a 163 hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, with available 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions. It looks like the UAE will initially only get the 2.4-litre with an automatic, which is competitive in its class, but not class-leading. But in true Hyundai fashion, there’s something for everyone in the range.

For the cheapskates, 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. It also gains 17-inch alloy wheels and ABS to go with that all-important single driver-side airbag.

The fully-optioned model is loaded though, 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 and finally, stability control and six airbags. This would be the only version we’d recommend.

In the press release, there is some mention of “standard” six airbags, hill-start assist, brake assist and even rear heated seats, but we don’t see these listed in the official UAE dealer website.

Our first impressions of the cabin were favourable. The soft-touch and leather bits are excellent in terms of material quality. However, due to the complicated cabin design, some of the hard-plastic bits on the doors extend up to the upper door sills, which kills the premium feel. Also, the dashboard dome over the gauges is hard-plastic. The rest of the plastics are within class standards. Headroom front as well as rear is surprisingly good, although rear legroom is about average. The luggage trunk is enormous. And build quality is flawless.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata starts at Dhs 67,900 in the UAE, likely the 2.4-litre with automatic. It should also be available in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries shortly. Photos by Faisal Khatib.

Keep track of specs and prices in the Hyundai Sonata buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. The Sonata is already available in Saudi, it’s been here for over a month.

  2. Superb interior. First time I’ve seen the car in red. looks cool. pity about the engines – expected though.

  3. wow red with that matchin interior looks awesome….better to compare this car with passat CC than comparing it with alti cam acco….

  4. Man I am disappointed… I thought they are going to offer the turbo engines here 🙁 …. 2.0 i4 274hp has flied away 🙁
    only 2.4 i4 178 hp(I just came back from hyundai abu-dhabi)

    number 2 has:
    1-curise control
    2-sun roof + panorama
    3-17 inch rings
    4-CD-Mp3-USB ( can be controlled from the 5-steering wheel)
    5-Trip computer
    6- 6-speed automatic
    7-rear AC
    + ABS + APS(dynamic control)
    all that for DHS 73900

    number 1 has:
    all the things above
    1- xenon
    2- memory for driver seat
    3- leather seats
    4- GPS + blue tooth
    5- mirrors can be fold electronically
    all for DHS 92900

  5. One more thing… for the number one (18 inch rings) + more electronically adjustable seat for the driver

  6. Author

    ^ Thanks, that helps. No mention of airbags, eh? hehe.

  7. 94000 Dhs is a bit expensive for the top model. The car has 2.4L 4cylinder modest engine.

    Can’t we get the Accord V6 leather for around 100,000?? Or am I wrong!

    This Sonata is expensive, also the base model prices are close to the Accord and Camry base models; not a big difference any more!

    This Korean car will depend on its looks and not on its competitive price any more.

    Nice car; will be interested to see the test drive results. MASH are you going to try it out?

  8. Author

    ^ Last I heard, even a full-options 4-cylinder Accord costs more than 100k now. Test drive, unlikely I’ll get before the magazines, so I didn’t ask for one.

  9. looking at the car, imagining the nightmares of pressing those “fluidic” creases into the hood’s and doors’ sheet metal.

  10. I wonder how much does a top range Camry cost? SE badge. 90k plus for top Sonata is asking a bit too much. They need to ease up on the price for new Hyundai customers to consider it. Sure they got some extra goodies like the xenon, memory and leather seats. But still, they gotta price it with a max of 80K DHS.

  11. yeh … but the new sonata have panorama… nothing the same in Camry or Altima.. nether accord… and still cheap with all that quality and options… but Hyundai are so stupid to offer a car with 2.4 engine for 94K and another car (Azera)with 3.3 engine for 90K… even if it’s newer and have panorama… but it will makes buyer to think twice if they want to buy Korean car…But any way i’dd like to test this beauty, i use to have Hyundai and i like it…

  12. I think they should target Taxi owners to promote and prove the reliabilty of this car.

  13. Taxis are ruining the image of Altima,Camry,Sonata…
    nice looks, ppl who like it will go for it, wont care if its more expensive than accord or altima or camry !!

  14. hey guys stop comparing this car with accord camry and altima…like i said earlier from the looks and options it should be compared to more expensive mid size european cars like passat…then surely this car is much cheaper…i think its high time ppl change their attitude…

  15. ^ true. I’m quiet surprised they even were able to keep the price here with the complex creases on the body, tight interior panels, solar glass in the sunroof, 6 speed auto and the engines used here have a timing chain instead of belt.
    The use of timing chain instead of belt might lower the long term maintenance costs as chains last longer.

  16. @ Zao & BJD – This car comes in the segment of mid size sedan so theres no harm done when your comparing this against the Camry, Accord, Altima or even the Passat.
    The Sonata might have all the options featured in an European vehicle but its not European, its Asian.

  17. …. but definetly need to give credit to Hyundai, they are improving tech and build with every new car they roll out.

  18. It seems that the trend is to increase the price with every new model.
    So when the new Camry, Altima or Accord models arrive I suspect these will be priced higher than this one as well.

    Any way, as Asad said this is a mid size sedan and to be compared with the Camry, Accord etc..

    I don’t know about this car yet, but Toyota, Honda and Nissan cars have better quality than the Korean cars. No one can argue with this yet!!

    It is not a Luxury Sedan from Europe so can’t be compared to Mercedes E, BMW 5, Audi A6, Passat, or even Opel Insignia. Those cars have a different built quality and more advance technology.

    The engine offered for the top model is weak and therefore the top model is over priced.

    I am sure the car will be sold cheaper in the States!

  19. ^ yea it may be cheaper in US since the sonata sold there is assembled there too. Everywhere other than US, it comes from South Korea.
    And the price just HAS to increase when there are more features and increased complexity. And price isnt solely dependent on engine size.
    Anyway, Already spotted one on the road. Although it was fridge-white, but its high gloss and the dark tint provided good contrast and it looked pretty good. However, the chrome grille dint quiet match with white. I imagine it will look majestic in Black. Hyundai claims the paint quality is better than a Merc C-class’ paint. wonder if that means more glossy…

  20. The exteriors, an attempt to imitate the VW CC, the interiors like their own Genesis. The execution I think is quite confused on the outside and the interiors are much to be desired.

    As far as pricing, they’re attempting now, in earnest, to come out of the self-imposed, “less than Japanese models” cluster, don’t know how much the public will accept that. They’ve been trying for the same in the Genesis and the Equus (or something like that), but to my knowledge still not out of it yet.

    I think probably Hyundai will have to adopt what Honda, Toyota and Nissan has been doing, with Acura, Lexus and Infiniti (respectively), to really break out of the mould(as it seems unbreakable, better to create another mould).

    I’ve heard that Hyundai has reaped the most benefits from the Toyota debacle, in the US, wonder if its similar in here…anyone with any info on the same.

    Hyundai, to offer premium products, I think would really have to start their own premium brand, where the customers can leave the memories of Hyundai in the rear-view mirror, but till then, they’re gambling with high stakes with such expensive models.

    Cheers….Want to come for the meet on Friday, invites anyone??

  21. how much this plzz ?

  22. Wait so how much does the full option sonata cost?

  23. Well..Mazda6 Ultra in this class is much better Sonata!!

  24. ^ cant compare it with the ultra… The mazda6 ultra is a power saloon with a big engine and sporty performance… The sonata is a budget saloon for those looking for something cheap to own and run yet looks as good as the competitors cars..

  25. @ Hassan.. I dont really care about a hi-tech options and impressive build quality when buying a budget car like this Hyundai sonata.. It achieves quality standards to a minimum and they are reliable and practical, from my experiences… Maybe not like nissan and toyota but did you see how toyota went backwards in build quality when it comes to the new camry?? thats one point.. Another point is im paying cheaper in a hyundai so why would i regret? Its definitely more reliable than and much more genuine than dodge and other american carmakers that still shamelessly use rubbish hard plastics in their cabins…

  26. Hi Guys,

    I am big fan of this new Sonata 2011 model. really value for money. But a little confused to make decision of buying it. From last 3 months i have seen only 2 Sonata on road. Whereas my daily travel is around 300 km from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

    So all suggestion are welcomed for the selection between Sonata 2011 / Malibu / Altima. Resale is not my concern, running cost and fuel economy is most concerned element for me.

    Thanks for your suggestions….

  27. does the base model 2011 4 cyl’ have a timing belt OR chain /??? thanks. email [email protected]

  28. 2011 sonata

  29. ^ The 2.4 theta engine has a chain. not sure about the 2.0L

  30. I’m really confused now guys. I was quoted 68500aed and that was with extra’s like insurance and maintenance for 3 years and something else…I wanted a mid-size car with a decent price tag and don’t care about resale cuz I’m going to use it up here before I go back to America. I need good gas mileage and don’t care about a fancy engine,so what do you suggest guys…just a good smooth ride from Dibba to Fujairah 4 times a week. And does that 2.0 have a timing chain or a belt and if I’m only going to have it for 4 years does it matter?

  31. *** the quote was on the 2011 SONATA, basic I think 68500 dhs. and thanks to the guy that test drove and added the options here , good looking out Sir!!

  32. Guys please click on the below link for comparision between Sonata, Accord & Mazda, i recently bought a Sonata 2011 mid option and trust me that beauty is worth it…Highly recommended please opt for Sonata 2011…its a tried and tested beauty..

  33. I am kind of confused; the Sonata looks great and has the best fuel economy figures for a 2.4l
    It has also received good reviews in the US; however they are very rare in the UAE , a lot like the 2010 Murano, I see once maybe once a week.

  34. Sales seem to be picking up. Last week only 2 full options models were left. Or maybe most of the people are buying the full options. Salesman says they will hike the price when new batch arrives.

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