Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The 2014 Hyundai Sonata comes in three different trim levels: GLS, SE and Limited. Base modes are powered by a 190-horsepower, 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. SE models get a standard dual exhaust and make 192 horsepower. This engine has direct fuel injection and variable valve timing, which help improve gas mileage and responsiveness in real-world driving.
Step up to the sporty SE model or the luxurious Limited, and a 274-horsepower, 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine becomes optional; it makes 269 pound-feet of torque and has the drivability and output of a V6 while maintaining 4-cylinder fuel efficiency (21 mpg city, 32 highway). Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control.
The Sonata also is available with a hybrid powertrain. Combining a 2.4L Atikinson cycle 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor with a lithium polymer battery, the Sonata Hybrid manages 40 mpg on the highway. It comes in base and Limited trim.
The Sonata is one of the best-riding mid-size sedans, with respectable handling. This year's new Driver Selectable Steering system allows drivers to adjust steering effort to their expectations and includes a Sport Mode that's tuned for curvy roads and higher-speed driving. All Sonatas include a 4-wheel independent suspension and while SE models have a somewhat sportier tune and tires to suite that, GLS and Limited models have low-rolling-resistance tires aimed at improving fuel efficiency.
Despite its curvaceous roofline, the Sonata excels in offering plenty of passenger space in front and in back. Three adults can sit across in the back seat, and with 16.4 cubic feet of trunk space (12.1 in the hybrid), there's more space for cargo than in most other cars in this class.
The Sonata includes all the safety features that are expected today in a mid-size sedan--like electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and side-curtain airbags. With the GLS Popular Equipment Package, or on all SE or Limited models, a rearview camera system and driver's blind spot mirror are now included. Also, Blind Spot Detection is now standard on the Limited, as well as part of the Premium Package.
Even at the base level, the Sonata comes with air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and power accessories. The sporty SE adds heated seats and a long list of appearance upgrades; while the Sonata Limited gets automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, and a sunroof, among many other extras.
GLS models include 6-speaker sound system with satellite-radio compatibility and iPod/USB inputs, while an upgraded system offers a 4.3-inch touch screen, HD Radio and a rearview camera. With the navigation system's upgrade and its 8-inch touch screen comes ten speakers and Dimension audio. And at the top, available in the Limited model, is an Infinity system with twelve speakers, a subwoofer and an external amp. On the latter system, you also get live weather stocks and sports data. BlueLink connectivity is included in all Sonatas, allowing subscription services to provide things like turn-by-turn navigation, automatic collision notification, and vehicle diagnostics, remote starting, a car finder and traffic information.