January 9, 2014
2014 Hyundai Sonata GLS. Click image to enlarge
Stop me if you’ve heard this.
A new mid-size family sedan bursts on the scene. It’s sexy. It’s quick. The interior makes you say “Wow”. It gets stellar fuel economy.
For while it’s king. It basks in the warm glow of media accolades and consumer love.
“They like me. They really like me.”
Then it all goes south when the next “latest and greatest” sedan comes along. And then another. Then another. Oh great. Now it’s the friggin’ Mazda6.
Hyundai Sonata, we feel your pain.
Okay. It’s not really that much of a tragic tale, as Hyundai moved approximately 15,000 Sonatas in Canada for 2013. By comparison, the Ford Fusion logged about 20,000, with the Honda Accord nipping at the Toyota Camry’s heels at around the 18,000 mark.
So yes indeed, Hyundai’s mid-size family sedan with its class-leading 190 hp from the base 2.4L direct-injection four, slick styling, expected Korean value and good fuel economy still resonates with consumers.
Now into it’s fourth year, the Sonata gets a gentle refresh that sees a new grill, new 17-inch and 18-inch alloys and some slick Audi-esque LED taillights featuring a continuous loop of illumination.
The Sonata has always been a fetching sedan – the first mainstream vehicle to adopt the “four door coupe” look pioneered by the Mercedes CLS. So these 2014 tweaks are more lipstick than plastic surgery.
Inside is where the Sonata is starting to show its age. Despite the new-for-2014 4.3-inch touchscreen and rearview camera in this SE, the cabin looks a bit cheap compared to some newer offerings.
Manufacturers have considerably upped the quality of trims, plastics and displays in this segment over the past few years. That said, I found the seats comfortable and the ergonomics very good. Three big rotary knobs for HVAC. Thank you. Large and clearly marked buttons flanking the touchscreen showing easy-to-hit radio presets. Merci. Rotary volume and tuning knobs. Grazie.
Additionally, the low cowl and belt line make for excellent forward visibility.
Another area where the game has moved on in this segment is back seat accommodation. Compared to the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Mazda6, the Sonata’s rear quarters feel pinched, especially when it comes to headroom.
The 2014 Hyundai Sonata starts at $23,999 for the base GL with six-speed automatic, Bluetooth, USB, heated front seats and 16-inch alloys.
Next rung up the price ladder is this $25,999 GLS that adds sunroof, rear-view camera, upgraded audio with 4.3-inch touchscreen, leather wrapped wheel and shift knob, upgraded audio, heated rear seats, fog lights, powered driver’s seat with lumbar and windshield wiper deicer. That’s a whack of value for your two grand.
The GL and GLS account for the majority of Sonata sales.
Subsequent trims – the $27,999 SE (with sport-tuned suspension) and $31,399 Limited with Navigation – layer on appropriate levels of goodies.
The $34,199 Sonata 2.0T Limited with Ultimate Package nets the robust 274 hp 269 lb-ft turbo four, ventilated seats, HID headlights, sport tuned exhaust and “supervision” gauges.