Having undergone a complete makeover for 2006, the 2007 Hyundai Sonata adds a new trim line: four-cylinder models, previously available only in base GL trim, can now also be ordered in upper-line GLS trim.
Other changes include a new chrome centre grille bar on the GLS, a seek/track button added to the wheel-mounted audio controls, and new black leather interior; the trunk-mounted 12V power outlet is gone; Dark Cinnamon and Aquamarine exterior colours have been discontinued, while Dark Red and Bright Silver have been added; and metallic paint shades are now no-charge, instead of the previous $125. As well, all engines now meet Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (LEV-II ULEV) standards.
Previously, the new-generation four-cylinder models were produced in South Korea, while six-cylinder models were made at the company’s facility in Montgomery, Alabama; for 2007, production of all models is now in the U.S. factory.
The Sonata comes with a choice of two engines, a 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder, and a 3.3-litre V6. The GL uses a five-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a four-speed automatic that’s used exclusively in the four-cylinder GLS, while V6 models use a five-speed automatic. Both transmissions have Shiftronic manual mode.
The four-cylinder GL includes six airbags, air conditioning, keyless entry with alarm, cruise control, power locks and windows, power heated mirrors, 16-inch steel wheels, windshield de-icer, active headrests, CD/MP3 player and leather-wrapped wheel.
The new GLS four-cylinder adds anti-lock brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, heated leather seats, automatic climate control, telescopic wheel with audio controls, chrome exterior accents and trip computer.
The V6 GL includes anti-lock brakes, fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, telescopic wheel with audio controls and solar control glass.
The V6 GLS adds power sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats, power driver’s seat, woodgrain interior trim and sliding centre armrest. Available options include ESP with traction control, adjustable pedals, automatic climate control, auto-dimming mirror and garage door opener.
The Sonata is a good vehicle at a reasonable price; it’s tight and responsive, and unlike many midsize sedans, its four-cylinder powerplant is up to the task of moving it around, with brisk acceleration and quiet performance. It’s made even better by the fact that you can now get the four-cylinder with the upscale features.
The uncluttered styling borrows heavily from other manufacturers and it’s pleasant if not outstanding. The Sonata is huge inside, so much so that Hyundai says the U.S. government classifies it as a large sedan; its interior volume is only 62 litres (2.2 cu. ft.) less than a full-size Chrysler 300. The next step up is the Azera, but consider the Sonata first; with its features, performance and price, it may be well be the better deal.