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2011 Hyundai Sonata

$4,582 — $12,814 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
27-29 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 6 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Stylish exterior
  • Impressive gas mileage
  • Large trunk
  • Ample interior room

The Bad

  • Some interior trim looks cheap
  • Roofline makes backseat feel cozy
2011 Hyundai Sonata exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2011 Hyundai Sonata
  • All-new exterior and interior design
  • High-efficiency four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual or automatic transmission

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. It competes with the Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry.

by David Thomas -

Hyundai's redesigned Sonata sedan has exploded onto the market to become one of the most popular cars available, period. It's the best example of how a good-looking product at a competitive price can lure customers — even with just one available powertrain: a four-cylinder engine wrapped in a package built for passenger comfort and fuel efficiency.

While that version is setting the sales world on fire, the company is rolling out a higher-performance trim level — a turbocharged four-cylinder, not a V-6, like nearly all the competition. That includes the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima ... basically every midsize body-type sedan.

By using a turbo engine, Hyundai has made the Sonata as much fun to drive as the competition, but it gets better mileage — and it’s cheaper.

Sounds like a winning formula to me.

Read the review for the standard four-cylinder equipped 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Performance

There's a lot to like about the turbo drivetrain, with its 274 horsepower and six-speed automatic transmission, but before I talk about power I should say that the Sonata 2.0T really shines because of its impressive handling. If there's one drawback to the base Hyundai Sonata, it’s that car's light steering, excessive body lean in corners and floaty ride. While that makes for a comfortable car, it also means the Sonata doesn't offer a sporty experience behind the wheel. There is an SE model with the base four-cylinder that's supposed to be more of ...

by David Thomas -

Hyundai's redesigned Sonata sedan has exploded onto the market to become one of the most popular cars available, period. It's the best example of how a good-looking product at a competitive price can lure customers — even with just one available powertrain: a four-cylinder engine wrapped in a package built for passenger comfort and fuel efficiency.

While that version is setting the sales world on fire, the company is rolling out a higher-performance trim level — a turbocharged four-cylinder, not a V-6, like nearly all the competition. That includes the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima ... basically every midsize body-type sedan.

By using a turbo engine, Hyundai has made the Sonata as much fun to drive as the competition, but it gets better mileage — and it’s cheaper.

Sounds like a winning formula to me.

Read the review for the standard four-cylinder equipped 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Performance

There's a lot to like about the turbo drivetrain, with its 274 horsepower and six-speed automatic transmission, but before I talk about power I should say that the Sonata 2.0T really shines because of its impressive handling. If there's one drawback to the base Hyundai Sonata, it’s that car's light steering, excessive body lean in corners and floaty ride. While that makes for a comfortable car, it also means the Sonata doesn't offer a sporty experience behind the wheel. There is an SE model with the base four-cylinder that's supposed to be more of a driver’s car, but it pales in comparison to the 2.0T. 

Turning the steering wheel of the 2.0T for the first time, I knew it was a different car. It was heavier, more like a Honda than a Hyundai, and at speed it delivered accurate inputs. The 2.0T carved through twisty mountain roads as well as any of the V-6 competition I've driven over the years, without much of a hit to ride quality. In fact, the firmer ride of the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T was immensely comfortable on most road surfaces, and certainly better than the Accord's and Mazda6's V-6 trims, by a wide margin.

Not many manufacturers outside the luxury realm offer turbocharged engines, but because of fuel economy regulations requiring higher mpg ratings, turbos are finding their way into economy body-type cars and, in Hyundai's case, midsize sedans.

Hyundai is using the turbocharger to emulate the experience of a V-6, so the power comes on at a steadier rate. There is some turbo boost that kicks in, though, especially when accelerating hard and using the manual function and shift paddles to change gears.

One of my few nitpicks with this new Hyundai Sonata is the paddle shifters themselves. They deliver accurate shifts, but the plastic feels cheap and hollow. They don't return a solid click when depressed, either. It's an oversight that should be addressed in the future.

Will driving enthusiasts opt for the turbo because of its higher horsepower figures? Probably not. But its handling will sway the folks who dismissed the base Hyundai Sonata for being too sedate. I still prefer the excellent V-6 engines offered by Honda, Mazda and even the Subaru Legacy over the Hyundai Sonata, but it’s by a slim margin. 

Shoppers may be swayed more by the impressive fuel economy numbers tacked on to the solid driving experience. At 22/33 mpg city/highway, it bests its V-6 competition by 3 to 7 highway mpg, and  Hyundai's numbers came on regular unleaded gas unlike some other turbo powerplants.

Exterior & Interior Styling

Save for the standard 18-inch alloy wheels and dual exhaust, there's not much inside or out that differentiates the 2.0T from the non-turbo Hyundai Sonata. I found the driver's seat comfortable, and materials throughout the cabin are high-quality. Read my review of the standard four-cylinder 2011 Sonata for more impressions on the styling and interior.

Prices & Features

There are only two trim levels for the 2.0T: SE and Limited. Pricing starts at $24,145 and $27,045, respectively. For the SE, that’s a $1,550 price difference over the base's 200-hp four-cylinder engine; the turbo Limited costs $1,750 more than the regular Limited.

Competitors like the Accord and Camry offer four-cylinder and V-6 options rather than turbocharged four-cylinders, and the V-6s aren’t cheap. The 2011 Toyota Camry LE V6 starts at $24,890, which is $3,715 more than the four-cylinder LE, at $21,175.

The SE comes standard with fog lights, 18-inch wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, USB, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, audio controls and cruise control.

Limited trims add a sunroof, heated front and rear leather seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded sound system.

A navigation package is an additional $2,100 on the Limited. A navigation and sunroof package is an additional $2,600 on the SE.

Safety

The Hyundai Sonata is one of only two cars on the market to have received both a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star overall safety rating from the federal government using its latest crash-test procedures. Read more about the government's new tests here.

Sonata 2.0T in the Market

Base, four-cylinder midsize sedans make up the bulk of sedan sales for all automakers today, as buyers are shopping on value more than performance in this segment. Hyundai has already found success in bringing a lot of value to that slice of the pie, and now the company is somehow also delivering similar value to those who want a scoop of performance with their slice.

Send David an email  

 

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
274 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

98K miles 3 problems

by Lonnie from Texas from Winnie,Texas on November 14, 2018

Finish on steering wheel,worn in 40K miles. Electronic steering,quickly repaired by dealer,at present starter lever broken,repairing myself at 98K miles. All considered,the best auto I ever owned. ... Read full review

(5.0)

Best car I ever owned!

by NEIL from PHILADELPHIA, PA on November 8, 2018

Purchased from dealer as a certified used car. Always PERFORMED EXCELLENT! Cried when the engine blew at 65,000. No worries Hyundai had a recall so now it has a 120,000 warranty. In the process of ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata currently has 13 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Hyundai

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Newer than 5 model years/less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    5 years/60,000 miles (from remainder of original)

  • Powertrain

    10 years/100,000 miles and 10 years/100,000 miles for hybrid/electric vechicle batteries.

  • Dealer Certification Required

    150-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Sonata received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker