Sunday, November 14, 2010
2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo is the perfect
Hyundai is saying goodbye to the six-cylinder Sonata. For context, the 2010 Sonata's 3.3-liter V-6 put out 249 horsepower at 6000, 229 pound-feet at 4500, and 19/29 mpg, while the 2011 Toyota Camry's stout 3.5-liter six delivers 269 horsepower at 6200, 248 pound-feet at 4700, and 19/28 mpg. Just as notable is the 2.0T's overall weight savings compared to the aforementioned six-cylinder cars -- both the 2010 Sonata V-6 and 2011 Camry SE V-6 weigh around 3500 pounds, meaning the 2011 Sonata 2.0T tips the scales with as much as 150 fewer pounds.
Being free of that unnecessary weight helps the Sonata 2.0T produce not only its frugal fuel-econ figures (not even the 2950-pound, 2.0-liter Honda Civic Si sedan, at 21/29 mpg, can match them) but also brisk acceleration times.
The Sonata's mill utilizes the same aluminum block as the Genesis Coupe's 2.0-liter turbo, but boasts reinforced pistons and connecting rods, a new cylinder head (for the direct injection), a slightly higher compression ratio (9.5:1 vs. 9.4:1), a twin-scroll rather than single-scroll turbo, and, most notable, a compact balance shaft module that vastly improves engine NVH, especially with the pedal to the metal.
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is a hit, no doubt. Which brings us to the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T. You'll need to understand it's a turbo, because there aren't any turbo badges on the prototypes I drove last month at Hyundai's engineering facility west of Seoul. Hyundai says it's simple: "turbo" equals "sportscar," and they're looking at all the additional power more as a six-cylinder alternative, a more mainstream offering than a sporty turbo model might otherwise be.
In the Sonata, the turbocharging is grafted on to a similar engine to the one powering the base Sonata. It's downsized from 2.4 liters to 2.0 liters, but with the injection of forced air from a twin-scroll turbocharger (which pressurizes cylinders more effectively than a singe-scroll unit) and with direct injection of gasoline into the cylinders without spark plugs, the Sonata 2.0T provides a 274-horsepower rush. By the numbers, the Sonata 2.0T sounds ideal-but what's it like to drive?
The base Hyundai Sonata is a fine automobile and we find it to be one of the best midsize sedans on the market. The new 2011 Hyundai Sonata Turbo is the perfect example of this new trend. From the exterior, there’s little difference in the styling of the Sonata 2.0T and the base versions, besides the badges. With the car’s unique design and curvaceous body, Hyundai has managed to make a large car look small. Well done, Hyundai.
You’ll never mistake this vehicle for anything else.
Mitsubishi built the manifold and it can actually take more that what the Sonata Turbo has to give. All in all, after all this testing, the new Hyundai Sonata could earn a Chronometer certification (for those watch lovers out there).
Hyundai has managed to keep the compression ratio down to allow drivers to use regular fuel. Fuel economy numbers are 23 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway. Yet, if mileage is what you’re after, the Sonata Turbo comes with a Active Eco button that will keep fuel consumption down, or you can just get the Sonata Hybrid that we will be reviewing later.
Hyundai has attached a six-speed automatic to the turbo engine, the same gearbox that is on the base version. It’s a shame that Hyundai won’t offer the Sonata 2.0T with a manual gearbox because it would make the car that much better.
On the road, the Sonata Turbo retains the wonderful driving dynamics of the base versions. All in all, aside from the Nissan Altima SR, the Sonata 2.0T has to be one of the best driving midsize sedans on the market.
The four-cylinder turbocharged motor provides plenty of power to keep dads happy while taking the kids to school. If you’re looking for a vehicle with plenty of room with some power under the bonnet, the "Hyundai Sonata Turbo" is just about the best bet you can have.
We found ourselves walking away from the 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T with utter delight.