Does anyone still make mid-sized family sedans? Haven’t they all been cancelled — in favor of crossovers?
Most of them, yes. Including — most recently — the Mazda6 sedan, which Mazda recently announced it won’t be selling anymore after the end of this model year.
But there are still a few.
One of the remaining not-quite-last-of-the-Mohicans being the 2022 Hyundai Sonata.
What It Is
The Sonata is Hyundai’s mid-sized family sedan. It competes with the handful of still-available similar sedans made by Toyota (Camry), Honda (Accord) and Nissan (Altima), as well as its Kia-badged cousin, the K5, which isn’t just a reskinned and rebadged Sonata (or the reverse). The K5 comes standard with the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that’s optional in the Sonata — and it is available with AWD — while all Sonata trims are front-wheel-drive.
Prices start at $24,150 for the base SE trim, which comes with a larger (than the Kia’s standard) 2.5-liter engine without a turbo — paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The SEL Plus trim gets a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, plus upgraded amenities such as a one-speaker Bose premium audio system, simulated leather seating and a 19-inch wheel/tire package.
The top-of-the-line N-Line gets a turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine that musters 290 horsepower paired with a quicker-shifting, eight-speed dual clutch automatic, more aggressively tuned suspension, sport wheel/tire package and N-Line cosmetic upgrades.
This one stickers for $34,750.
SEL trims now include the options bundled under the previously optional Tech Package as part of their roster of standard equipment.
Tremendous front seat legroom (46.1 inches).
Three engines to pick from.
Full-size trunk, mid-sized car.
What’s Not So Good
Kia cousin costs less, is available with AWD.
No V6 engine.
Big trunk is still a small space relative to the room for stuff available in a same-sized crossover.
Under The Hood
The Sonata’s standard 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine is large enough to not need a turbo to make adequate power — 190 horsepower. This engine, which is paired with an eight-speed automatic also delivers excellent fuel economy, 28 MPG in city driving and 38 on the highway.
For the buyer who wants a turbo — and the low-end boost you get when you turbocharge an engine — the Sonata is also available with a 1.6-liter four that makes up for its small size with … a turbocharger. It boosts the horsepower to 180 — a bit less than the 2.5-liter engine makes, but it increases the torque output to 195 ft.-lbs. (from the 2.5’s 181 ft.-lbs.) and makes it almost immediately, at 1,500 RPM. This results in more authoritative — and easier-feeling — acceleration from a dead stop and with less pressure on the gas pedal.
For more boost — and power — there is the turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine that comes in the N-Line. It combines the displacement advantage of the 2.5-liter engine with the horsepower (and torque) enhancement of a turbo, to make 290 hp and 311 ft.-lbs. of torque.
Equipped with this engine, the Sonata’s mileage dips to 23 city, 33 highway — but so does the 0-60 time, which goes down to just over five seconds, a speedy time for the class.
On The Road
Multiple engines — with different personalities — is a Sonata-specific virtue. The base 2.5 engine is for the driver who doesn’t mind digging a little deeper to summon its power, of which there is plenty. But you do have to push down on the gas pedal — and harder — to get that power.
The 1.6-turbo engine is the more relaxed engine. With this engine, one hardly ever needs to swing the tachometer needle past 3,500 RPM. It will accelerate the Sonata just as well as the 2.5 engine but with much less apparent effort and that is its chief virtue.
The N-Line’s turbocharged engines combines the easygoing low-end characteristics of the 1.6 engine with the high-RPM power of a larger V6 engine.
At The Curb
The Sonata’s standout feature isn’t its appearance. It is its roominess. This mid-sized sedan has the roomiest front seats you’ll find in anything, car or crossover — that isn’t a Kia.
I had to double check the specs — 46.1 inches of front seat legroom – and then try it out, myself. And what I found is that a 6-foot-3-inch man (me) can just barely toe-touch the pedals with the driver’s seat extended all the way back.
That is roomy.
The trunk is also large — for a car. The Sonata’s 16 cubic-footer is larger than the Camry’s 15.1 cubic footer – though not quite as large as the current Honda Accord’s class-leading 16.7 cubic footer. And the Accord has about four inches less legroom up front (42.3 inches) as well as offering only two engines.
The Hyundai Sonata is kin to the Kia K5, but each offers different mechanicals as well as a different appearance and a different price structure. For that reason, the Sonata will appeal to certain people while the K5 will appeal to others, for different reasons.
The Bottom Line
Whether Hyundai — or Kia — it’s nice to see these cars still hanging around!
(SET IMAGE) epe082421adAP.jpg (END IMAGE) (SET CAPTION) View the Hyundai Sonata this week. (END CAPTION)
To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com. Eric’s latest book, “Don’t Get Taken for a Ride!” is available now.
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Last Updated: Monday, Aug 23, 2021 12:14:50 -0700