The Sonata, Hyundai's entry in the mid-size sedan category, has been redesigned for 2006. Slightly bigger than the outgoing model, the new Sonata offers a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder power as well as three trim levels (GL, GLS, and LX) that are well-appointed with comfort, convenience, and safety features.
The redesigned Sonata is a pedal-to-the-metal effort to get Korean automaker Hyundai on the consideration set list among mid-size sedan buyers. What sets the Sonata apart from the competition is the amount of content and features that are available for the price. Standard equipment includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, six air bags (including seat-mounted side air bags for the front row, and side curtain air bags front and rear), power windows/locks/mirrors, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo, cruise control, and remote keyless entry. Top-of-the-line LX models include leather seats (heated in front) and a climate control system that monitors air quality and automatically switches to recirculation mode as needed.
A pair of new engines power the new Sonata. GL and GLS models get a 2.4L DOHC 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing; its output of 162 hp and 164 lb.-ft. of torque is directed to the front wheels through a 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic transmission. GLS V6 and LX models get a 3.3L V-6 engine; like the 4-cylinder, it is a DOHC design that features variable timing for its 24 valves along with a variable intake system for a broader torque curve. Output is 235 hp and 226 lb.-ft. of torque, and the sole transmission choice is a 5-speed automatic with Shiftronic manual control.
For 2006, the Hyundai Sonata faces 19 other competitors in the Midsize Conventional segment, where interior space, quality, and reliability are of prime importance.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the sales leader in this segment for calendar year 2005 was the Toyota Camry, with 376,803 sales. It was followed by the Honda Accord (369,293), Nissan Altima (255,371), Chevrolet Malibu (245,861), and the outgoing Ford Taurus (196,919). The Sonata, with combined sales of 130,365 between the 2005 and new 2006 model, was next on the list. Other segment competitors with sales over 50,000 units in 2005 are the Pontiac G6, Buick LaCrosse, Subaru Legacy and Outback (combined), Chrysler Sebring (Sedan and Convertible combined), Dodge Stratus Sedan, and Mazda 6.
|GL (M5)||5 speed manual||$17,895||162-hp / 2.4L 4-cyl||24/34|
|GLS (A4)||4 speed automatic||$19,395||162-hp / 2.4L 4-cyl||24/33|
|GLS V6 (A5)||5 speed automatic||$20,895||235-hp / 3.3L 6-cyl||20/30|
|LX V6 (A5)||5 speed automatic||$22,895||235-hp / 3.3L 6-cyl||20/30|