Hyundai won't be giving the American automotive media its first crack at driving their new 2011 Sonata until next week. However, new Sonatas have apparently already started rolling off the trucks into Hyundai dealers across the country. Unlike the rest of the media horde (Autoblog included), when the folks at Consumer Reports want to test a new vehicle, they actually go out and buy one.
Such was the case last week when they purchased one of the first examples of Hyundai's stylish new mid-sizer. CR tested a base GLS model Sonata and felt that while it does handle better than the 2009 equivalent, it still isn't quite up to the standard of the sportiest examples in the segment including the Ford Fusion and Mazda6. There is, however, a more aggressive SE model which CR hasn't tried out yet, so this might not be a truly apples-to-apples comparison.
CR's testers did feel the interior was an improvement over the outgoing model with higher quality materials and a particularly roomy rear seat. We'll have our own first hand impressions by the end of next week.