2008 Sonata New Car Test Drive
Hyundai has introduced more four-cylinder versions of its midsize Sonata sedan in response to concern about high gas prices. For 2008, all Hyundai Sonata models, not just the base version, are available with an economical four-cylinder engine that rates an EPA-estimated 30 mpg Highway.
The Hyundai Sonata is a four-door, five passenger sedan priced at the low end of the mid-size market, where it competes primarily against the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Optima, and Ford Fusion.
Yet, the Sonata has enough interior room to meet the EPA's definition of a large car. That means it's roomier in almost every dimension than most of its mid-size competitors, with a full-size edge in creature comfort.
For enhanced safety, the Sonata comes standard with electronic stability control, and it has earned the federal government's top five-star crash-test rating for front and side impacts.
For 2008, the sporty SE has been upgraded with high-performance tires, a decklid spoiler, and an eight-way power driver's seat. The 2008 Sonata Limited model comes standard with the super-deluxe stereo that was optional last year. And XM Satellite Radio comes standard on all 2008 models. Otherwise, Sonata is not significantly changed since it was totally redesigned for 2006.
The 2008 Hyundai Sonata comes in three trim levels. A 162-horsepower four-cylinder engine comes standard, a 234-hp V6 is optional. The four-cylinder is available with a five-speed manual or a four-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission. The V6 comes with a five-speed Shiftronic automatic.
Sonata GLS ($17,670) is the base model. It comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, power heated outside mirrors, power windows, central locking with keyless remote, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, XM Satellite Radio, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, 60/40 folding rear seat, and 215/60R16 tires on 16-inch steel wheels. The four-cylinder automatic ($18,870) and V6 automatic ($21,120) are similarly equipped.
The Popular Equipment Package ($650) adds automatic headlights, chrome window belt moldings, upgraded interior accents, power driver seat with adjustable lumbar support, steering wheel audio controls and a trip computer. The same package is available with a power tilt-and-slide sunroof ($1,550).
Sonata SE ($19,570) comes with larger disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels fitted with 215/55R17 all season performance tires, eight-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, leather-wrapped shift knob, tilt-and-telescope leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, solar-control glass, fog lights, automatic headlights, chrome window belt moldings, and a trip computer. The four-cylinder SE only comes with the manual transmission; the SE V6 ($22,220) comes with the automatic.
The Premium Package ($1,650) for either SE adds an Infinity AM/FM/XM/6CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, subwoofer and component amplifier; power tilt-and-slide sunroof; and an electrochromic auto-dimming rear view mirror with HomeLink and a compass.
The Limited ($22,470) features leather seating surfaces, eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, automatic climate control with filtration, electrochromic auto-dimming rear view mirror with HomeLink and compass, telescoping steering wheel, and a sliding center armrest. A chrome center-bar grille, chrome-accented exterior door handles, and new aluminum bodyside moldings identify Limited from the outside. Wheels and tires are the same size as those on the SE, but use a different tread pattern. For 2008, the Infinity AM/FM/XM/6CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, subwoofer and component amplifier is also standard. The Limited V6 ($24,170) is similarly equipped. A power tilt-and-slide sunroof ($900) is optional.
Safety features on all Sonatas include the mandatory dual-stage front-seat airbags; front-seat side-impact airbags for torso protection; and full-coverage side curtain airbags designed to provide head protection. Antilock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with traction control also come standard, as does a tire-pressure monitor.