2010 Hyundai Sonata Review and Prices
The Hyundai Sonata is the right car for you if trading a bit of engineering refinement for a boatload of features is your idea of a good midsize-sedan deal.
Chances are very strong that the 2010 Hyundai Sonata is the final edition of a Sonata design generation that debuted for model-year 2006, was freshened for 2009, and will be completely new for 2011. If a redesign is in the cards for 2011, Hyundai dealers will be eager to clear out remaining 2010s, so deals should be attractive, but you’ll be buying a Sonata that won’t look or feel as modern as the 2011 model.
Rule of thumb: V-6 Hyundai Sonatas are generally priced on par with four-cylinder versions of rivals such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Chevrolet Malibu. That was a selling point before gas prices skyrocketed. Four-cylinder Sonatas don’t have much of a price advantage over their direct rivals, and with four-cylinder engines in demand, Sonata’s price edge doesn’t look quite as sharp.
2010 Hyundai Sonata Changes back to top
Styling: No alteration is likely for 2010, considering the revamp Hyundai gave the 2009 Sonata. New for 2009 were the headlights, grille and front-bumper shape, the taillamps, and wheel design. More extensive, and more successful, were changes to Sonata’s cabin. A reshaped instrument panel included new audio and climate controls, the center console was replaced, and materials upgraded. Sonata’s cabin, already among the roomiest in the class, is now one of the most eye-catching.
Mechanical: The 2010 Sonata will stick with the 2009 model’s choice of a 175-horsepower four-cylinder engine or a 249-horsepower V-6. Both were fortified with slightly more muscle for 2009. They get the job done, but neither is distinguished for power or smoothness. Similarly, Sonata’s suspension was recalibrated for better handling, but this sedan still suffers a heavy, wobbly, clunky feel in anything more than the gentlest maneuvers.
Features: Hyundai may fall short here and there on mechanical sophistication, but the South Korean automaker doesn’t skimp on standard features for which many rivals charge extra. That won’t change for 2010, and means such important items as four-wheel antilock disc brakes and an antiskid system are standard on every Sonata. So are amenities like cruise control, heated power mirrors, illuminated visor mirrors, split folding rear seatbacks, and digital audio USB and mini-jack inputs. The base-model Sonata could use a steering column that telescopes as well as tilts, but that’ll have to wait for the 2011 redesign.
2010 Hyundai Sonata Prices back to top
Sonata has traditionally offered three trim levels: base GLS, sporty SE, and leather-upholstered top-line Limited. All are available with the four-cylinder or V6 engine; automatic transmission is standard on V-6 versions.
Expect 2010 prices to differ little from 2009, which means the GLS should start around $18,800 with the four-cylinder and manual transmission. Add about $1,200 to the GLS for automatic transmission, another $2,300 for the V-6 engine SEs should start around $21,200 with the four-cylinder, $23,900 with the V-6, and GLSs around $24,700 and $26,400 with the same engines. These approximate base prices include destination fees. Key option packages add a power sunroof, power driver’s seat and other goodies and cost up to $1,650. A navigation system with voice recognition is a Limited option at around $1,250.
2010 Hyundai Sonata Fuel Economy back to top
Four-cylinder Sonatas rate 21 mpg city/32 highway when equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, 22/32 with the five-speed automatic. V-6 versions rate 19/29. All use regular-octane gas.
2010 Hyundai Sonata Release Date back to top
Look for the 2010 Hyundai Sonata in showrooms in late summer or early autumn 2009.
2010 Hyundai Sonata Competition back to top
2010 Honda Accord: The midsize-sedan benchmark for advanced engineering and driving satisfaction. Very fuel efficient with four- and six-cylinder gas engines and especially with the four-cylinder diesel slated to be introduced on the 2009 model. Accord offers sedan and coupe body styles and is likely to be fully redesigned for model-year 2013.
2010 Toyota Camry: Like Sonata, a conservative approach to design that emphasizes comfort and quite over sporty moves – though it achieves these goals in ways Sonata can’t approach. Camry offers four- and six-cylinder gas engines and a high-mileage gas-electric hybrid model. Its next full redesign is expected for the 2012 model year.
2010 Chevrolet Malibu: Splitting the difference between dashing and dullard, this handsome sedan snags points for being a legitimate domestic alternative to the better imports in this class. Malibu offers the usual four- and six-cylinder gas engines, plus an unusual gas/electric hybrid powertrain that can’t propel the car solely on electricity. Look for the next all-new Malibu as a 2013 model.