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Hyundai Moves to Fix Steering Problems with 2011 Sonata

Campaign covers steering problem on midsize sedan.

by on Aug.16, 2011

Hyundai will address a problem with 2011 Sonatas, like this 2.0T, that have reportedly demonstrated a tendency to drift to the left.

Hyundai has announced a customer service campaign aimed at addressing steering problems with the 2011 Sonata sedan.

The maker describes the move as a “service action,” rather than a recall, because it addresses customer concerns raised by several groups, including Consumer Reports.  The influential magazine noted in a review of the Sonata 2.0T that it “drifts to the left on some roads.”  While the problem could “easily countered,” the magazine stressed, “it was an annoyance.”

Inside News!

Automakers take great pains to satisfy Consumer Reports, in particular, but often take steps to resolve other reviewers’ criticism where it has the potential to influence sales or customer satisfaction.  But a service action is not directly regulated the way a recall is by the U.S. Department of Transportation.


Hyundai Aims For Half-Million Sales This Year

Korean maker now using lower incentives than Toyota, Honda.

by on Oct.06, 2010

Hyundai is betting demand for the Sonata will only increase with the launch of new turbo and hybrid models in the coming months.

Hyundai expects its sales to exceed 500,000 units for the first time this year with the help from strong sales of the red-hot Sonata.

The percentage of consumers considering a Hyundai product is steadily increasing, according to John Krafcik, Hyundai Motors America president and chief executive officer. The percentage of light vehicle intenders looking for a Hyundai was only 7% at the end of 2000. Today, that has risen to 33%, Krafcik said.

“We’ll set an all-time sales record this year, passing 500,000 units,” he added, noting the increase in sales has been paced by the successful launch of the Sonata, which is winning buyers in the highly competitive mid-sized car segment.

Covering The Beat!

In fact for the four-month period from May through August, the Sonata was the top model shopped market-wide, Krafcik said, citing various industry data.

Hyundai’s market share has continued to grow, he added.  The South Korean automaker’s overall market share is currently 4.8%, more than twice that of Mazda and ahead of Volkswagen, as well.  The expansion has been based a steady growth at the retail level not through fleet sales like some of its competitors.


First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Korean carmaker charges into the battery-electric segment.

by on Jul.19, 2010

Tap the “Start” button and an assortment of lights and gauges pop to life, but all in near silence.

As we slip the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid into gear and slowly squeeze the throttle, the sedan begins to creep forward, the tires crunching on the tarmac at the maker’s Namyang Proving Grounds, an hour outside Seoul.

Slapping the accelerator towards the floor, the 2.4-liter I-4 engine under the hood suddenly roars to life, the car launching aggressively down the pavement and hitting 60 in just over 9 seconds – not much off the time of the standard, gasoline-powered 2011 Sonata. takes a test drive in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. braved the long flight over to Seoul, followed by the drive to Namyang to get an early drive in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata.  Though it’s actually the second gasoline-electric model in the maker’s line-up, an earlier battery version of the Elantra has so far been offered only to domestic Korean buyers.  The ’11 Sonata will be the first Hyundai hybrid earmarked for the U.S. – though as also reports, it won’t be the last. (Click Here for more on Hyundai’s aggressive plans to expand its hybrid line-up.)

The conventionally-powered version of the 2011 midsize sedan, the seventh-generation Sonata, is quickly proving to be a smash hit for the Korean carmaker – “the most highly-rated model we’ve ever seen,” according to George Peterson, of the consulting firm, AutoPacific, Inc.  But the Sonata line is about to grow, with the addition of both a 2.0-liter turbo and the new Sonata Hybrid.

Already a striking design statement, the gas-electric model is even more visually distinctive, with a blacked-out hexagonal grille, unique head and taillamps and extensive aerodynamic revisions that reduce the Sonata’s drag coefficient from 0.28 to 0.25.  (To put that into perspective, this roughly 10% reduction in wind resistance is itself responsible for boosting fuel economy by 5%, according to Hyundai engineers.)

News, Reviews and More!

The new Blue High-Tech system has some technological differences from existing hybrids, as well.  To start with, Hyundai has adopted a manganese-doped lithium-polymer battery pack, rather than nickel-metal hydride batteries.  That helped the maker reduce both the size and weight of the pack by about a third even though the lithium batteries will hold about 15% more energy.

Lithium-ion, a variation of Hyundai’s polymer battery, will only begin showing up later this year on even more advanced plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles.


First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T

V6 performance, I4 economy?

by on Jul.13, 2010

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T will launch from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds.

Hyundai has had a way of defying expectations.  In its early years in the U.S. market it undercut the Japanese on price.  And then, when it seemed that price alone wasn’t enough, it took steps to correct its quality problems, backing that up with the industry’s best warranty.  Known for its cheap-and-cheerful small cars, the Korean carmaker swatted a home run with its first-ever luxury model, the Genesis sedan, winning the coveted North American Car of the Year trophy, in the process.

Hyundai served up another ace – to mix our sports metaphors – when it launched the sixth-generation Sonata sedan for 2010.  Roomy, affordable and arguably the best-looking model in the midsize segment, it delivered another surprise by offering buyers only a peppy, fuel-efficient inline-four engine.  No V6s now or later, Hyundai officials declared.

But they did hint that a couple other powertrain offerings were on the horizon, and got to check both of them out during a trip to South Korea and a visit to the maker’s Namyang Proving Grounds.  We’ll have a review of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – the maker’s first gas-electric offering – next week.  But let’s start with a look at the 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T.

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The Sonata turbo delivers a one-word answer to the nagging question: does a maker need to offer a V6 for a midsize sedan.  “No.”  Make that “N-O. “  With 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the 2.0T blows off just about anything you can think of in its class, whether turbocharged or naturally aspirated.  And yet, with a forecasted 22 mpg City, 34 Highway, it’s right up there with the best-in-class for mileage, as well.