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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Hyundai Sonata

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Expert's Rating


MPG 23 City / 35 Highway
  • Stylish exterior and interior
  • Offers most value in class
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Crisp handling and fun to drive
  • Sloping roofline takes away backseat room
  • Slightly less refined than class leaders
, Automotive Editor -
The Hyundai Sonata continues to pose a sales threat to the top-sellers in the family sedan category, one of the most competitive in the market. The Sonata, redesigned in 2011, combines striking design with traditional family sedan values - lots of desirable features and space for passengers for the best price possible. Throw in Hyundai's corporate 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and the Sonata is a safe choice for a lot of customers.


The Sonata lineup kicks off with the GLS for $20,895. It comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection producing 198 horsepower, one of the most powerful standard engines in the class. For 2013, all Sonatas come with a six-speed automatic, and the GLS comes standard with features like iPod/iPhone connectivity, Bluetooth and, new for 2013, Hyundai's BlueLink telematics system. That pairing gives the Sonata up to 35 MPG on the highway.

Moving up to SE or Limited trims opens up the possibility to get the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 274 horsepower, or as much as most competitor's V6 engines. But the 2.0T gets up to 34 MPG highway, besting the six-cylinders. SE and Limited also offer navigation. Extras like a panoramic moonroof and full-leather seats, heated front and rear, are available only on the Limited, while the SE gets a sport suspension and paddle shifters. SE is the best value because of its good level of content and access to popular options unavailable on GLS.

See what other sedans are making waves with our 2013 sedan buying guide

The Toyota Camry is the one to beat in the class because of its best-seller status. It features its hallmark quiet, spacious interior and refined powertrains. The latest model, new for 2012, addressed some of the major criticisms of the old car by adding better interior quality, improved in-car technology with the Toyota Entune system and making it a little sharper to drive. But the Camry is still more conservatively designed than the Sonata, is more expensive and doesn't come with a warranty to rival Hyundai's. The Nissan Altima is new for 2013. Its base 2.5-liter four-cylinder is rated at 38 MPG highway, more than Sonata's. The Nissan is also available with a V6 engine and offers an inexpensive navigation option. But the Altima is styled more conservatively and doesn't offer anything like Hyundai's BlueLink. The Volkswagen Passat trumps Sonata with its class-exclusive TDI Clean Diesel option, which produces up to 42 MPG highway. The Passat also has a larger rear seat and trunk, free scheduled maintenance and standard dual-zone automatic climate control. But the Passat is generally more expensive than the Sonata and the gas engines aren't as efficient. The new Chevrolet Malibu's Eco trim has a 37 MPG highway rating, beating the Passat. It offers Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system and OnStar, rivaling BlueLink. The Sonata's rear seat dimensions are greater, though.

As it rolls into its third model year, this version of the Sonata continues to be a serious candidate for midsize sedan supremacy. It has popular technology features even on the least expensive version, up-to-date powertrain with strong fuel economy figures and styling that looks as if it belongs on a luxury car. The Sonata makes a lot of sense for a lot of shoppers.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Hyundai Sonata
Starting price

2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Recommended for: People looking for everything they need, nothing they don't

The GLS is the most basic Sonata, but it's far from basic. Powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic, the GLS comes standard with power windows, locks and mirrors, 16-inch wheels, split-folding rear seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and trip computer. Bluetooth, iPod/iPhone connectivity and BlueLink are standard on all Sonatas. An $825 Popular Equipment Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights, power driver's seat, heated front seats and chrome door handle inserts.

2013 Hyundai Sonata
Starting price

2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited

Recommended for: People who want full-leather seats and luxury car features in a family sedan

The Limited is the way to get a fully decked-out Sonata. Exterior changes over the SE include the addition of exterior mirrors with turn-signal indicators and 17-inch alloy wheels on 2.4 models. Turbo Limiteds get 18-inch Hypersilver alloy wheels, as well as chrome-tipped exhaust pipes and paddle shifters. A power sunroof is standard, as are leather seats that are heated front and rear – a rarity for the family sedan category. Limited gets a standard auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 360-watt HD radio. The $2,900 Premium Package adds a panoramic sliding sunroof, 7-inch touchscreen navigation system, backup camera and 400-watt Infinity audio system with traffic, weather and sports.

2013 Hyundai Sonata
Starting price

2013 Hyundai Sonata SE

Recommended for: Drivers looking for a sportier Sonata and access to more sophisticated features

The SE is the sport-tuned Sonata, as it gets an exclusive sport-tuned suspension and steering system. Chrome-tipped door handles and exhaust pipes, a chrome grille and 18-inch Hypersilver aluminum wheels elevate the exterior styling over the GLS. Inside, the seats are covered in leather and cloth, and all SEs get keyless start and entry and paddle shifters for the automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is an option on the SE, bringing horsepower up to 274. Turbo cars also add dual-zone automatic climate control. The $2,900 Navigation and Sunroof Package gives SE cars access to a power sunroof, 7-inch touchscreen navigation system, backup camera, 360-watt HD audio system and subscription to satellite traffic, weather and sports.

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