2011 Hyundai Sonata Debuts in L.A.
The all-new Hyundai Sonata represents new design language for brand.
To say the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is different from its predecessor is an understatement.
The sixth generation of the company's flagship sedan has been dramatically remade with a swoopy design, weight reductions and your choice of one—count, it one—four-cylinder engine that ultimately will be offered in several forms. The car was revealed on Wednesday at the Los Angeles auto show, and sales begin in January.
The new design features prominent lines that flow from the front fenders up to the back taillights. The car is fronted by a bolder grille and angular fascia.
Hyundai design director Phil Zak said the appearance will be carried over onto other models, and he did a bit of chest-thumping at the L.A. reveal, claiming that while other companies reserve their riskier designs for niche models, Hyundai used it for a bread-and-butter product.
"With Sonata, we're introducing our most passionate design statement," Zak said.
Power comes from a new Theta II gasoline direct-injection four-cylinder engine that makes about 200 hp. It's estimated to get 23 mpg in the city and 35 mpg in highway driving with an automatic transmission. A turbocharged version will arrive in the second half of 2010, and a hybrid model is also in the works. More information on these two units will be revealed at next year's New York auto show.
"It underscores our beliefs that V6 engines will go the way of the dinosaur," said John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai's American operations.
Weight was cut by 130 pounds from the existing model. The powerplants will be mated to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Wheel offerings will measure 16, 17 or 18 inches. Krafcik said the car will start at less than $20,000.