Yep, that’s what we drove for two weeks. Not only was it a great car, but thanks to Rene Serrato of Prestige Auto USA, we got to take it on a real road trip, where the speed limits were 70 on the interstates, and some of the roads were up and down mountains, with curves, and 18 wheelers, and torrential rain, and heat and cold, and you had to pack the car for a week of travel; and, well, you actually got to try the various technology available on the car, really evaluate the handling, the drive, the comfort, the heating and air conditioning, the automatic windshield wipers, the navigation system, the voice activation, all the elements of the cruise control, and the luggage space. Now that is a car reviewer’s dream.
Let me address something I noticed right off. The car was filled with gas when it arrived and the display by the gas tank symbol on the dash said we could go 505 miles. Think about that for a moment – over 500 miles on a tank of gas. The Sonata Limited boasts 37 miles per gallon highway, and since we were doing mostly highway driving, I can attest that we drove all day on a tank of gas. The ‘Smartstream’ 1.6L Turbo Gasoline Engine Direct Injection (GDI) 4-cylinder engine performed flawlessly. Marry that to an 8 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and the 180 HP engine getting 195 lb-ft torque, and we found it did what it was supposed to do when it was supposed to do it. Kudos, Hyundai
The Sonata comes in five trims – the SE, the SEL, the SEL Plus, the N Line, and the Limited. The Limited, our Limited, was top of the line, and (drum roll please) the cost of the fully loaded 2021 Sonata Limited is $33,850. Again, let that sink in – Fully Loaded, and, yes, I am going to talk about that, Fully Loaded at $33,850.
Let’s talk about my favorite – Safety – first. Here’s what you get on the 2021 Sonata Limited – Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Parking Collision Avoidance Assist – Rear, Surround View Monitor and Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Remote Smart Parking Assist and Blind View Monitor, and Safe Exit Warning.
I have talked about Blind Spot Collision Avoidance beforel but this is the first time I found what I think is a good picture of that feature in action. Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM) assists the driver in changing lanes by providing a live view of the blind spots on either side of the vehicle and an audible alert if another vehicle is detected. Turn signal must be activated and other system limitations apply. I like it, and while for some it might be distracting, I found myself only glancing at it once I engaged the turn signal, just to reassure myself nothing was in the lane I needed to enter. I like it.
Okay, let’s talk Comfort and Convenience. Smart Cruise Control with Start/Stop Capability must come under convenience. I learned something new this time too. When you push the cruise control button, you automatically engage the steering assist and the lane keep assist. This is typical of cars today and a feature I like. On the interstate, especially in the mountains, I found the steering control to be fighting me for control of where the vehicle should be in the lane. Rather than turn off the cruise control, I pushed the button on the steering wheel that looked like, well, the steering wheel. When I did, both the steering assist and lane keep assist stopped their function while the cruise control speed ‘remained’ set and the forward monitoring of vehicles for speed and distance also remained in place. This put it more in the old fashioned cruise control mode of several years ago, but it was certainly more relevant, at least to me, for the driving conditions I was experiencing.
Some other features I appreciated were the Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Vehicle Hold, i.e., push a button and you are staying put, the proximity key with push button start, the power front seats with memory system, the 12.3” Color LCD Cluster with Custom Settings, and the 10.25” Touchscreen Navigation System. Since we went from North Carolina to Virginia to Washington to Pennsylvania and, in one long day, back to North Carolina again, we tested the Navigation System and found it to be flawless. Push the talk button and tell the system your destination and she took us right there every time
We had leather seating surfaces which were great, maybe a little more padding would have been welcome for those of us who have no acetol, but I am sure they are fine for the average person. More importantly, the seats were both heated and cooled. The toggle switch on the dash went from one to three, either up for heat or down for cool. So, if the car was a little cool but Laurie was comfortable, I could put the seat heater on one, and be perfectly comfortable too.
Of course, we had Sirius XM and Blue Link Connected Services as well.
Sedans, I think, have lost some of their popularity, having been replaced by the mid-sized SUV’s and Crossover that seem to have attracted families and the sports crowds as well. However, if you are in the market for a great sedan, one we can really recommend, you need to consider the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Limited – a lot of car for not a lot of money.
Johnny, I want to add my two-cents because I had the opportunity to really drive this car on this long-haul we took. When you consider gas mileage, drivability, convenience, size, comfort, quiet, and ease of operation, then this car was a true winner. We drove in fair weather and some foul, on highways and backroads, twists and turns and on the straight and sometimes narrow. We drove in the city and town, in really remote places. And the Hyundai Sonata Limited delivered it all, every time.
When we test a car it’s very rarely that we have the occasion to really put a car through its paces. One of the things that stood out for me, as a driver, were the way the safety features consistently kicked in. There was one occasion, not my fault, when there could have been trouble at a stoplight in a Pennsylvania town. I was turning left and out of nowhere, a car began to pull right behind me, on my left. The Sonata took immediate notice and gave warning—thus preventing what otherwise could have been an unhappy incident.
I have to mention, too, the navigation system. This was the best, most dependable navigation system I have ever experienced. It consistently took us where we needed to go, in the most direct way, and the delivery of instructions was both timely and easy to comprehend, both by voice and visually on the screen. We got to a point where we never questioned what “she” was telling us.
Johnny and I are longtime Hyundai cheerleaders. Once again, they not only delivered a lot of “bang for your buck” as one of the best-value car manufacturers in the world, but from the standpoint of comfort and performance, we could not have asked for more.
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HYUNDAI DEALERS in the environs of Pinehurst, NC, and Hartsdale, NY:
10732 US Hwy 15-501
Southern Pines, NC 28387
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Central Avenue Hyundai
111 South Central Avenue
Hartsdale, NY 10530