Monday, January 13, 2014

Long Term Test: 2012 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited post #2

Second Update
Current mileage: 21,245

I had an opportunity to spend some more time with the Sonata, this time on some more extended trips. The longer periods behind the wheel reveal a real weakness in the Sonata's overall design: it's steering feel. Since we were with family, both my wife and I shared driving duties at various times. At one point, my father-in-law commented to my wife that she needed to try to be smoother when she was behind the wheel. Just the prior evening, I had driven all of us to Irvine for a Cirque du Soleil performance and my wife noted a few points where she thought I was beginning to nod off. However, the reality was that the Sonata's rather dull and lifeless steering means that the driver is forced to concentrate extremely hard to drive the car smoothly. Even the slightest moment of lapsed concentration can result in slightly jerky motions, especially when one is used to driving cars that have much more responsive steering.

Another area that was starting to suffer after over 20,000 miles on the road was the structural rigidity of the car. While not terribly noticeable on smooth roads, it became increasingly obvious on rutted roads or when hustling the car through fast corners that the cars structure was not as strong as it had been when originally purchased. The rattles and squeaks emanating from all throughout the interior also spoke to the deteriorating vehicle structure. It is disappointing that in only two-years, the Sonata has started to exhibit issues that should not appear in a well-built car until at least 4 to 5 years in. I have driven rental cars with more miles that had fewer squeaks and rattles.

Still, there is much to like about the Sonata. Its rather cavernous interior, enormous trunk, and well-equipped interior make it a genuine value in the segment when it comes to family hauling duties. As far as maintenance, it has required nothing aside from scheduled visits and has been extremely reliable. That turbo-charged motor delivers strong mid-range performance, but the transmission gets caught off-guard at points and occasionally lags to shift when acceleration is called for. Luckily, the gorgeous exterior continues to turn heads and is still one of my personal favorite mid-size family sedans after the recently introduced Mazda6.

Click here to read post #1.