Monday, December 7, 2009

2011 Hyundai Sonata: Star of the Los Angeles Auto Show with Tucson

The all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata's North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show topped the list of unveils in my view. The $20,000 four-door coupe flashes the looks of a much more expensive midsize sedan. The sixth generation Sonata launches with a new 198 horsepower Theta II 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine and in-house six-speed automatic transmission delivering fuel economy of 23 mpg city/35 mpg highway. A 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine and Hybrid Blue Drive models will debut by 2010 year-end. Production begins at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in December with retail sales beginning in January.

Sonata is the second vehicle in Hyundai’s 24/7 version 2.0 product initiative (seven new models in the next 24 months) following on the heels of the all-new 2010 Hyundai Tucson that also debuted in L.A. but was seen in mid-September at the Frankfurt Auto Show as the ix35. Beginning with the 2011 Sonata and 2010 Tucson projects, Hyundai designers set to work about three and half years ago on Fluidic Sculpture, a design language that will ripple through the entire Hyundai showroom. The 2010 Tucson is 3.3 inches longer and one inch wider than its predecessor, yet 61 pounds lighter. The 2010 Tucson has a longer wheelbase and overall width than CR-V, Escape and Forester.

If the Cash-For-Clunkers program makes a comeback expect the Tucson to be a top choice as a clunker replacement. How can you go wrong with five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, and seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation coverage. In addition, Tucson buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance coverage at no extra charge for five years (no mileage limit) and that service includes emergency towing, lockout service and limited coverage for trip-interruption expenses.

The all-new Tucson CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle), starts at $18,995 for a well-equipped GLS six-speed, manual-transmission model and $24,345 for the top-of-the-line Limited model. The all-new Tucson arrives at dealerships this month.