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Hyundai Sonata

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I had an intermediate car rented to drive down to the South Bay/Monterey County and was fully expecting to get Ford or GM stuff. Not so. I was given a Hyundai Sonata. My initial impression of this car was to scratch my chin - some good, some bad.

The overall proportions make it easy to park and maneuver. It has a lot of room within its dimensions, both in the seating areas and in its deep trunk. Its seats are comfortable and its controls are very logically organized, though the layout is boring and the elliptical forms seem dated. The seats are well-formed and reasonably comfortable. I always appreciate a good greenhouse and this car has good visibility and few blindspots. The shift gate trans lever on the floor felt like it was falling apart...either it was crappy or too many soft drink liquids had made their way into the housing.

The handling is fairly nimble but wallows over bumps and pavement strips. I was wondering if I had a six, but the raspiness indicated it could be a four. It was a four. It accelerates nicely from a stop but is weak in a high speed pass or going from 60 to 75/80 on the freeway. Mileage is not bad, based on needle movements.

This is one bland car. I see a lot of them on the road, though. They appear to be reliable. I don't know what its competition might be. It can't hold a candle to a Malibu or a Fusion. No way....those are more nicely finished and more fun to drive, particularly in V6 form.

The few things I liked were lots of storage compartments, an intelligent dome lamp control that is "off-door" and then a separate "on" switch for intermittent operation of the interior dome lamp. As stated above, I liked the greenhouse with a lower beltline than is usually encountered nowadays and normally proportioned windows. But that's about where my interest stopped.

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