When we review vehicles, its usually a leisurely experience, savoring the moment, and the vehicle at hand. Ever wonder what its like to rent a car for a few days, and travel with a tight agenda, and deadlines.
A few days ago we had an opportunity to exprience a Hyundai Sonata in such circumstances. If you remember we reviewed a Sonata last year...the review is here. At the time we mentioned "In a competitive mid size sedan segment this new Sonata stands out with its evocative styling, comprehensive standard features, new engine with direct injection. Its a robust and enticing value proposition!"
Our recent 3 day experience...
We need a vehicle to cover approximately 700 kilometers in a scheduled amount of time, with acceptable comfort, hopefully a vehicle that is resonably pleasant to drive.
After turning down a few alternatives, for some reason short term leasing companies always mention the vehicles nobody really wants as being available. Finally this Sonata is made available, having experienced one, first thought "it will work...."
The second thought is covering over 500 kms on single lane roads which will involve passing, great opportunity to see how the 4 cylinder with the 6 speed will behave.
Once in the car, its quickly all familiar, the manual HVAC, the controls, its all easy to find, and yes...its has satellite radio which is essential for where we will be driving. This Sonata is almost new with less than 3,000 kilometer on the odometer.
Until its a divided highway similar to the 400 series in Ontario, its all cool and easy, set the cruise, the flatness of the land is a new experience, the road literally blending into the horizon for kilometers at a time is also a new experience.
Massive amounts of bugs splattering on the windshield and the front of the car is a trademark of driving on these highways at this time of year.
The cruise control is set at a reasonable speed, traffic is light, its totally flat....instinctively we still do not like to linger in the opposite lane when passing. Our passing strategy is "expedient" spending the least amount of time possible in the opposing lane.
Yes...the 4 cylinder puts out 201 HP, the 6 speed downshifts 2 gears, and passing is an easy task, especially when gaining momentum prior to changing lanes. The engine transmission combination works very well, and our concern that passing might become a task are quickly alleviated.
The more this Sonata stretches its performance envelope on these flat roads, the nicer it feels. Delivering acceptable passing performance from the 4 cylinder, responsive transmission, good steering feel, good brakes when you need to scrub off momentum.The seats are comfortable, the controls are easy, the HVAC works well, the sound system is good alternating between our favorite XM channels.
Yes...the suspension is a little stiff, and perhaps unrefined on rougher surfaces, at this time we need this car to go straight, on mostly smooth roads, and pass other vehicles with ease...the Sonata is working well in this application.
We reach our destination slightly ahead of schedule, the Sonata performed flawlessly....
A major portion of the return was on an even tighter schedule, again the Sonata performed well, accumulating additional bugs.
Fuel economy....this was not a fuel economy ride, especially when 4 cylinders are used for expedient passing situations...we expected slightly worse than what was achieved we covered a bit over 700 kilometers with approximately 66 liters of gas.
Our quick photo gallery of the drive is...here.