When you’re this good-looking, a major makeover after three years is unnecessary; minor mods for this sedan limited to a new grille, rear bumper and wheel designs.
Base 2.4-liter four-cylinder carries over, as does the turbocharged four-cylinder option; Sonata Hybrid powertrain was updated part way into the 2013 model year to produce more electric power and greater overall torque.
Now entering its fourth season — an eternity as mid-size sedans go — the Sonata still finds itself a popular choice for sedan shoppers. Credit the car’s pinpoint-sharp looks and impressive powertrain choice for this continuing surge of interest. The Sonata’s base engine remains a 198-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder (200 horses with the optional dual exhaust). There’s also an optional 274-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. For both power and fuel efficiency, the Sonata Hybrid received a significant upgrade for 2013. Although total system output shrunk to 199 horsepower from 206, overall torque was enriched to 235 pound-feet, up from 193. This was achieved by slightly reducing the gas engine’s output while increasing electric-motor output to 47 horsepower from 40 and enlarging the size of the 270-volt lithium-polymer battery pack. As a result, the Hybrid accelerates more quickly and, under light load conditions, can travel up to 74 mph under electric power compared to the previous 62 mph max. Overall fuel economy remains at 36 mpg city and 40 highway. The Hybrid also employs a six-speed automatic transmission (same as the rest of the Sonata fleet) instead of using a fun-robbing continuously variable unit used by its competitors. As for gasoline-only Sonatas, the base GLS includes the usual power-operated controls plus air conditioning, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, heated seats, and keyless push-button start. The sportier SE gets its own suspension settings, 18-inch wheels (16s are standard) and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, eight-way power driver’s seat and fancier interior trim. The top-end Limited comes with climate control, power sunroof, heated front and rear leather seats, wood-grain interior trim and a premium audio system. A seven-inch touch-screen navigation system is optional on all models, while much of the Limited’s content can be added to the SE and/or the base GLS trims. The Hybrid arrives loaded right from the get-go, but checking the Premium Package box adds a panoramic sunroof, touch-screen navigation, leather seat covers, backup camera, 17-inch wheels (16s are standard) and a premium sound system.
Base price (incl. destination): $22,000; $26,450 (Hybrid)
Type: Four-door sedan
Base engine (hp): 2.4-liter DOHC I4 (198)
Optional engines (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (274); 2.4-liter DOHC I4 with 40-kilowatt electric motor (199, net)
Layout: Front engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 24/35 (2.4); 35/40 (Hybrid)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,290