The search for a new car is over... after much test driving and consideration we bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata last night. (Review here. Also here.) We drove south to Woodbridge yesterday, where we bought our Volkswagen in 2007, and I had Cari test drive a Honda Accord, which was the car I thought was the best value. She liked it, but not much. Just sort of "eh." She preferred the Honda Pilot.
So then we visited the nearby Hyundai dealership and test drove the Santa Fe (their SUV) and the Sonata, their competition for the Accord. The Santa Fe was good, but we were both immediately impressed with the Sonata. The two liter turbo is quick (0 to 60 in 6.7 seconds) and handles more like a sports car than a mid-sized sedan. The ride is firm in the manner of a German car, and the styling is impressive as well. Cari made the comment that she thought the Accord was a "fuddy-duddy sedan" - we agreed that that cannot be said of this car.
We then had some discussions with the sales guy, a personable former Marine, and when the numbers were all spelled out on a piece of paper, the Sonata was available for a good price. We also got more for our trade-in than I thought we would get, especially as the ignition was missing (needs new plugs), the service light was on about some mysterious emissions vapor leak and it was leaking oil, coolant and ATF (no brake fluid - yet). It also had a scrape on the side. Not a very impressive used car, to say the least. The Sonata came in well under $30K; I had hoped to find a good used SUV or new sedan with a number which began with a "2" or a "3." We couldn't imagine a better deal on another car, so we said "yes." Farewell Batmobile. Also... we got $500 off for my being a veteran, which was pretty cool. I have to e-mail the salesguy an image of my DD-214 and bring him the title to the van.
Note to car buyers: the occasional advice you read to shop at the end of the month seems valid. I got the impression that this dealership (Malloy Hyundai in Woodbridge) was especially eager to make numbers.
Our Sonata is loaded with all the bells and whistles; in fact, there literally isn't anything more to add. It has sat nav (it doesn't impressive Cari but I think she will warm to it), a backup camera (this she likes), a sunroof, hands free Bluetooth phone (I set it up for both our cell phones last night, and on the way home placed a voice-controlled hands free call to my son), a 400 watt Infinity (!) stereo with a USB port for my digitized Lp mp3 files and not only heated seats in the front (a Cari priority), but in the rear as well. It also has flappy paddle gear shifters on the wheel! According to Top Gear, this is something that started with Formula One racing, and migrated down from Mercedes to lesser cars. Whether either of us will use them is yet to be seen. (The transmission is fully automatic but can be shifted manually if you want from either the paddle shifters or the stick.)
It's "iridescent silver blue pearl," a silvery light blue color; Cari liked that, thinking that it will be somewhat easier to find in a sea of silver cars. Fit and finish are excellent, and it seems to be put together as well as the Accord. The fuel mileage - a primary reason why we didn't choose an SUV - is impressive, too. The EPA rating is 22 city, 33 highway - a bit better than the Accord V6's 20/30. I look forward to seeing what the trip computer tells me is the car's day to day mileage.
It's interesting to note that according to the booklet I got when I went to the D.C. Auto Show, the Sonata is the region's most popular sedan. I can see why. This car is a great value for money. Now... I hope that I can still say that some years down the road. (I can say that about our convertible Bug; nearly 40K miles and not a problem. Just fun.)
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