The Hyundai had a bad reputation in America due to unreliability, recalls, and other issues. The most recent breed of Hyundai vehicles fared much better, some of them even garnering best-of awards. In fact, the 2006 Hyundai Sonata may be the best Hyundai ever introduced to the U.S. market.
The 2006 Sonata is completely redesigned, getting new sheet metal, mechanics, and a slew of new features.
Body Style: Sedan
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.3-liter V-6
Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Hyundai Sonata GL, GLS, and LX
The entire Sonata is redesigned. This is a new generation model.
The sheet metal received a redesign. This year’s Sonata is a lot more refined as it sports aerodynamic curves and a modern finish. The car measures 72.1-inches wide and 58-inches high with a 107.4-inch wheelbase.
The suspension is built on a double-wishbone design in the front, a multi-link rear suspension, and four-wheel independent suspension.
The interior is well designed with all controls easily within reach and all instrument panels easy to read. The GL and GLS models come with standard cloth seating and the LX comes with leather, although leather accents and faux wood are introduced at the GLS level. Gone are the cheap plastic materials used in previous Hyundai vehicles.
The GL model receives cruise control, remote keyless entry, an MP3/CD player, bucket front seats, cloth upholstery, split folding rear back seat, rear ventilation ducts, remote power door locks, heated mirrors, one-touch power windows, front and overhead storage console, tilt-adjusting steering wheel, leather steering wheel, and six speakers.
The GLS adds 16-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, automatic headlights, faux wood trim on the dashboard, and leather trim on the shifting knob.
The top of the line LX model is the only one that comes equipped with the V-6 engine. Added features include seating with lumbar support, heated driver seat, eight-way adjustable power seat, bucket front seats, front and rear floor mats, and an electrochromic rearview mirror.
Performance & Handling
The GL and GLS models of the Sonata come with a standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 162 horsepower with 164 lb-ft of torque. The GL model has the 2.4-liter paired with a four- or five-speed automatic transmission. The GLS model is only available with the four-speed automatic transmission.
A 3.3-liter V-6 engine is also available on the GLS and is standard on the LX model. The 3.3-liter V-6 produces 235 horsepower with 226 lb-ft of torque. The 3.3-liter comes equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Both engines perform well on the road, with the V-6 obviously providing a bit more power and flexibility. You would expect the smaller engine to feel a bit weedy on the freeway, but it performs quite well. Handling is excellent on all models.
The Hyundai comes equipped with a lot of safety features. Four-wheel ABS comes standard on all vehicles. Stability control, traction control, dual front-mounted airbags, child seat anchors, remote anti-theft system, ventilated disc brakes, adjustable headrests with whiplash prevention, electronic brakeforce distribution, interior trunk release, and other features are also available.
In government and independent crash tests the Hyundai Sonata received top marks for front and side impacts for driver and passenger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Sonata five stars for front and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Sonata its best rating of good for frontal offset impacts. Side-impact testing resulted in a score of acceptable.
EPA Fuel Economy
Hyundai Sonata GL: 21/31 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Sonata GLS: 21/30 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Sonata GLS and LX V-6: 18/27 mpg city/highway
- New, higher-end appearance
- All engines perform well on the highway
- Roomy interior is roomy
- Build materials are greatly improved from previous years
You Won't Like
- Lags behind other models in its class
- Uncomfortable front seats
A competent vehicle at a reasonable price.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Accord
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry