People have been saying it for years: "Watch out for Hyundai, man, watch out for Hyundai," and for good reason.
For the better part of a decade Hyundai has been trying to move away from its reputation of simply selling decent cars at a low price.
More competitive products with improved quality and value over the last few years are beginning to transform the entry-level brand into a sales force to be reckoned withperhaps even feared, hence the warnings, "Watch out for Hyundai."
And never has this competitive threat been more real than with the 2006 Sonata. The car enters the foray with a fresh, inviting body, more power and an interior that signal a new Hyundai that could seriously challenge the family-sedan heavyweights.
The notion of a Sonata that could compete with the four-door front-runners had us opening a spot in our long-term fleet to see if this Hyundai had done like the Jeffersons and moved on up. If so, this car could be as significant to Hyundai as the rear-drive 300 is to Chryslermaybe more.
We ordered the top-line Sonata LX that comes standard with just about everything: four-wheel ABS, stability and traction control, six airbags, power everything, CD/MP3 stereo, cruise, leather seats, heated front seats, 17-inch wheels, fog lamps and more.
Despite the heavy level of standard equipment, the LX's $23,495 price still undercuts most anything in direct competition. The only option our test car is missing is a $1,450 premium package with six-disc CD changer and sunroof.