Hyundai Sonata

CHS The Koreans are closer than ever to Honda and Toyota with this new mid-size sedan.

CHHZQiSl Following the spring launch of the base 2.4-liter Sonata, Hyundai adds turbo and hybrid models this fall. The turbo isn't a sporty racer; instead, it's a refined V-6 alternative. Despite its impressive 274-hp output, the boosted four-cylinder returns very respectable fuel economy numbers: 22/34 mpg city/highway. The hybrid drives comfortably thanks to a six-speed automatic gearbox instead of the CVT more commonly paired with a hybrid system. Fuel economy should come in at 37/40 mpg. As good as the two optional engines are, the 198-hp base four-cylinder unit is powerful and smooth enough to satisfy even our particular tastes. In all Sonatas, though, the seats and the steering leave something to be desired.

■ on sale: Now I base pricf $19,915 2.4L 1-4.198 hp, 184 Ib-ft; 2.0L turbo

1-4,274 hp, 269 Ib-ft; 2.4L l-4/electric hybrid, 209 hp, 195 Ib-ft; front-wheel drive

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