2011 Hyundai Sonata “Challenge” - One day, 1,000 miles and just one tank of gas…

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] Meet the 28mpg rated 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

    [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2011_Hyundai_Sonata1.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - June 12, 2010

    2011 Hyundai Sonata – Big, Beautiful and hopefully efficient enough ;)

    I am sure some have seen the banner Sean uploaded earlier this afternoon and may have been wondering what the heck it's all about?

    Chronicled here is a captivating story just getting started... with the final chapters yet to be written.

    The 2011 Sonata – A new day dawns for the everyday family sedan.

    Early last December, the newly redesigned 2011 Hyundai Sonata made its press debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. While a mid-sized sedan launch would not normally grab our attention unless it were hybrid or diesel powered, this conventionally powered 2.4L sedan stood out as something out of the ordinary.

    Why The 2011 Hyundai Sonata?

    For one, it broke the mold with an exciting exterior using what Hyundai calls "Fluidic Sculpture” design. It includes a unique yet highly attractive exterior grille and side creases as well as paint that literally changes color and hue with viewing angle and incident light variations.

    Fluidic Sculpture Design Language Detail - Beginning with the 2011 model year Sonata, Hyundai’s California studios is introducing a “Fluidic Sculpture” in motion approach to design. According to Hyundai, Fluidic Sculpture is a cohesive design language that will eventually encompass the entire Hyundai lineup.

    In the initial Sonata sketches, Hyundai designers strove for an interplay of natural, fluid elements with more rigid surfaces and structures to create the illusion of constant motion. Inspired by nature, Fluidic Sculpture injects sophistication and dynamic angles into the shape of a vehicle -- a guiding theme which now serves as the core of Hyundai’s design identity.

    The all-new Sonata is long, light, and low. The high belt-line allows for an extended, sleek roof-line accented by the third window. A mono-form side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by the Hyundai signature chrome accent spanning the length of the car. The stance is completed by 16-, 17-, or 18-inch multi-spoke wheels.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata Price

    Starting at just $19,195, no other manufacturer is able to match this offering with similar equipment. We have even looked down into the compact and sub-compact ranks with many just a few thousand less yet they still offer fewer amenities, less safety HW, smaller size, and less performance.

    The Sonata is also considered a Large automobile by the EPA’s own accounting with over 120 cu. ft of passenger and cargo (trunk) capacity. Only the Accord comes anywhere close to challenging the Sonata when it comes to total size.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata vs. competitors Passenger/Cargo Capacities

    Make and ModelPassenger volume (cu. ft.)Cargo volume (cu. ft.)Total interior volume (cu. ft.)EPA size classification
    2011 Sonata103.816.4120.2Large
    2010 Camry101.415.0116.4Midsize
    2010 Accord106.014.0120.0Large
    2010 Altima100.715.3116.0Midsize
    2010 Fusion100.316.5116.8Midsize
    2010 Malibu97.715.1112.8Midsize

    As described above, the Sonata is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “Large” car and the comparisons above are striking.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata Safety

    Safety is another area where the 2011 Sonata truly shines. This vehicle includes an impressive array of standard safety equipment including an ultra-high-strength steel body structure, four-wheel disc brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD), and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This is standard equipment for all trim levels.

    The Sonata also features six airbags— dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, as well as front and rear side curtain airbags—along with active front-seat head restraints. Other passive safety features include shingle-style, rear-seat head restraints for improved visibility, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, front-seat seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters, and rear-seat Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for child seats. Once again, all of this is standard equipment.

    What are the results of this single minded approach to occupant safety? While vehicles comprising the Sonata’s direct competition include many of those same safety features standard, only one other was awarded the IIHS’ 2010 “Top Safety Pick” in the mid-size class. A small group indeed, and surprisingly not a single Asian competitor made the list!

    IIHS’ 2010 “Top Safety Pick” – 2011 Hyundai Sonata Crash Test Ratings

    Frontal offset test results: Good – IIHS’ Best Rating
    Side impact test results: Good – IIHS’ Best Rating
    Roof strength test results: Good – IIHS’ Best Rating
    Rear crash protection/head restraint ratings: Good – IIHS’ Best Rating while testing both the manual and power adjustable seats.

    The Real Reason(s) for CleanMPG’s Interest in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata

    The main reason the Sonata demanded our attention is that it was designed around a very fuel efficient, yet extremely powerful direct injected, 2.4L, I4 gasoline engine. Notice that I said designed around a 2.4L I4. This vehicle was not designed around a V6 with an I4 as an afterthought (or vice versa)... it was designed to change the way Americans think about what a 4 cylinder engine is capable of accomplishing. Hyundai's I4 has almost 200 HP on tap and even in a large sedan its road performance, fuel economy, and (particularly apropos to this article) range between stops at the pump.

    The 2011 Sonata is the first midsized sedan to adopt GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) technology as standard equipment in a naturally aspirated powertrain. This shorter, more direct path of fuel delivery allows for greater precision at the optimum moment, thus improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

    The fuel is injected by a camshaft-driven, high pressure pump that operates at up to 2,175 psi. Direct injection also allows the use of a higher than normal 11.3:1 compression ratio for increased power without having to resort to Premium Unleaded.

    Along with the Sonata’s fuel efficient 2.4L GDI engine comes a rarity for a mainstream manufacturer today -- a 6-speed manual transmission. This combination offers superior straight line acceleration over and above that available from an automatic, but its overdrive gears offer ratios that are almost as tall as those in the 6-speed automatic!

    This means that the 6-speed manual transmission equipped Sonata offers almost 10% more city fuel economy while matching the comfortable low RPM steady state cruise and highway fuel economy of the optional 6-speed Automatic. This is in sharp contrast to most other manufacturers who gear manual transmissions up to 30% lower than their automatic transmission equipped counterparts so that they sound like “Buzz Bombs” on the Interstate! Unlike Hyundai, these manufacturers talk about meeting the needs of the customer when in fact they are doing just the opposite.

    Hyundai’s approach shows up in its EPA Fuel Economy ratings as shown below:

    24 City/35 mpg highway for the Manual Transmission
    22 City/35 mpg highway for the Automatic Transmission

    Now that you know a little about the car, what's this about a “Challenge”?

    2011 Hyundai Sonata Challenge

    North of Milwaukee, WI to the Atlantic Coast of Long Island, NY.​

    We have been working for quite a few months with Hyundai’s National Manager and Midwest Product Public Relations Representative, Dan Bedore to take out a 2011 Hyundai Sonata 6MT for either a standard Review or a Challenge drive. The first opportunity for a “Challenge Drive” presented itself earlier this spring when a 6-speed manual was sourced within the Los Angeles Press Fleet. Unfortunately, by the time the logistics were established for bringing that vehicle back to the Midwest for insertion into the Chicago Press Fleet, it had been moved to the Detroit Press Fleet… We just missed it. :(

    The second opportunity arrived approximately a month ago when Dan personally drove the 2011 Sonata 6MT from the Detroit Press Fleet and inserted it into the Chicago Press Fleet specifically for this CleanMPG Challenge Drive.

    What about this “Challenge” Drive??? As we have been hinting in MaxxMPG’s (Chris Bernus) Sonata Sales for 2nd Quarter of 2010 Just Increased +1... thread, we are going to attempt to drive this full-sized car over a thousand miles on a single tank of fuel. While we have driven the 800-miles between Chicago and NY City on a single tank a number of times in the Prius and a 335d, we have never taken a vehicle as large as the 2011 Hyundai Sonata another 20% beyond that range and at the extremely high Fuel Economy needed to get there.

    In particular, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata includes an 18.5 gallon tank and a 28 mpg combined rating offering a stated range of 518 miles. Using its all-highway rating of 35 mpg, its calculated range is just 647 miles and we need at least another 50% on top of that. To drive one thousand miles on a single tank of fuel from a topped off tank, the Sonata has to provide at least 54 mpg. While we have seen flashes of 50 mpg from both Chris’ own 11 Sonata and my few minutes in two different 2011 automatic transmission Sonatas, holding onto 55 mpg for an entire tank while crossing the Midwest all the way to the East Coast is going to be a bit more... shall we say... “Challenging.” :D

    The car will be arriving late Monday morning or afternoon with less than 4 gallons in its tank. As soon as it arrives, I will be doing everything I can to figure out what is needed for that 55+ mpg average while equipped with an uncalibrated ScanGauge-II. Once I am down to fumes, I will fill it to top-off on late Tuesday night north of Milwaukee and begin the challenge drive. The first segment will bring me back home so I will have approximately 100-miles on the tank as I stop for a few hours and load it up with gear. All day Wednesday, I will cover approximately 900 additional miles in order to finish up in Long Island, NY... Hopefully this can be accomplished without running out before passing the Big Apple. :)

    On a carbon footprint basis, I do have a reason to be in New York or I would not be driving. Anybody else need a ride to reduce it even further? ;)

    All said, wish us luck as this is the largest car we will have ever driven over this extreme distance on a single tank of fuel. If all goes well we will not be running out on the side of I-80 in New York. At least I sure hope the outcome turns out far better than that scenario! :D
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  2. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Great news Wayne! It will be interesting to see how it actually performs. Hopefully this can stay up on the Home page a day or two.
  3. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    So far, the weather looks good. Cool enough for comfort with the window cracked open, and warm enough for lower air density. Looking at the map, you could call it the "Lake Michigan to Atlantic Ocean run". Amazing in and of itself.

    When the car is here on Long Island, I think it will be appropriate to photograph it in front of the Cradle of Aviation Museum. This museum is located on land that used to be an airstrip - the same airstrip where Charles Lindbergh took off for his "fuel economy challenge" of flying from New York to Paris on a single tank. The non-stop flight in the Spirit of St. Louis was completed a bit over 83 years ago.

    It is going to be an amazing journey, and based on what I've seen from my Sonata, you will be just fine. I can't wait to see the final numbers!
  4. joesgot4

    joesgot4 Well-Known Member

    i'm excited this may make my decision on what kind of car to buy! keep us posted
  5. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Good luck, Wayne!

    I hope the weather and traffic are favorable.

  6. SentraSE-R

    SentraSE-R Pishtaco

    54 mpg is, indeed, challenging. I'll be looking forward to your results.
  7. KittyBoodles

    KittyBoodles Ferocious FeLion

    Good luck! :) I believe you can do it in this car! Can't wait to meet you. :)

    Oh - and if anyone wants to see photos of the “Fluidic Sculpture” and color changing paint; please do visit Chris's thread where we've uploaded photos to show it off. ;)

  8. GreenBlues

    GreenBlues Well-Known Member


    Good luck on your adventure. Hopefully you will be going through Chicago at the right time.

  9. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Great idea and good luck guys :flag:
  10. EVuser

    EVuser Well-Known Member

    May the wind be at your back. You have set the bar very high. :flag:
  11. noflash

    noflash Senior Member

    So if the Sonata only get 50 mpg and you run out of gas in Penn. is that a "failure"?

    Who am I kidding? Wayne will prob get 65 mpg!:D

    Cheers, nf
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi NoFlash:

    If a 35 mpg highway rated 2011 Sonata cannot bust 50 mpg wide open, I am going to be doing a little more walking than originally planned later this week ;)

    Good Luck

  13. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Wayne, if my Elantra can do it, I've no fear that Sonata can as well. :)
  14. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    Go go go go!
  15. Nevyn

    Nevyn Well-Known Member

    Agreed. You'll blow the lid wide on that. I'm betting on 62-66 MPG.
  16. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    I was thinking 58 to 60mpg trip average, allowing for traffic throughout the trip and some potential precip. There are a few multi-mile downhill stretches on I80 that allow for lots of FAS miles to accumulate. Steady highway miles should be in the low to mid 60s.

    And it is still tough for me to believe what I'm writing, even though I've seen it with my own eyes. This is a car rated by the EPA as a large car, and doesn't have a problem achieving highway fuel economy approaching (and hopefully matching) the 70mpg pre-08 EPA highway number for the 2000 Insight 5MT. Impressive.
  17. joesgot4

    joesgot4 Well-Known Member

    dude, remember everthing about the trip and write everything down you can! ride,steering,comfort,feel,quietness, i will following very closely! this is like you doing a test drive for me! THANKS!
  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Joesgot4:

    Do you live along the I-80 corridor to the East Coast by chance? In case I were to stop by that is :D

    I will certainly do that and if you have any questions, I will do what I can to answer them when I get back! Chris and I uploaded the specs late yesterday evening so that will give you a place to start...

    2011 Hyundai Sonata - Detailed Specifications

    Chris, Insight-I or -II level FE? I think we may have gotten quite a bit ahead of ourselves with that one as the Sonta has twice the power, twice the frontal area, a bit more drag and is over 60% heavier ;)

    STI's Mr. Kleist dropped it off about 10-minutes ago!


    I am heading out for a quick get to know the Sonata - shakedown drive around town and will try and get some decent pics somewhere even though it is overcast and raining on and off...

  19. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    I wonder if it's possible to put in an easy-install electric turbo? :D
  20. joesgot4

    joesgot4 Well-Known Member

    wayne, i live way south in mississippi about 170 miles from the gulf! GOOD LUCK!

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