2013 Hyundai
Sonata SE 2.0T

22 city / 34 hwy
2.0L Turbo / 4-cyl / 274 hp

The 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T is the sportiest of the five-seater Hyundais and plenty fun to drive. Perfect for the couple arguing over roominess vs. sportiness but on a budget

By Janis Hirsch

I was watching the news this morning and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between video of 100,000 people rioting in Tahrir Square over Egypt’s military rule and a Black Friday battle at Wal-Mart over a waffle iron.

Not to trivialize a proud nation’s cry for democracy – oh wait, too late – Thanksgiving weekend was an insanely stressful time for me too. I had family in, I was dry brining my turkey for the very first time, I spilled cucumber salad in my tote bag – I could go on but I feel my pain. Here’s how I dealt with such hideous pressure: I ate all the roasted marshmallows off the sweet potatoes, then ate all the sweet potatoes, and then I got into a 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T.

I am only sharing the part about the Sonata at my Weight Watcher’s Meeting on Saturday.

The Big Picture

Hyundai’s have only come into my life recently so we’re still in the giggly getting-to-know-you stage. And because I’m completely superficial, let me start by telling you what a looker this newly-designed Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T is. As I wandered around the grocery store parking lot (4th trip of the day, still forgot the sour cream) wondering where I’d parked my Prius, I kept stealing looks at this sleek, sexy but not in a big penis way car. And when I finally remembered that this was my ride, for the weekend at least, I chirped the key fob a couple of extra times just to draw attention to it.

An Inside Job

Inside, the Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T is all black leather and brushed chrome and blue lights. The well laid-out instrument panel serves up exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. It’s compact without feeling small and it’s as easy to learn and read as it is on the eyes.

I’m crazy/fussy about my seating position; I consider Goldilocks a poseur for only bitching about too big and too little. I need up and down and tilt and tip and raise and lower and forward and back before I declare anything “Just right.” Sonata driver’s seat? You are just right.

Comfort-wise, at least. See, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T Sports Package comes with leather bolsters but cloth inserts which are certainly sturdy and practical but as someone who has been described in her youth as “sturdy” and “practical,” that’s damning with faint praise. Or making fun of the fat girl in 5th grade. But since this combo only comes with the Sport Package, you’ve got options.

My Hyundai Sonata comfortably seats five, which makes it the perfect carpool car: enough room for a friend or two but not enough room to get you drafted into field trip duty. When no one was looking, I got into the trunk and I’m here to tell you, it’s roomier and more comfy than my guest bed. And yes, you get a 60/40 Split-Folding rear seat. If I’d had the Sonata on my last Costco run I could’ve gotten an even bigger folding table that I’ll never use again.

The Sports Trim also comes with very cool looking steering wheel mounted Paddle Shifters, whatever the heck they are.

Driver Friendly

I’m normally not a huge fan of errands but when you have a houseful of family and a fridge full of raw briney poultry, errands become inexorably linked to sanity so I was in the Sonata a lot. Thank God it’s such a great handling car because Beverly Hills over Thanksgiving weekend was a mixture of Star Tour Buses weaving as they pretended they were passing Jennifer Aniston’s house, little men with big cigars driving Italian cars, women in SUV’s who left the nail salon before their toes and fingers were dry and teenagers doing everything but hacking into the Pentagon while navigating canyon traffic. That Sonata handled beautifully, gave me the power I asked for and then some and stopped on dime without breaking a sweat.

I’m not proud of this but I hang a lot of Ueeys in a day, which the Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T makes ridiculously easy. And parallel parking was a snap although I’ve come to rely on my back-up camera and it’s an option that wasn’t included on the Sonata I drove.

My husband, Larry, a HUGE car nut, said the 18” wheels and performance tires are fantastic. And he said something about an improved sway bar that noticeably reduced body lean and improved handling in corners. I will admit that I didn’t notice…but he did. It’s nice to give something to the fellas every now and then.


The 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0 T has every safety bell and whistle a Vroomgirl could ask for: Front, Front Side Impact and Side Curtain Airbags, Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, ABS with Brake Assist and 4-Wheel Disc Brakes. Plus it’s a heavy enough sedan that I didn’t need a change of underwear when I found myself between two semis on the freeway.

Gizmos and Tech

Hyundai’s come up with BlueLink Telematics technology that enables the driver to stay connected via in-car, smartphone or web App. Think of it as Hyundai’s answer to GM’s OnStar but with a cooler name.
You can make a dinner reservation, find a nearby gas station, and even see the gas prices before you go. Push the button and the Nav system will take you there. Genius. you can also locate ATMs, get real-time traffic and weather, even stock quotes.
Although the downside of being so connected is that my family kept finding me.

Pricing and Trim Levels

2013 Hyundai Sonata

I know I always say this about Hyundai but it’s insane how much you get for the sane price you pay. There are a bunch of Sonatas to chose from -- the GLS, SE, Hybrid and Limited, starting just south of $20,000 for a stripped down GLS version, and going up to $26,345. It’s worth noting that the Hybrid starts at $25,795.

But what really blows me away about the Sonata – and every Hyundai – is their warranty. They call it “America’s Best” and I believe them: 5 year/60,000 mile New Vehicle Warranty; 10 year/100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty; 7 year/Unlimited mile Anti-perforation Warranty; and 5 year/Unlimited mile Roadside Assistance.

Final Thoughts

Do what I did: wash every damn Thanksgiving dish, stop every ridiculous family feud, strap on your fat pants and get behind the wheel of a 2013 Sonata SE 2.0 T. Forget your troubles, c’mon get happy. I know I did.

A great first date, the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Great instrument panel but the two-tone seats didn’t do it for me.

The passenger seat is low and only moves forward and back, meaning when I was driving my Incredible Shrinking Mother, her little parakeet head was below the glove box.

Tech Savvy

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