I recently had the opportunity to use a 2017 Hyundai Sonata in SE trim on a trip for work from a rental company. And, I was surprised! Normally, when you walk into a rental office, you hope you get a new model of some sort, but you usually end up with a fairly worn hatchback that smells like a wet dog or something. My journey was a grand total of 9-10 hours, so I thought I would share my thoughts on my experience in the car.
The driver’s seat is comfortable. It had ample lumbar support, and it could adjust to numerous configurations. While the SE trim did not come with many of the bells and whistles that would include plush leather, I was surprised at the comfort from the normal seat. It had plenty of leg, hip, shoulder, and elbow room. And visibility from the seating positions was great.
And speaking of the cabin, Bluetooth and on-board computer and audio controls all were found on the steering wheel which came in handy. It also had iPod/iPhone connectivity via USB and Auxiliary inputs which was great for such a long journey. The Air-con and heat worked well, the audio system was sufficient, and it even had ECO, Sport, and Normal diving modes. However, the only noticeable differences while switching between the modes were the mpg figures and the throttle responsiveness.
The car also drove fairly well! It was the first time I had truly driven a Hyundai product, and it felt it had enough power when it was required. The ECO mode’s throttle response felt sluggish, however. So much so that when pressing the accelerator, it felt as if my foot was being pushed into smashed potatoes, but it did the job. There wasn’t a ton of feed back through the steering wheel, but you knew where the car was on the road, enough to drive it confidently. However, I did notice a droning noise coming from the rear of the vehicle at cruising speeds – this seemed to only appear while in ECO mode. This may tire passengers on a long trip. And the turning-signal noise became annoying fairly quickly, but that is just being picky.
Overall, the Hyundai Sonata SE was a fine car for the trip. It was comfortable, averaged around 34 mpg on the highway, had enough tech to satisfy a long-trip, and it felt safe. While the more premium trims offer more, the platform itself seemed great. Coupled with an amazing warranty from the factory, the Sonata is an excellent car for commuting and family trips.