2011 Sonata tagged as culprit in Hyundai’s slide in dependability rankings

Article by Anita Panait, on February 25, 2014

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata was the carmaker’s hottest item three years ago, but it turned out to be its weakest point in the J.D. Power's 2014 Vehicle Dependability Study. Hyundai owners reported an average of 169 problems per 100 vehicles in the latest dependability rankings from J.D. Power and Associates, making the Hyundai brand rank fifth from the bottom. 

It marked Hyundai's second year of surging problems after recording an improvement from 2009 through 2012. J.D. Power also attributed Hyundai’s low ranking to its Elantra compact car. The current generation of the Sonata and Elantra rolled out as 2011 models from Hyundai's Alabama site, which has been running on three shifts since the fall of 2012.

Ed Kim, an analyst with AutoPacific, remarked that Hyundai’s dependability rankings are unlikely to hurt the brand in the near term. He noted that most consumers pay more attention to J.D. Power's initial-quality rankings. He, however, also noted that poor dependability scores should serve as a red flag for a brand that already worked for years improving its quality reputation.

"We've finally reached the point where people have far fewer prejudices against Hyundai's quality," Kim said. "The poor VDS performance is a warning sign to Hyundai because it takes a lot of time and money to build and rebuild a reputation for quality, which they've successfully done for a long time since introducing their 100,000-mile warranty.“

The all-new Hyundai Sonata features a long and low exterior as defined by a high beltline, a long, sleek roofline and a third window.

When viewed in profile, the monoform side of the new Sonata reveals flowing lines accentuated by a Hyundai signature chrome accent running its full length. This type of trim – usually found around the windows – now runs from the headlamps, along the hood and through the beltline.

Completing the profile of the new Sonata are multi-spoke wheels with sized from 16 inches to 18 inches. The exterior of the Sonata is rounded up on the front by a large chrome grille and precisely detailed headlamps.

Inside, the new Sonata features a sophisticated appearance that allows it to offer an upscale ambiance. This was made possible by its flow-through center console and instrument panel, which has flowing surfaces that elegantly complement the vehicle’s exterior design.

Hyundai was able to take advantage of its expertise in interior packaging to provide the Sonata with an interior that isn't just comfortable, but also practical and functional. Although a sleek roofline usually results to compromised headroom and cabin volume, the new Hyundai Sonata offers the most interior volume among its rivals at 120.2 cubic feet.

In fact, the Sonata is spacious enough to be classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a large car. On the other hand, rivals like Altima, Camry, Fusion and Malibu are classified a class below as Midsize cars. In terms of trunk room, the Sonata offers 16.4 cu. ft., which is 9.3 percent and 17.1 percent larger than the Camry and the Accord, respectively.

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