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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sad to see the Hyundai Sonata place 3rd when compared to the VW Passat and Toyota Camry.

What do you guys think about this comparison by Motor Trend?
From the December, 2011 issue of Motor Trend
By Ron Kiino
Photos Daniel Byrne

What you get when you mix the fast and the furious with a family
Your name doesn't have to be Andretti or Unser for your nuclear family to have a ferocious appetite for speed and power. Nor does it have to be Getty or Vanderbilt to afford a fast four-door that offers the requisite comforts and convenience of a modern sport/luxury sedan. In fact, for around $30,000, you can get into a powerful, speedy family-hauler that out-accelerates an early '90s 310-horsepower BMW M5 and 315-horse Mercedes-Benz 500E. Coincidentally enough, we have three of these bargain rockets right here with us: the 274-horsepower Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, the 268-horse Toyota Camry SE V-6, and the 280-horse Volkswagen Passat VR6. To the dragstrip!


Unfortunately for the Sonata, it was the only one that wasn't quicker than the aforementioned M5 and 500E. In fact, at 7.0 seconds to 60 and 15.4 at 91.5 mph to the quarter mile, the 2.0T barely edged the 200-horse Camry Hybrid. When comparing high-performance variants, being last is never a positive, especially when it's last by a lot. And the subpar performance wasn't just in straight-line stats; in all objective handling tests, the Sonata rose to the top in none. Hyundai eschewed a V-6 in favor of a turbo I-4, citing comparable power, less weight, and improved fuel economy. Acceleration was the slowest, and observed fuel economy nearly tied for last. And the 2.0T was indeed the lightest car of the three, but only by 35 pounds compared with the Camry.

In real-world duties, the 2.0-liter turbo felt plenty powerful and torquey. The ride, while not as compliant as the Passat's, was quiet and comfortable, if a bit too busy for our tastes. The four-wheel disc brakes offered up a firm pedal with ideal travel. And the interior was rated as attractive and high-quality, especially for a car with an as-tested price of only $25,505.

But you get what you pay for. In this case, a performance sedan high on promise but low on fulfillment.

The last time we compared the Camry SE V-6, back in February 2008, it beat the likes of Chevy Malibu, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima. We called it the "finest all-around mix of power, handling, room, and bells and whistles." In this test, the redesigned 2012 SE V-6 will have to settle for "second-finest all-around mix." But given how great the winner is, that title is nothing to be ashamed of.

Against its 3504-pound predecessor, the new SE V-6 preserves the 268-hp 2GR-FE engine and six-speed automatic; but thanks to a 134-pound weight loss, it is now considerably quicker. Zero to 60 takes a scant 5.8 seconds (yes, unlike the old 6.2-second car, the new Camry is officially a sub-6.0 sprinter) and the quarter mile just 14.2 at a heady 100.6 mph (versus 14.6 at 96.8). That '93 M5 and 500E? They needed 6.2 and 14.6 at 96.7, and 6.3 and 14.7 at 96.9, respectively.

This new SE is the first Camry to come with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters--which provided quick action and pleasing throttle-blip downshifts--as well as standard "twist-spoke" 18-inch alloys. The suspension boasts 15-percent-stiffer springs and shocks. But while the SE gripped for a respectable 0.81 g and lived up to its sporty badge, we do wish those springs and shocks were about 10 percent softer. As they are, the Camry's ride suffers, relaying just about every bump in the road. And speaking of bumps in the road, there was a big one the Camry just couldn't overcome.


We've established that the Camry SE V-6 was a speed demon, needing only 5.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. Well, the Passat, with its 280-horse narrow-angle V-6 and race-quick twin-clutch automatic, was even more demonic, requiring just 5.7 ticks. Through the quarter mile, the two stay tied at 14.2 seconds, but the Passat's 100.9-mph trap speed was a smidge higher.

Bragging rights? Just barely. But when that straight line begins to squiggle, the VW can brag to its VR6 heart's content. In both lateral acceleration (0.83 g) and the figure eight (26.9 seconds), the Passat handily outgunned the other two. Plus, in 60-to-0 braking, the Passat's brawny binders and meaty 235/45R18 Hankooks hooked up to halt the 3504-pound sedan in 119 feet, the shortest of the three.

Away from the test track, the Passat VR6 didn't lose any luster. Over our 30-mile drive loop, we scored it the highest in ride, road feel, refinement, and roominess. Add that to its being the quickest and most fun to drive, and you have is a sedan unmatched in its class.

We wish the Round Two contestants the best of luck. They'll need it.


· Registered
470 Posts
not too surprised,

sonata is turbo, hence the turbo lag may cause some delay in acceleration. It depends how they launched the car as well, spool up the turbine and launch or just punched the gas from dead stop, this is a day and night difference here

the camry actually looks surprisingly good not going to lie, games have been stepped up ALOT. the front looks like a tsx almost

and the passat... volkswagen/audi dual clutch tranny is what makes their cars so quick and precise. wonder how the sonata would perform with the dual clutch transmission? interior looks really upscale in the passat because its the 3.6, but ive personally sat in a base model passat at a dealership, it felt like plastic

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130 Posts
Maybe it's because im not a huge european vehicle fan but I really don't like the passat, VW could have done a better job. lets not forget how unreliable european vehicles can be.

The Camry just has a really cheap look going on and its just overrated.

I'd gladly take the Hyundai Sonata
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