Episode 332 – Toyota Concealed Evidence?, Akio Toyoda Will Testify, New Cars At Geneva

February 19th, 2010 at 12:24pm

Runtime 8:15

A former lawyer for Toyota says he has evidence the company deliberately concealed evidence regarding roll-overs. Akio Toyoda says he will testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives. A look at more of the new cars coming out at the Geneva auto show. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit about how Toyota is handling its crisis from a public relations standpoint.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Toyota, the company, is accused of concealing evidence. Toyoda, the man, will testify in the U.S. Congress. And a look at more of the new cars coming out at the Geneva auto show.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, February 19, 2010. And now, the news.

It could be a smoking gun or just a disgruntled former employee, but a former lawyer for Toyota says he has evidence the company deliberately concealed evidence regarding roll-overs. According to Reuters, Dimitrios Biller, who once headed a legal team that defended Toyota in rollover accidents, took 6,000 documents with him when he left in 2007. He has since sued Toyota under U.S. racketeering laws, as well as for wrongful termination and emotional distress. Now the U.S. House panel that is investigating the automaker has subpoenaed those documents. Toyota denies the allegations.

First he said no, then he said maybe, then he said yes. Now, Akio Toyoda says he will testify in front of the US House of Representatives House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform next Wednesday. And while that is the correct decision, it is going to turn into a media circus that could either boost Toyota’s image, or hurt it even more.

And this isn’t going to help Toyota, either. The Detroit News reports that the U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, says he’s still not satisfied with the moves Japan took to make American cars qualify for Japan’s cash for clunkers program. At first Japan excluded all American cars, but under pressure from the U.S. government it allows a handful to qualify.

Yesterday GM announced it will invest nearly half a billion dollars to upgrade three of its plants to produce the next-generation Ecotec engine. The investment includes facility renovation, new machinery, equipment and special tooling. GM’s plants in Tonawanda, New York; Defiance, Ohio; and Bay City, Michigan, will get the investment.

We’ve got some more news to report coming out ahead of the Geneva Motor Show. Volkswagen just released info about its new Polo GTI. The upgraded hatchback is equipped with a 1.4-liter TSI engine and a standard seven-speed DSG. Thanks to a supercharger AND a turbocharger, output is 132 kW or about 180 horsepower. Fuel consumption is down significantly to 5.9 L/100 km which is about 40 miles per gallon.

Ford will also make news in Geneva, showing two revamped versions of its C-MAX, as well as some powertrain upgrades for the Kuga and Mondeo. The company’s refreshed MPV is available in two configurations, a five-passenger version and a seven-passenger version called the Grand C-MAX. The seven-seat model features a higher roofline and thinner pillars for more interior space. Both versions share a new HMI, or human-machine interface that should be similar to the MyFord Touch system we reported on the other day. They’ll also share upgraded engines including a new 1.6-liter EcoBoost four cylinder. The company’s Kuga crossover gets an upgraded diesel engine that’s more powerful and more efficient. The Mondeo sedan also gets some under-hood upgrades including a new 200 horsepower EcoBoost four.

Speaking of boost, Autoblog is running this story. Someone over in England swapped a 2003 Focus RS drivetrain into a Transit Connect. The tuned 2.0-liter delivers 275 horsepower on gasoline or 200 on LPG. That’s right; this commercial van was also modified to run on propane. Pretty cool; I bet it’s the ultimate sleeper.

Coming up next, the experts weigh in on how Toyota has handled its current crisis from a public-relations standpoint.

Toyota has two crises on its hands. One seems to be a technical problem with its cars, the other is how its been handling this issue in the court of public opinion. On this week’s Autoline Detroit I have three experts evaluating how Toyota has handled all this from a public-relations standpoint. Maria Leonhauser is the president of Franco Public Relations, Paul Haelterman is vice president of CSM Worldwide, and Christie Nordhielm is a professor at the University of Michigan. Here’s a bit of what they have to say about Toyota.

You can catch that entire interview later today at our website autolinedetroit.tv.

Ok, it’s Friday and you know what that means. It’s time to answer this week’s trivia question. We asked you to name all the car company brands that Volkswagen AG owns outright. And the correct answer is it’s Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche and Scania. And the winner is Michael Colvin from Shreveport, Louisiana. Congratulations Michael, you’ve just won a World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars Xbox 360 video game.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, Car Chat, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

50 Comments to “Episode 332 – Toyota Concealed Evidence?, Akio Toyoda Will Testify, New Cars At Geneva”

  1. GUY FIROR Says:

    IT WORRIES ME WHEN AN ARTICLE HAS THE WORD LAWYER IN THE FIRST SENTENCE
    TRANSIT HAS A GREAT FUTURE WHEN CONSTRUCTION PICKS BACK UP

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t understand the brouhaha about Japan’s not allowing American cars to be sold there, “cash for clunkers” or otherwise. How many American cars are made in RHD versions? Very few. We don’t allow new RHD cars to be sold here, except postal vehicles, etc., so why should we expect our LHD cars to legal for general sale in Japan?

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit:You forget that American cars are also in England,which is also RHD.My point is,we make em.

    As for toyota’s ever increasing problems,told ya’ll it would get worse.There is still more “dirt” yet to emerge.Stay tuned….

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    We make a few RHD cars, but very few. For some reason, they allow them to be sold in the UK. There are a few Corvettes there, but they are LHD.

  5. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >First he said no, ….. then he said yes.
    >Now, Akio Toyoda says he will testify
    >in front of the US House of Represent
    >atives House Committee on Oversight
    >and Government Reform next Wednesday.

    If it is necessary for Akio Toyoda to testify before the House of Representatives, there is one policy I believe is essential: NO TELEVISION CAMERAS!

    When you consider how many members of Congress are given to moral exhibitionism and self-righteous unctiousness, having the New York centered TV networks present will kill whatever hope we might otherwise have for a fair, impartial hearing.

    If we keep the TV networks out of it, there is a much greater chance the Toyota crisis can be resolved in a manner that’s best for all of us.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I meant, for some reason they allow LHD cars to be sold in the UK.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Akio Toyoda is asking for 4 hand picked congressmen, a handful of Toyota executives, 2 cameras and no questions at the congressional hearings.

  8. LEX Says:

    If Akio Toyoda appears before Congress, it’s going to be a blood bath for Toyota. Congress raked GM, Ford and Chrysler executives over the flaming coals when they appreared before Congress looking for a bailout. If you can link those Toyota Recalls to American Deaths
    they will take away his passport and throw him in jail! Jason Vines had the best scenario for Akio Toyoda appearing before Congress. Toyota should cut Jason a Big Fat Check to his favorite charity for his suggestion. Congress will be saying: Don’t Toy with us Mr. Toyoda!

  9. Andy S Says:

    Alex, did you feel the same way about “impartial hearings” back in November of 2008 when Rick, Bob, and Alan testified to Congress? Are you afraid Americans will start to realize that Toyota is not as American as they’d like to believe?

    And before you reply, let’s put this into perspective. Rick and Bob had to go to Congress for a financial disaster (some of it due to their own doings and some of it due to the stupidity of bankers and Congress). Akio needs to go to Congress because the safety of innocent Americans is in question. Americans need to know when Toyota started to care about their safety.

    If this was an American-based company, all of the documents will be easily “discovered”, but I wonder how forthcoming Toyota will be in presenting communications and engineering documents from Toyota City.

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I have zero faith that Toyota will come clean and own up to a LONG running denial/knowledge that they built some dangerous products.I have doubts about our congress asking any real “tough” questions too.

  11. DukeT Says:

    It never fails to amaze just how uninformed the American public (even “car guys”) are . . . when it comes to trade policies.

    I suggest that that some of you actually travel to Japan or S Korea before you come to some of these conclusions. Visit the commercial centers and note from where the products come . . . what is available to the Japanese(or Korean public).

    Or you could just read all of this(in my numerous travels to Japan – I have found them to be very accurate):
    http://www.iankitching.me.uk/articles/japanyes-3rd.html )

    My brother’s wife is from Germany (legally btw) and the Germans are very protectionist too. She sends her parents a package every month – because American goods are not available there either.

    Wake up!

  12. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Its Strange how many people cry about Korea not opening up their industry, but when it comes to Japan they shut their mouthes. Thanks John for bringing that out about Japan. I knew it, but no one ever mentions it.

    However the Germans arent all that kosher either. I never hear anything said about them. But that goes back to my argument I had a few days earlier, and many of you know what Im talking about.

    Unlike Germany or Japan, Korea works with US automakers, so you see plenty of US cars on the road in Korea, just badged as a Korean product. Then agan it is a Korean product since Korean “car guys” that are doing most of the grunt engineering work for GM anyway these days. As I said before, I stll think Daewoo will be the source point for all GM products eventually. The US engineers are about to have a rude ass awakening when they get outsourced by Koreans who can do a better job, and wont over engineer a car to make it unfixable in your garage either. Simple Korean engineering is what GM wants, and they are going to get it too.

    Nobody makes cars easy to fix like erector sets anmore, well except the Koreans.

  13. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >Alex, did you feel the same way
    >about “impartial hearings” back
    >in November of 2008 when Rick,
    >Bob, and Alan testified to Congress?

    I am still ticked off at the moral unctiousness some congresspeople demonstrated with regard to U.S. auto execs arriving in corporate jets. Does anybody honestly expect a fine executive like Alan Mulally to possibly risk assassination by traveling in other than a limousine or corporate plane?

    I can’t emphasize enough that the purpose of the auto industry – whether its GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Hyundai, or any other OEM – is providing decent cars for the public in exchange for money. It is NOT their purpose, as I see it, to provide lifelong jobs for American autoworkers.

    >Are you afraid Americans will start
    >to realize that Toyota is not as
    >American as they’d like to believe?

    The question of whether its fair for us to be buying Japanese cars when folks over in Japan are not allowed to buy ours, is best left to each individual’s conscience. In other words, if you don’t want to buy a Toyota because you don’t like Japan resorting to protectionism, then fine – don’t buy a Toyota, Honda, Subaru, et cetera. Just don’t force ME to buy only cars that are 95% domestically sourced.

    Right now, I might not want to buy another Toyota (I have a 2005 Corolla). But that doesn’t have anything to do with foreign versus domestic cars per se. To me, business is business. If any make or model of car develops a reputation for being a lemon, I’ll pass it up no matter which company builds it or where it is built.

  14. Jim Says:

    Maybe if the head of a company tells everybody how important a market like North America is to his company he could take some time to learn english. I know years ago they always hammered America companies for not speaking Japanese stating they were not doing thier homework to do buisness in Japan. Of course we know with the hand shakes buddy buddy deals that the Japanese companies have you were not going to sell any product there anyway, plus all the policy’s to keep out any competition. So how is not learning our language a good reason for not explaining things, well as far as I’m concerned it’s not.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Lest we forget, the faulty components were built by American or Canadian suppliers, I’m sure they did not follow exact manufacturing specs, otherwise this would not have happened, (except Prius brake problem)

  16. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    John,

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/57615/bmw-5-series-gran-turismo-review/comment-page-1/#comment-185221

    BMW 5 Series GT review from Australia, Its done well over there. Like I said before, there are enough people in the world who love the thing.

  17. Nick Stevens Says:

    Protectionism is EVIL. We tried it in the 30s with DISASTROUS consequences, a horrible depression and WW II after it. Free trade is good for every nation that practices it.

    Germans would be damned fools to be protectionist, since until recently they were the qworld’s No. 1 Exsporeting nation (!!!) (a few mionths ago China passed them, I believe) and would not shoot themselves in the froot and INVITE retaliation by being protectionist.

    Korea in 88 was a US campaign issue, how protectionist it was, the union darling Gephardt made this a big issue. It seems protectionist can’t even win you a nomination.,.. LOL, Gephardt lost to little Mike Dukakis!!!

    Oh, and PS: A Corolla made in the USA from largely US parts is far more American in my book tghan any FOrd, GM or Chrysler vehicle made in Mexico.

    And if anybody says some thing about “but the profits stay in the US”, I ask, WHAT PROFITS??? Government Motors and Chrysker have not seen a profit since..?

  18. Nick Stevens Says:

    Toyota at a minimum has a public relations nightmare, but if this were to happen to any company, TOyota is bnest equipped to fight it (bottomless $ resources)

    February sales nos should be very interesting. But Toyota is offering some very sweet deals to retain existing toyota owners, so it may not lose as much sales as some think.

  19. Puremoose Says:

    Pedro. I was told the wiring harnesses were made in Mexico for Toyota. I don’t think Canadian or American companies made any of the Toyota the faulty components

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    Puremoose: I read on this website that the culprit parts were made in Canada, that’s just the problem with this mess. No one is talking clearly, too much cloak and dagger BS. It may be their cars, but it’s people’s lives in the balance.

  21. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Hoodlums over at Chyrsler Threaten a High School in a time were many schools cant even afford toilet paper over RAM mascot.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/02/20/chrysler-legal-turns-into-school-bully-over-use-of-ram-logo/#comments

  22. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    That says it all Chyrsler deserves everything bad that happens to them. Get those bums out of My Country.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    That’s efingdiculous with all the problems they got, they should put their energies into making cars that people actually might want to buy. I suppose next they’ll sue the St’ Louis Rams also.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ps. Chrysler just announced they’ll offer Toyota owners incentives to get into one of their POS, I’d rather drive a Toyota with a stuck accelerator pedal and iffy power steering than one of their crapmobiles. At least the Toyota can be fixed and problem gone.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Chrysler or is it Fiat? also announced Fiat clones replacements for the Sebring/Avenger, Pt and Caliber in 2 years, in the meantime who in their right mind is gonna buy the current models knowing they’ll be obsolete and have plummeting trade-in value in just 2 years.

  26. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Exactly Pedro, yet people stll want to defend them.

    These guys are Corporate Thugs, Hoodlums, and Gangbangers.

    To those People who defend this Company:

    Maybe?

    You Deserve to be lied to by these Companies.

    You Deserve to be poisoned by these Companies

    You Deserve to have your job/income/livelihood treated like a $20 Prostitute by these Companies

    You Deserve these Companies to influence legistlators so your life can be more difficult as they turn this once shining Republic into a full blown police state

    You Deserve to live in a Corporatist Police State

    Look at the way you treat Obama. Maybe you or none of us deserves his help.

    Just Maybe, right?

  27. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro they claim this new Sebring and PT will be significant refreshes of those cars to the point that they will be radically different cars.

    I absolutely hate this company, as much as I love Hyundai. That’s REALLY bad when its someone like me who grew up in a Chrysler family saying this.

  28. DukeT Says:

    [Nick Stevens Says:
    February 19th, 2010 at 9:12 pm
    Protectionism is EVIL. We tried it in the 30s with DISASTROUS consequences, a horrible depression and WW II after it. Free trade is good for every nation that practices it.]

    Nick, that is really a very poor analogy. The stupidity of the Smoot-Hawley Act was – WE had a trade SURPLUS at the time with every country. That angered everyone else (not surprisingly). That does not equate with current times when WE have a TRADE DEFICIT with almost every major country that we do trade with . . . and the only thing that is going to get us out of this recession is jobs. The best way we can put America back to work (to reverse massive job loss) is to mandate Fair Trade.

    What has been happening to us is the de-industrialization of America. The weakest sectors,in terms of jobs, has been in manufacturing. The number of manufacturing jobs peaked in 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president, and fell in every administration since, with the exception of a small gain in the Clinton years. The decline in the previous administration, at a rate of 3.1 percent per year, is the steepest ever seen in this country.

    When Geo. W took office, nearly 13 percent of American jobs were in manufacturing. As of November 2007, that figure fell below 10 percent for the first time ever, and at last measure was 9.95 percent. My guess is that figure was much lower by the end of 2008.

    The lion share of the debt owed to foreign countries is because of the trade deficit (China = almost a trillion dollars now).

    A deficit is a deficit, is a deficit – and this is one that can be eliminated fairly easily. It just takes a set of ______ that puts our country first (just like all other countries do). Private sector jobs are much better than public sector jobs – unless, of course, you like paying lots and lots of future taxes (when the economy is turned around). I am not sure, but I would be surprised if we have a positive trade balance with any country – certainly not any of our “trading partners”.

    All that is necessary is for them to open their markets to the same extent that our market is open (hence the term – Fair). OR, we adopt reciprocal policies to the importation of their products (as they treat – our products).

    They can make as many cars HERE as they want. But unless they allow the same access (ever notice that their isn’t a single foreign manufacturing plant in Japan?) to their market – then shut them down to the same level ( importation into our country) – that they allow (into their country).

    We can pay back that debt to China, Japan, etc – with a trade surplus – or taxes. Which would you prefer?

  29. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Like I said before MiTo is a Blatant Accent hatch RIPOFF (I know becuase I own an Accent hatch). The oveall design porportions, and the rear window as well. Im sicking to my assessment too.

    The Gauges in the next Gen Charger look like my Accent as well.

    We need to put these guys out of business and quick.

  30. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Hey Guys, I went to the Dealer, and the Sonatas have fnally arrived.

    The dealer had Camry, Fusion, Sebring, Last Gen TSX, VW CC there as comparative cars.

    1. The Sonata interior is on a whole different planet than Fusion. Fusion compared to Sonata is a very overrated car.

    2. The Camry is a Joke on the interior front.

    3. It looks 10 times better in person.

    4. Sebring is a Chinese Car compared to Sonata.

    5. VW CC is very damm competitive in the interior department. They are equally matched.

    6. Sonata’s interior= as good as Last gen TSX.

  31. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Actually I dont understand how the Fusion won NACOTY, unless it was a nod to Ford saying “Thanks you actually have a good US Ford product.”

    Fusion interior is on par with Last gen Sonata. I was not impressed at all, with all the Ford Hoopla I expected so much better.

  32. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Fuison interior is on par with the cheapest Last Gen Sonata GLS trim actually. Im being nice about it, becuase I realy think its worse than that. Its on par with Current gen KIA Optima.

    I did not like that Fusion at all, very dissappointng.

    1. The Interior is bland,

    2. The fit and finish is good (for an American product), but if it was a Hyundai id be very pissed, and would call a number up to speak to someone on the inside about it.

    3. The seat materials are rock bottom quality. Just from the interior I wouldnt bother driving one.

    Ford still has a long way to go to impess me. I have been actually impressed with Ford today until I saw the Fusion today and got dissappointed.

  33. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    After looking at that Fusion interior, I almost want to take back the good things I said about Ford.

    The Sonata should be treated like a near luxury product, and not an Economy car product in my eyes after today.

    Maybe I shoulnt judge the Fusion or Camry to Sonata. Its not really a fair comparison, honestly. Fusion or Camry is not even on the samee planet as Sonata, and this is not Hyundai Fan Boy talk, this is just plan and simple honest observation.

    Sonata is a Mercury Milan, if Ford did it better.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    But how do they DRIVE? That, I suspect, is where the VW’s would be be far and away above the Fusion or the Sonata.

  35. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Frommy ecpeince today ether:

    A. The Media is flat out lying and overhyping the “new Ford.”

    B. The cars from “Old Ford” were absolutely attrocious, and compared to those the Fusion is really something.

  36. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I didnt test them Kit, but I can live in Sonata everyday and I can live in VW CC everyday. Camry and Fusion would be a step backwards for me on the interior front. I want to go Foward.

  37. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Hyundai usually just follows the same rubric in the passenger cars, and if the next gen Accent’s interior is that good (Which its looking like it will) plus the estimated power outputs MINI Cooper and Golf have another serious bonafide competitor on its hands.

    The Limited Sonata= it’s almost illegal on how they are prcing it. $25K for a car that has an interior almost on par with Genesis. Yeah, the powers that be might get pissed an make it illegal for Hyundai to do that.

  38. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    After Seeing that Sonata, it may have been a good idea to separate Equus, etc… from the Hyundai Family Car and Compact lineup, but now I think its a stupid Idea.

    Just keep em all together Hyundai, and if you continue to make cars like that you will get the respect you’re looking for.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    The big issue these automakers face is the ever-increasing price of their new models, I’m sure the next gen Elantra is going to be priced where the old Sonata was and the upcoming Accent will be priced at where the current Elantra is now, in other words, you have to spend the same $ to get a lower category car. And this is the same with just about every other maker too!

  40. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro with what Hyundai is putting in their cars the next gen Elantra should start at $20K,the Next Accent should be $18K but of Course it wont.

    If Hyundai was a Japanese or German make both cars would start at those prices.

    Hyundai has pricing secrets only a few people truly notice.

    1. They always raise prices by $1500-$2000 at mid cycle (2-3 years in) of a model.

    2. Sonata started at $16.5K when it first came out in 2006, then at mid cycle in 2008 it went up to $18.5K (it did go through a significant interior refresh, and a somewhat major exterior refresh to make it look more sophisiticated).

    3. They always price the next gen model $500-$1500 more than the mid cycle refresh.

    4. Elantra GLS Started in 07 at about $14.5k. Its gone up by nearly $2300 since then. I see it costing $400-$700 more to start for a Next Gen GLS. So about $17-$17.5 for the GLS. However, they will sneak in a cheaper Blue variant that will probably be $15K.

    5. Accent GS Hatch Started at $10.5K in 07. Today its starts at $13K. So its gone up by $2500. I expect Next Gen to be no more than $14K to start (Price of Elantra Blue), but I think it will be more like $13.5K to start.

    6. The Accent Blue will be in the Sedan next time, and since the sedan started at $12K originally but now its $13.6 to start (about the price of a KIA Forte). I expect it to be about $14K to start. I do however, expect the Blue to be about $13K.

    Yeah, for now on the Hyundai will the cost tne same as or very close to the next larger KIA.

    Accent=Price of a KIA Forte
    Elantra=Price of a KIA Optima
    Sonata=Price of a KIA Cadenza
    Tuscon=Price of a KIA Sorrento

    It kills a few birds with one stone.

    1. To position Hyundai upmarket.
    2. To get more people to buy KIAs than Hyundais.
    3. To make KIA Rio be the company’s cheapest car in America.
    4. To make KIA Soul be Cheaper than Accent.

  41. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Custromer Reviews-The First Day 2011 Hyundai Sonata:

    Fantastic Re-Design

    Written by: Rich27517 on 02/05/2010

    Detailed Ratings
    Overall Rating

    Performance: 9 Fun-to-Drive: 9 Build Quality: 10
    Comfort: 10 Interior Design: 10 Reliability: 10
    Fuel Economy: 9 Exterior Design: 10

    Vehicle

    2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

    Review

    The new Sonata is a fantastic car. Mine is a Limited, silver with black leather. The styling is eye- catching and elegant. The interior is near luxury. Excellent quality and build. Seats are extremely comfortable and the sound system is excellent. The car drives more like a German sports sedan than an Asian family car. Plenty of zoom, corners well. Ride is firm, controlled, and supple. I never thought I could get so enthusiastic a family sedan! Rear headroom sufficient for 6 footer but no taller because of sloping roofline. Reminds me of VW CC but much more practical.

    Favorite Features

    Styling, driving experience, comfort, and quality.

    Suggested Improvements

    Trunk opening a little smaller than previous model.

  42. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Best Car in the Midsize Category.

    Written by: Richard38 on 02/06/2010

    Detailed Ratings
    Overall Rating

    Performance: 10 Fun-to-Drive: 10 Build Quality: 10
    Comfort: 10 Interior Design: 10 Reliability: 10
    Fuel Economy: 10 Exterior Design: 10

    Vehicle

    2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

    Review

    Just took delivery of a 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE Pearl White. Sticker-$23,650-Options-Pearl White Paint-$200, Floor Mats $100, IPod Cable-$35. Looked at Accord EX and Camry SE. Car is far superior to both, larger, better equiped, XM Radio Standard. Offered a unbelievable deal on the Camry SE, but the new Sonata is a much nicer and better equipped car.

    Favorite Features

    Handling, Ride, Gas Mileage, Comfort, Styling and XM Radio.

    Suggested Improvements

    Cannot add Factory Sunroof on SE without purchasing Navigation.

    2 out 2 people found this review helpful

  43. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Outstanding Redesign & Value

    Written by: John of Columbus,NC on 02/10/2010

    Detailed Ratings
    Overall Rating

    Performance: 10 Fun-to-Drive: 10 Build Quality: 10
    Comfort: 10 Interior Design: 10 Reliability: 10
    Fuel Economy: 10 Exterior Design: 10

    Vehicle

    2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

    Review

    I traded in a 2009 Hyundai Sonata Limited. The 2011 Sonata Limited is more then I expected. The car is more comfortable than any car in the past. At highway speeds it holds the road with secure steering. The exterior is handsome and the black leather interior is the perfect contrast to the Radiant Silver interior. The Dimension sound system is clear and balanced. It has everything you could ask for except navigation. I have a Garmin GPS for that. What a great automobile. Hyundai does it right.

    Favorite Features

    Daytime running lights, side mirror-mounted turn signals, beautiful leather seats which are also comfortable, 6 speed automatic, 4 cyl engine, gets better than rated mpg, push button start, terrific warranty, and a great dealer.

    Suggested Improvements

    I cannot at this time think of anything that is missing except power passenger seat

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …but there’s no Sonata wagon. Just another generic front-drive sedan.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Is this Sonata the same platform as the previous one? or is it all new from the ground up? Ps Had to rent a car over the weekend, this time time I took a trip back to the 80′s. I got a Cobalt 2 door POS, holy crap, GM should remove all emblems from this car and claim it’s Chinese of Indian or something else.

  46. Nick Stevens Says:

    Re the new Sonofanata:

    I’m sure BMW/Rolls Royce should be very worried.

    NOT!!!

  47. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro:

    GM has planned to replace the Execrable Cobalt-Cavalier-Whatever Pitiful Civic fighters it got in the past with the new Cruze.

    If it cheapens the Cruze to save a few bucks to pay its clown CEO’s Whiteacre’s $9 million a year salary, GM and its owner our Government will bitterly regret it.

    because the civic and the corolla are not new models, a new civic is coming out soon, and I bet the cruze will not be as good even as the existing civic.

  48. bobek Says:

    Pedro give the domestics a chance ! I bet the new Cruze will be better than the foreign competition….like Malibu, Equinox, Traverse, & my personal favorite Impala…which I currently own a 2007 LT with 55K trouble free miles…I think the Civic is a very boring vehicle !

  49. pedro fernandez Says:

    GM has in its recent history, hyped up an upcoming model like it’s the car that’s going to revolutionize the industry and then when it comes: BIG disappointment. I remember all the BS regarding the Saturn and all the money invested and all the new technology, plastic body panels etc. When it finally came out, it wasn’t even as good as the previous gen Corolla, Sentra or Civic. So I’m a little dubious about any upcoming Detroit 3 products. I just hope I’m wrong this time.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The new Malibu and Equinox are pretty good, so I’m hoping for the best with the Cruze. I’m not holding my breath, though on its being as good as the Civic. I just hope it is a lot closer than Cobalt/Cavalier were.