2011 Hyundai Sonata First Drive

2011 Hyundai Sonata First Drive

Toyota launched a convertible version of its Camry sedan, and who could ever forget the Chrysler Sebring convertible, but now new reports are claiming Hyundai is planning to enter the affordable convertible market with a drop-top version of its new 2011 Sonata.

With the Toyota Solara and Pontiac G6 convertibles gone, Hyundai only has Chrysler as a competitor in this segment and could potentially make a killing with a convertible Sonata--if done right.

Lopping off the Sonata’s roof leaves a dramatically styled vehicle with chiseled flanks and plenty of character. Plus, with an upmarket folding hard-top the car could certainly be quite the looker. Of course, there’s also the chance that Hyundai could select a folding fabric roof in order to reduce costs and boost storage space when the roof is folded down.

If built, the convertible would likely feature the same engine choices as the sedan: a 200 horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in base trim and a 274 horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter in the more expensive 2.0T trim. Oh, production is unlikely to start until 2012 at the earliest in order for Hyundai to maximize sales of the sedan and build up a strong, loyal base of Sonata fans--something that shouldn’t be too hard to do with the stylish new 2011 model.

[Inside Line]