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After spending two months researching hatchbacks and wagons, I'm going to buy a 2011 Sonata! I was considering the hatch versions of the Mazda 3, Subaru Legacy, VW Golf TDI, and the Volvo C30. I've always liked the amount of crap you can put into a hatchback/wagon, but ****, that Sonata is a really beautiful-looking car! <drool>

I'm now trying to decide between the SE and Limited (and now might hold off for the hybrid? Ugh, decisions!). I know the physical differences in the Limited include leather seats, 17" wheels (vs. 18"), single exhaust, softer suspension, etc., but what made you choose one trim level over the other?

* How is the sound quality of the top of the line stereo in the SE vs. the Limited?
* How does a softer suspension in the Limited "feel" compared to the sportier suspension in the SE? What does the aftermarket strut bar do to the ride quality in the SE or the Limited?

Next step is going to see what AAA and Costco's car buying services have to offer vs. getting competing bids directly from 2 or 3 area dealers.
 

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I purchased a white Sonata SE/ Navi last Tuesday after contemplating the limited vs SE, normally aspirated vs Turbo for over a month. Having turned in our 07 Infiniti G35 in September I needed a 4 door sedan. The Infiniti is missed, however I feel the Sonata is nearly equal in all areas except the leather seats. The limited leather seats are poor quality when compared to the Infiniti IMHO. I really enjoy the cloth/ leather combo in the SE. Also I have a Lexus RX330 with Mark Levinson sound system and the Infiniti had a Bose sound system and I think the Dimension system in my Sonata is FAR superior to either of them. It finally came down to the deal I got, $25,5 for the SE while I couldn't find a limited under $28,0. I LOVE the dual exhaust and the 18" wheels. The engine is very stong and I've gotten 31-32 MPG since purchase, best mileage I've ever gotten out of ANY car this size. YMMV (literally).

Ray
 

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QUOTE (dalsik @ Oct 19 2010, 02:11 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=364440
After spending two months researching hatchbacks and wagons, I'm going to buy a 2011 Sonata! I was considering the hatch versions of the Mazda 3, Subaru Legacy, VW Golf TDI, and the Volvo C30. I've always liked the amount of crap you can put into a hatchback/wagon, but ****, that Sonata is a really beautiful-looking car! <drool>

I'm now trying to decide between the SE and Limited (and now might hold off for the hybrid? Ugh, decisions!). I know the physical differences in the Limited include leather seats, 17" wheels (vs. 18"), single exhaust, softer suspension, etc., but what made you choose one trim level over the other?

* How is the sound quality of the top of the line stereo in the SE vs. the Limited?
* How does a softer suspension in the Limited "feel" compared to the sportier suspension in the SE? What does the aftermarket strut bar do to the ride quality in the SE or the Limited?

Next step is going to see what AAA and Costco's car buying services have to offer vs. getting competing bids directly from 2 or 3 area dealers.
I do not own either, but from all the posts Ive read on this forum and the other car reviews out there, I can tell you that opinions vary wildly regarding the suspension of the SE. Some people love it, some people highly criticize its firmness. So regarding that aspect, I strongly urge you to drive both and decide for yourself! :)

Otherwise, welcome to the forum! :)
 

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QUOTE (Mike Eckman @ Oct 19 2010, 07:04 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=364475
I do not own either, but from all the posts Ive read on this forum and the other car reviews out there, I can tell you that opinions vary wildly regarding the suspension of the SE. Some people love it, some people highly criticize its firmness. So regarding that aspect, I strongly urge you to drive both and decide for yourself! :)

Otherwise, welcome to the forum! :)
which one are you planning to buy?
 

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QUOTE (shinigami @ Oct 19 2010, 08:13 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=364476
which one are you planning to buy?
I am going to get the SE. Ive driven both and I like the firmer suspension of the SE. My two current vehicles are a 98 Trans Am that is lowered 1.5", I have Bilsteins at all four corners, welded boxed subframe connectors front to back, and poly bushings everywhere. The car rides VERY firmly. My other vehicle is a motorcycle that is also lowered.

So, the SE will feel cushy to me! :)
 

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The SE isn't all that firm from a suspension standpoint. However the 18's are most likely the culprit for the "harshness" criticism. Neither the SE nor the Limited really gave me a "sporty" feeling coming from my 01 Maxima. But my ride on my Maxima changed quite a bit when I went from the 17" stockers to 18" Infiniti G wheels.

Like what was said before, opinions vary your best bet is to drive one (more than a few miles) to determine which is best for you.
 

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I got my SE with NAVI last month. It is best car for the money.

Before I got my SE, I was thinking between SE with navi vs LIMITED without navi. (almost same price)


SE with NAVI
Demension audio / Navi / Sunroof / Dual exhaust / 18" wheel / sports suspension / Leather+Fabric seat

LIMITED without NAVI
Demension audio / Sunroof / single exhaust / 17" wheel / soft suspension / Leather seat / Front & Rear heated seat / LED light on side mirror / Auto climate control


SE rides firmer but it's not rock hard. It is comfortable.
LIMITED rides softer but is is not a Camry soft. It is also comfortable.

It depends on your taste.
 

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I got the limited without navigation. i drove both. it came down to little things, since this is going to be our main vehicle for volleyball trips around the country. the limited has dual climate control (makes wife happy - which makes me happy!!). rear seat A/C ducts for the DD's in back. yes, the leather in the limited's isn't of the highest quality, but they will clean up better than the cloth/leather in the SE's. we also wanted little more cushier ride as it will be on the highway 90% of the time. went without navigation because i can get garmins for employee cost directly from garmin hq. no need for expensive map updates from dealers anymore!

with that being said...i do like the exterior look of the SE way better than the Limited, but, the 'asthetics' weren't enough for me to forego the above items, when we really sat down and decided what we are going to use the car for.

i am adding the strut brace from shark racing...which may or may not help. i figure, for $100, it can't hurt.
 

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Limited w/o Nav. Interior features won over exterior for me, because it's what I'm loooking at when I drive. As for the sportier ride of the SE, the only time I'm alone in the car is back and forth to work - 25 miles of straight CA uneven highway.

I like the 18" wheels and dual exhaust on the SE, but with a baby on the way, the leather is easier to clean; dual zone climate is a must w/ my wife; heated seats for all; rear A/C for the kids; and sunroof w/o having to get the Nav that I didn't need. I can change the rims later for a personal touch after I wear out the first set of tires.

Add in the screaming deal I got on the Limited and it was a no-brainer. Tried the Costco program, but got a better deal negotiating with a dealer that had the car I wanted in stock.

Dimension sound system has been great, although I may throw in a small sub for a little extra bass when I'm riding solo.
 

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QUOTE (Hyundai Family @ Oct 19 2010, 01:20 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=364561
Limited w/o Nav. Interior features won over exterior for me, because it's what I'm loooking at when I drive. As for the sportier ride of the SE, the only time I'm alone in the car is back and forth to work - 25 miles of straight CA uneven highway.

I like the 18" wheels and dual exhaust on the SE, but with a baby on the way, the leather is easier to clean; dual zone climate is a must w/ my wife; heated seats for all; rear A/C for the kids; and sunroof w/o having to get the Nav that I didn't need. I can change the rims later for a personal touch after I wear out the first set of tires.

Add in the screaming deal I got on the Limited and it was a no-brainer. Tried the Costco program, but got a better deal negotiating with a dealer that had the car I wanted in stock.

Dimension sound system has been great, although I may throw in a small sub for a little extra bass when I'm riding solo.

wow....you sound like me exactly!...less the baby part! :beer:
 

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I drove both quite a bit, and here's my take, but a comment first: there's NO leather on the SE; the areas that look like leather are vinyl, just like on the limited. The only leather areas on the limited is where the SE has cloth. And this is the case with most competitors, like the Accord, so you know.

Now to the suspension. Only the REAR suspension is different, so the difference we feel is mostly the tires indeed. And yes, the wheels are nicer too. I could have had an SE with nav or the limited for the same price, and chose the limited. And I've had many expensive sports cars, and currently own an M3 V8. The SE doesn't offer any 'sportiness' IMO, but it might make some folks feel better :grin:. The Sonata is not your car (at least the N/A 200HP version) if you want sportiness. Good day gang.
 

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QUOTE (elp_jc @ Oct 19 2010, 03:04 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=364578
there's NO leather on the SE; the areas that look like leather are vinyl, just like on the limited. The only leather areas on the limited is where the SE has cloth. And this is the case with most competitors, like the Accord, so you know.



I thought the seat and seatback bolsters are indeed leather, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
 

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Adding to my last post:
Info from Edmunds.com

Trim Engine Trans. Wheels Audio System Seating MSRP
Current Vehicle:
SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A) 2.4L inline 4 double overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve engine 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission 18 x 7.5 in. painted alloy 6-speaker, AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 Playback, element antenna leather/cloth upholstery $22,595
 

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Also from Edmunds.com

The sporty SE features all the above (except the navigation system and premium speakers) and adds 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, foglights, a dark chrome grille, a sport-tuned suspension, keyless ignition/entry, leather/cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. An optional package bundles a navigation system with premium speakers and a sunroof.
 

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When the Sonata's first came out, I was looking to buy an SE. I wanted a sunroof but didn't need the nav, so I held off for a few months almost buying a Tucson. I decided for a couple grand extra that I was going for the Limited. I'm so happy with my choice. I chose the Limited for the sunroof, dual climate, heated seats, and Dimension sound system. Couldn't be happier with my purchase.

I do find my Limited has a fairly stiff ride. I drove my friends Camry today and it's very smooth riding car and I definitely can see the difference.
 

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QUOTE (Mr.Wonderful @ Oct 19 2010, 03:22 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=364601
I thought the seat and seatback bolsters are indeed leather, along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The steering wheel is leather indeed (the little it has), so that qualifies as a 'leather upholstery'. Very few cars have leather bolsters due to excessive wear. Not even the Corvette ZR1. The limited bolsters and sides of seats NOT DIMPLED are vinyl, and a cheap one at that. Checked the SE it wasn't either. Only area I didn't check was under the knees. If it's not cloth, it's probably leather, since it is on the limited. The seats are so wide for skinny people that you never touch the bolsters once seated anyway. One look under good lighting conditions makes it obvious if it's leather or vinyl, even to the untrained eye. Heck, even $30K+ VW Passats and $40K+ BMWs are ALL vinyl (leatherette) unless equipped with the leather package. I have all leather seats on the M3 but you have to be ultra careful the way you climb in and out or you'd wear it in no time. That's why the Corvette has vinyl in those areas, as well as many other cars. My Accord also has vinyl all over except the middle panels. They call it 'leather SEATING surfaces' for a reason. In additon, whatever is leather is of the cheapest kind, coated with urethane; it's basically feels like vinyl anyway. If you want to believe the entire seats are wrapped in Connolly/Napa/Merino/etc. leather, that's fine with me :grin:; didn't want to start a leather war. Good evening.
 

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I have an SE with nav. I drove the SE and the Limited both and decided that the Limited just felt too floaty for me. I was looking for a sportier ride since I was coming out of a Mazda Protege 5, which while being a small wagon is still very sporty to drive. I needed something that compromised between sporty handling and a more comfortable ride. The SE fits that bill nicely. It's a much nicer ride than my Mazda but still fun enough to drive. (As for the leather vs. vinyl debate, I can tell you that whatever the upholstery, it resisted the pucker factor when I took an exit ramp a little hot and scared myself!)

You absolutely need to drive both though. Only you know what you're looking for and can decide which you like better.
 

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Wonder why Hyundai would lie and say we had leather bolsters when we don't?

No WMD's on standby. :whistling:

Ray
 
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