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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me just start by saying I love my '11 SE and I like the ride, handling, feel, etc of the sport suspension and tires. However, my wife has spinal injuries from a car accident a few years ago and on rough roads and long drives, the suspension is downright painful for her. So I'm trying to figure out what to do to make things better for her.

My first thought was putting different tires on the current 18" rims.
Or, maybe I replace the 18" rims with 16" and put some really cushy tires on it. I know it will affect handling but I don't push the car to the limit often enough for it to really matter. It's not really a sports car.

A second thought was to put the GLS springs, shocks and stabilizer bars on it, with or without the tire changes.

A third, and my least favorite, option is to get rid of the car and buy something with a softer ride. I test drove a '13 Limited this weekend and it really wasn't much of an improvement with the 17" wheels. Is the GLS a significant improvement in ride stiffness with the 16" wheels and tires?

I also test drove a '13 Azera. It had a very nice ride that my wife liked. I also really like the car and looks, I just can't bring myself to buy a $30K+ car when I only owe $10K on a very nice Sonata SE.

I'm considering test driving newer model Camry and Accord, along with the Kia Optima in standard trim with 16" wheels to see how they compare. And, I'm also thinking about a late model Lexus ES350 with a price in the high teens to low 20's.

I guess I'm just looking for opinions of others who have had similar experiences or thoughts on the matter.

- Marc
 

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Too be honest, IMO I don't think it's the suspension. Maybe it's the seats. Have you tried a back cushion for her?

My mom has the same problem with her car and she has a really nice memory foam cushion that she put together for herself by getting some materials at a fabric store.
 

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Yeah i agree try a seat cushion first. Have her try sitting on a pillow first just to make sure it will help her. If it hopefully does you can make a nice cushion yourself or find someone that does upholstery work and they could probably make you something to match your interior and will stay in place. The passenger seat in these cars sit low as it is so she might even like sitting up a little higher.

Sent from my SCH-I535
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She already sits on a cushion to get her up a little higher, she's 5'1". I hadn't thought about trying to find some sort of other seat cushion though. That's a good idea and a cheap thing to try before having to change cars.

I know I could find some huge American land yacht that would feel like it's riding on clouds but I don't want that. This is my daily driver car and I want a balance between size, comfort and fuel economy. How does the GLS ride on stock tires or higher quality stock-sized tires?
 

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16" or 17" wheels will help with a 215/60/16 or 215/55/17 grand touring tire like a Michelin Defender or GY ComfortTreds. The side walls are softer and offers a comfortable tire.

My in-laws just bought a 2014 Camry XLE and they are enjoying the comfortable quiet ride.
 

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Im not sure there's anything you can do to your sonata to make a huge improvement on the softness of the ride. I've driven the gls, limited and the se which i own and i really didn't feel a very noticeable difference. If your going to look for another vehicle i would highly recommend the camry xle for a soft comfortable ride. Stay away from the camry se because it rides the same as the sonata se. I own both a camry xle & camry se. If i have to take a long trip i always use my xle.


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Yeah... I dunno. SE is pretty rock hard with its suspension. Granted the 18" wheels don't do any favors to make it pleasant either. Maybe tires will help? The OEM hankooks are just absolute trash. I had one on a ford focus, when I replaced it with a Bridgestone it was silky smooth. But there's only so much it can do if the suspension is rough in the first place.

Best bet would be to trade it in. I found the Limited to have a lot smoother suspension. A lot of reviews on youtube say it gives you a muted feeling of the road.
 

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I agree, my 2011 SE is a bit tough, but I changed from the OEM Hankook tires to a couple of Michelin and it has improved alot. I don't know how much it will improve your wife's situation, but I would recommend you start there since it is the easiest change you can make out of your current options.

Also, I'd recommend changing to a Accord if possible as it is the closest sub for the Sonata.
 

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Yeah... I dunno. SE is pretty rock hard with its suspension. Granted the 18" wheels don't do any favors to make it pleasant either. Maybe tires will help? The OEM hankooks are just absolute trash. I had one on a ford focus, when I replaced it with a Bridgestone it was silky smooth. But there's only so much it can do if the suspension is rough in the first place.

Best bet would be to trade it in. I found the Limited to have a lot smoother suspension. A lot of reviews on youtube say it gives you a muted feeling of the road.
I agree and we traded in a perfectly good 2010 Elantra SE with only 22K miles on it for our LTD because of the harsh ride of the Elantra. Even after installing the Nameless SB and larger "SPORT" rear sway bar the overall ride quality was not negatively effected. It's maybe not the cross country touring car of a Caddy, etc., but for our use as our everyday "beater" car it fits our needs perfectly. For unrelated reasons I have replaced the stock KUMHO tires with Michelin Primacys and that improved overall ride quality also IMO.

Larry
 

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Michelin Primacy MXM4s will help plenty with the ride.

I had Conti DWS's before those and they were better than the OEM Hankook 431's but still stiffer than the Michelins.

Also, consider lowering your air pressure to about 32 or 33. It will keep the TPMS light off but help a bit with ride at the expense of gas mileage. (I know its not recommended but this is just a suggestion)

Otherwise, there are not too many low $$ fixes for this. You could see if there are softer springs/struts available or follow your mind and trade it in. Just warning you, the Limited is going to feel very numb to you after riding in the SE. Its suspension is a faux plush ride, not as nice as the Azera because its too soft.

However that's just how SE Sonatas are set up. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

FWIW I am also not married and I ride by myself 99% of the time.
 

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camry will give the softest ride...bar none, except for the ES

accord probably next

sonata/optima similar

don't know about about the new fusion.
 

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I test drove a '13 Sonata SE 2.4, the ride and road noise was horrible. I tried the Sonata Limited 2.4 and that was a big improvement. Hyundai lost the sale on 2 points, dash intrusion on my knee and sunroof. I went with a KIA Optima EX. The ride was equal to the 2.4 Limited. Didn't try the Fusion, they hadn't made it to the dealers. Ford has always been good on ride comfort. FYI, Toyota quality has fallen off over the past few years. I would go with a Honda over a Toyota.
 

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If you are really considering a new car, test drive a VW CC. Wife owns one and the ride is one of the softest I've ever rode on. Plus it's a turbo, handles really well and technology is top notch. And it's one of the few models still made in Germany.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've wondered about the VW CC. I think it's a very sharp looking car. I don't have a clue on pricing and reliability. On the note of them being made in Germany, I also like the fact of the Lexus ES is still being made in Japan. I have a Land Cruiser as well and that's one of the few Japan assembled Toyotas you can get here. We would just drive the Land Cruiser all the time but it gets horrible fuel economy at 12 MPG, being all-wheel drive, weighing close to 6,000 lbs and having a smallish 4.7L V8 to push all that around. But, having said that, I could still keep the Sonata and just always drive the LC when we are doing things as a family. Sure the fuel bill will go up a bit but how much will that compare to the cost of a new car? I'd probably be surprised if I did the math.
 

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I've wondered about the VW CC. I think it's a very sharp looking car. I don't have a clue on pricing and reliability. On the note of them being made in Germany, I also like the fact of the Lexus ES is still being made in Japan. I have a Land Cruiser as well and that's one of the few Japan assembled Toyotas you can get here. We would just drive the Land Cruiser all the time but it gets horrible fuel economy at 12 MPG, being all-wheel drive, weighing close to 6,000 lbs and having a smallish 4.7L V8 to push all that around. But, having said that, I could still keep the Sonata and just always drive the LC when we are doing things as a family. Sure the fuel bill will go up a bit but how much will that compare to the cost of a new car? I'd probably be surprised if I did the math.

Quick and dirty on the VW CC

Price--mid to high for the class. A stripped down version will be about 26K the same price as the Sonata Limited brand new. Start adding options and you are going to hit 30 K very quickly. That's asking a lot for a front driver with very little headroom.

Reliability--this car comes with the tried and true 2.0l TSI motor. No major mechanical issues that I can think of but the DSG gearbox takes some getting used to. Its really jumpy if you are used to traditional x-speed trannies. Otherwise, VW quality has been on the rise and they are starting to gain eek up in the reliability ratings. Still lower than Hyundai IIRC.

Also note that it will require premium unleaded as it is a turbo car.

I believe that VW has considred producing these at the new Chattanooga TN plant due to the high cost of importing them to the US.

BTW--mileage is decent but nothing to write home about. The CC is sexy, but a bit chubby.
 

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Too be honest, IMO I don't think it's the suspension. Maybe it's the seats. Have you tried a back cushion for her?

My mom has the same problem with her car and she has a really nice memory foam cushion that she put together for herself by getting some materials at a fabric store.

I agree!! My 2011 gls seats are crap allready. I am doing a katskinz upgrade soon. Going to get new foam also.
 
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