Hyundai has made some changes to the 2013 Sonata, which is on sale now with some new standard equipment and a higher base price. “All 2013 Sonatas now come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission; the manual-transmission GLS is no longer available,” writes “Without the manual transmission, all Sonatas now get 24/35 mpg city/highway.”

The Sonata’s engines carry over unchanged, but since the affordable midsize car now has a standard automatic transmission, the base 2013 Sonata starts at $20,895 plus a $775 destination fee, which is a $1,100 increase over the base 2012 model. Motor Trend points out that the 2013 Sonata is $100 more than the base 2012 Sonata GLS when equipped with an automatic transmission.

SE and Limited Sonata trims also gain standard heated seats and new pricing. The SE trim sees a price increase of $150, while the Sonata Limited gets a $600 price drop. However, the Sonata Limited also sees a slight downgrade in equipment. Automobile Magazine says, “The Sonata Limited now comes standard with a traditional sunroof, in place of the previously standard panoramic sunroof; the panoramic sunroof is available as part of the $2900 Premium Package for 2013, which also includes a touch-screen navigation system, backup camera, and Infinity sound system.”

While rivals like the 2013 Nissan Altima, 2013 Ford Fusion and 2013 Chevrolet Malibu have been newly redesigned, Hyundai says in a press release that the Sonata sent those rivals “back to the drawing board.” The automaker notes that 2011 Sonata owners were “more satisfied with their car’s fuel economy, design and value” than Toyota Camry and Honda Accord owners, as well as those who bought an Altima, Fusion or Malibu.

“Automakers in this critical segment often try to one-up each other, but it is fairly unusual for them to mention competitors by name,” writes Edmunds. That rivalry, however, means that consumers might get better cars. Nissan Spokesman Dan Bedore tells Edmunds, “The midsize segment is the heart of the market in U.S. There's a lot of action there. Nine months ago, the Sonata was the newest car in segment. Nine months from now, it will be the oldest. Constant improvement is what we're all trying to accomplish.”

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