Actually I can't complain too loudly about the Sonata. Since it was a low-slung sedan, it was a little awkward to get in and out of after years of sliding into the Sportages I've been driving, but once inside it was very roomy. I did move the driver's seat all the way back, of course, but I didn't have to move the steering wheel, and the seat was wide enough that I didn't feel like I was sitting in a baseball glove and trying to plug the seat belt into my right pocket. Best of all, Hyundai engineers have successfully reverse-engineered the Buttwarmer 2000TM, previously seen only in very expensive Daimler-Chrysler vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz variety. This feature was very much appreciated, since the ambient temperatures in Washington were around 25-35 for most of the weekend. Also appreciated was the excellent heating system, whose controls were very simple yet extremely flexible in their functionality. The stereo was likewise simple yet effective, and made me wish I'd brought some CDs with me since the player was set up to read MP3 files burned onto disc.
Performance? Excellent. The Sonata easily hit 80 mph and handled quite nicely for a full-sized car; the acceleration was also not too bad for a six-cylinder slushbox. Fuel economy was adequate, about 20-25 mpg in mixed freeway/city driving.
Somebody at Hyundai put a lot of thought into the Sonata, and it shows. I still would have preferred an Impala, but considering how tight the parking spaces were at the hotel I suppose I should be grateful that I had the Sonata instead.