FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 5, 2010 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded an overall five-star crash test rating, the highest government ranking under the agency’s New Car Assessment Program, to the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata withstood the agency’s more rigorous 2011 testing procedures to receive the top safety rating. Sonata is built from the ground up with safety in mind, with a hot stamped ultra-high-strength steel body structure, advanced airbag technology and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), delivering on Hyundai’s commitment to both active and passive safety technology leadership.

The 2011 Sonata launched earlier this year with Hyundai’s first-ever Gasoline Direct Injection engine, producing a segment-best 35 miles-per-gallon highway fuel economy rating. Two new Sonata variants – a 2.0-liter turbo and Hyundai’s first-ever hybrid – will hit showrooms this fall. Sonata sales, up 60 percent over 2009 through September, prove that its combination of standard safety, fuel economy and sleek design are hitting the mark with consumers in the highly competitive mid-size sedan segment.

“The Sonata nameplate has historically raised the bar for safety in the mid-size sedan category, dating back to the introduction of standard Electronic Stability Control on the 2006 Sonata, while other competitors made this valuable lifesaving technology optional or not available on competitive models,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “The 2011 Sonata furthers the nameplate’s commitment to safety for driver and passengers with a suite of equipment that is unsurpassed in the category.”

New NHTSA test procedures include a vehicle-to-pole test simulating a vehicle’s crashing sideways into narrow fixed objects like telephone poles and trees. To meet the head injury criteria in the pole test, vehicle manufacturers must have side head protection systems, such as head air bags or inflatable air curtains that drop down from the roof line above the door frame. NHTSA also upgraded the existing vehicle-to-vehicle test that requires protection of front and rear seat occupants against thoracic and pelvic injuries in a test that uses a moving deformable barrier to simulate a moving vehicles being struck in the side by another moving vehicle. Sonata comes standard with six airbags—including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags—along with active front-seat head restraints.

Sonata was not only built to withstand accidents, it was designed to help drivers avoid them all together. The Sonata’s state-of-the-art braking system exemplifies its suite of active safety technologies. The package includes four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist, which provides maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles based on the vehicle loading conditions.

Other safety features include shingle-style rear-seat head restraints for improved visibility, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, front-seat seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters, and a rear-seat Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for child seats.

The 2011 Sonata scored well in all phases of the testing including five-start side-impact, five-star rollover and four-star frontal crash test results. The overall five-star rating pertains to Sonatas produced from June 2, 2010 to September 7, 2010.

NHTSA is dedicated to achieving the highest standards of excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety. The agency strives to exceed the expectations of its customers through its core values of Integrity, Service and Leadership. NHTSA provides leadership to the motor vehicle and highway safety community through the development of innovative approaches to reducing motor vehicle crashes and injuries.

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through about 800 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.