Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 Hyundai Sonata

After unprecedented success with the previous generation, Hyundai introduces the seventh generation of its mid-size Sonata sedan, giving it a more refined look and better ride quality. Hyundai’s redesign of the Sonata builds on the fluidic sculpture design of the outgoing Sonata. Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 gives the Sonata crisper lines, a larger grille and a tighter beltline.

The Sonata is available in six trim levels: SE, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T, Limited 2.0T and a new ECO model with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

All Sonatas are powered by four-cylinder engines. The SE, Sport and Limited get a 2.4-liter Theta II GDI engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque. A turbocharged 2.0-liter Inline-4 powers the 2.0T models. That engine kicks out 245 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft of torque.

Horsepower numbers for both engines are lower than the previous model – the 2.4-liter has five fewer horses and the turbo engine is 29 hp less. Hyundai says the reduction in horsepower came because engineers wanted to “shift the powerband downward for better responsiveness in lower RPM situations where customers spend the majority of their time.” Even with the lower horsepower numbers, though, the Sonata compares very well with the competition.

In all Sonatas except the ECO trim, a 6-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. The ECO trim gets a new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. The Sonata SE trim gets 25 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Sport and limited models get 24 city miles per gallon and 35 mpg on the highway. Our tested Sport 2.0T was rated at 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, while the ECO model gets 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the road.

Prices for the Sonata start at $21,150 for the SE, $23,175 for the Sport, $23,275 for the ECO, $26,525 for the Limited, $28,575 for the Sport 2.0T and $33,525 for Limited 2.0T.

On the road, the reduced horsepower in the 2.0-liter engine in our test Sport 2.0T was noticeable when we punched it to get around big rigs on the interstate, but power is fine for most everyday driving conditions. The Sonata stayed flat in hard corners and felt planted on the road.

The cabin in our test Sonata was roomy and quiet, with very comfortable powered and heated leather front seats. Headroom was 40.4 inches in the front seat, which is way more than enough for my 6-foot-1 frame. The back seat had 38 inches of headroom. Cabin materials were soft in all the right places and seemed durable. The trunk was large at 16.3 cubic feet, and passenger volume was a class-leading 106.1 cubic feet.

Driver controls in the Sonata are logical, intuitive and easy to read. One of our pet peeves is audio systems where buttons have to be pushed to scroll through radio stations or to change the volume. The Sonata has round knobs for both…perfect.

The Sonata has USB, 12v and auxiliary ports handy in a console cubby. SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth are standard, and the Sonata has available navigation and connectivity through its Blue Link system.

The Sonata has seven standard airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag, and a host of available safety technology like blind spot detection, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning. The 2015 Sonata is also a Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, winning the top mark of “good” in every category except the small overlap front test, where it scored “acceptable.”

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has big shoes to fill in replacing the outgoing Sonata. But reasonably priced, nicely appointed and safe, the Sonata deserves a spot on any mid-size sedan shopper’s test drive list.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T
2.0-liter turbocharged Inline-4
245/260 lb.-ft.
6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
$28,575 plus freight
EPA mileage estimates:
23 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
Approximate highway range:
592 miles

No comments: