Friday, May 22, 2015

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport

With its bold styling and improved overall quality, the radically redesigned Hyundai Sonata that debuted in 2009 shook up the midsize sedan segment. The car put perennial leaders Honda, Nissan, and Toyota on notice, and racked up some very solid sales. While the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport isn't quite the same drastic shake-up as its predecessor was, its redesign adds refinement to the exterior and interior, as well as the ride and handling. It's a strong choice in the midsize sedan segment, though the Sonata still lags behind the competition when it comes to connected apps and engine performance.     

How Much?
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata comes in six separate trim levels. There's the base SE at $21,150, the Sport at $23,175 (which we tested), the Eco at $23,275, the Limited at $26,525, the Sport 2.0 T at $28,575, and the Limited 2.0 T at $33,525. Our Sport tester also had the $1,700 Premium and $1,750 Tech package options, $125 carpeted floor mats, and an $810 freight and handling charge, for a total sticker price of $27,560.

What Does it Come With?
The Sport comes with a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, side mirror turn signal indicators, a power driver's seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, automatic headlight control, an auto up/down driver side power window, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, a rearview camera, and an AM/FM/satellite/CD/MP3 audio system.

The Premium package adds blind spot detection and rear cross path alert, keyless entry and starting, hands-free smart trunk opening, chrome door handles with welcome lights, leather-bolstered sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone climate controls, and an auto up/down front passenger power window. The Tech package is only available when the Premium package is added, and includes a navigation system with an 8-inch display, three months of SiriusXM Travel Link, a premium seven-speaker audio system with subwoofer, HD Radio, electroluminescent gauges with a 4.2-inch LCD, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass.

How's the Tech?
The car's 8-inch touch screen is not only one of the largest in the midsize sedan segment, but its infotainment menus are logically laid out and easy to use. For further convenience, the system has a My Menu page that can be configured so that your most-used features are quickly accessible. The Sonata also has an extensive list of radio features, including a What's on My Presets preview mode, and the ability to record AM, FM, and Sirius broadcasts even if you're not tuned to a specific channel.

In addition to typical telematics features such as automatic crash notification and stolen vehicle assistance, the Blue Link telematics system offers a remote app that has smartwatch compatibility via Android Wear, and a Google search function that works with the navigation system. SiriusXM Travel Link features live weather, fuel, and traffic info. But both Sirius Travel Link and Blue Link require a subscription once a free trial period is over.

The Sonata falls short with in-dash apps, offering only Pandora Internet radio and SoundHound, the latter of which seems redundant, given that music metadata is typically displayed for onboard sources.

How Does it Perform?
The Sonata Sport's 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is acceptable—it gets the job done with decent fuel economy, but it isn't exactly fun to drive. Handling is equally neutral, but the Sonata does stand out in terms of ride quality, handling bumps and other road anomalies with confidence. Another plus: The interior is as quiet as some luxury cars.

Should I Buy It?
The previous-generation Sonata proved that Hyundai could take on longtime segment leaders like the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima, and the Toyota Camry$30,779.00 at TrueCar. The updates to the 2015 Sonata only add to the car's appeal, and make it a very solid choice. But if you're looking for tech, the Toyota Camry offers more in-dash apps, and if you're focused on performance, the Mazda 6$33,395.00 at TrueCar has the edge. All three are good options, so you should choose the one that has the most appealing features to you.

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