It is hard to believe the Hyundai Sonata has entered its seventh-generation. Seems like just yesterday we were all struggling to figure out how to pronounce the brand’s name; here it is 2014, and the Korean automaker is launching an all-new version of its now very popular midsize sedan that is larger, quieter, smoother and more advanced than ever.
Building in a design concept of Fluidic Sculpture that began on the previous Sonata, the 2015 sedan delivers FS 2.0 said to be a confident evolution of the original design language, one to further express Sonata’s premium looks and significant value.
The 2015 Sonata features all-new interior and exterior design and layout and delivers an interior with an EPA rating of the large sedan segment. The front grille is expanded and Hyundai has chiseled some of the body lines found in that previous, more rounded car yet the 2015 achieves a slick drag coefficient of just 0.27, a figure Hyundai boasts as better than any non-hybrid midsize sedan on the market.
At first glance one may not even recognize the Sonata, liking it more to a European luxury sedan. Designers really stepped up their game for the 2015 car as this is one of the most attractive new midsize vehicles on the road, luxury models included.
Hyundai offers several powertrain options for Sonata including Hybrid, Turbo, Eco and, as our tester arrived, with the standard 185hp 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine mated to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission with Shifttronic manual shift and Drive Mode Select (Eco, Normal and Sport). Fuel economy ratings for this powertrain are 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway although we found ourselves getting several points better in each of those situations, averaging as high as 35.5 mpg in mixed driving (with the air conditioning on).
As I mentioned, the interior is large, surprisingly so, and very comfortable. The instrument panel and center stack have been redesigned and the new design opens things up a bit and adding to the sense of spaciousness inside. Our loaded tester featured all of the latest creature comforts Hyundai offers including heated and ventilated front seating, radar cruise control, forward collision warning, rear parking assist, panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, rear side window shades, hands-free smart trunk opener, large color touchscreen monitor, navigation, Hyundai Blue Link telematics, SiriusXM, Bluetooth connectivity and Infinity premium audio with HD Radio.
Thanks to an increased body rigidity of some 41 percent, the new Sonata is one smooth operator on the road and handles any and all driving situations and conditions with ease, be they highway, biway, urban or rural and twisted pavement is no problem as we found out on a quick day trip out of town.
The only real negative I found with the car is I made the mistake of operating it in Eco mode one afternoon when the temps were north of 90 degrees and the reduced AC output kept me in a bit of discomfort until I realized my error and switched driving modes and activated the seat ventilation.
Pricing for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited begins at a very reasonable $26,525 and even loaded to the gills – as our tester was – the final sticker was merely $32,510.
2015 Hyundai Sonata Technology Update
Shortly after this review published, Hyundai sent out a press release concerning some new technology features available in Sonata and they answered a question of mine about iOS CarPlay.
The Hyundai Assurance Car Care in-vehicle app is available for download for Sonata owners who outfitted their vehicles with navigation. Previously, Hyundai offered this service as a mobile app only. It offers owners the ability to schedule servicing, provides maintenance and warranty information, offers guides to warnings, indicators and quick references and provides roadside assistance contact and assorted Blue Link information about new features such as Google-powered destination search and remote start (now with a timer) and remote climate control/defroster.
Earlier this year, Hyundai issued a press release touting the availability of CarPlay for iOS devices in the 2015 Sonata. The test vehicle arrived (fully loaded I presumed) but I could not get CarPlay to activate and the Apple website is SO not helpful with information on the new feature. After the review published Hyundai responded to my query telling me it is a late availability item (that information was apparently left out of the press release).
2015 Sonata Sport
Hyundai made a brief appearance at the State Fair of Texas Auto Show media day last week and provided an opportunity to spin around town in the Sport variant of the new Sonata complete with the peppy 245hp 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI. The 2015 Sonata Sport features some unique interior and exterior styling cues over its stablemates and arrives with a price tag under $30k. The engine is very responsive and while the chassis may not be ready for autocross on the weekend it does offer a nice alternative choice over the more sedate Limited.