Tom Crosby: Hyundai launches new edition of Sonata Sedan for ’15
A Sonata is a musical piece with large sections differing from each other in rhythm and mood. For Hyundai, its 2015 Sonata is a five-passenger, mid-size sedan that sings success with features that blend a new look, improved ride with a stiffer body structure, reduced noise, a handful of cutting edge driver safety aids and enough telematics for drivers of all ages to choose from.
However, the mood changed somewhat due to our test-drive experience with unnecessary route changes and failure of the navigation system to find a historic restaurant in a small town. Hyundai’s best-selling sedan, the 2015 Sonata, is the seventh generation with a base price under $30,000 to attract cost-conscious buyers craving decent performance along with luxury usually found in higher priced vehicles.
Our Sonata Limited, (there are SE, Eco, Sport and hybrid trims also), added an optional tech package loaded with comfort and information features like the navigation system and HD Radio® with multicasting. Also added was an ultimate package complementing the tech package with safety features such as lane departure and forward collision warnings, adaptive cruise control and rear parking assistance ($32,510 as tested.)
Like an athlete improving performance year after year, Sonata has been around since 1989 and today can hold its own with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the two most popular sedans sold in the U.S. Inside, the Sonata’s size is impressive, roomier than its competitors, and comfortable with leather seat covers, wood trim, plush materials and heated front/rear seats.
The ride on a revised multi-link rear suspension is composed and quiet with decent handling in curves. Eco-drive conserves gas but switched off, acceleration quickens using the gearshift manual option instead of the six-speed automatic transmission.
Hyundai sports a larger chrome grille, flush fenders, raked windshield, rising beltline, dual exhaust and sloping rear end. There is more leg room in the rear now but head room still challenges extra tall riders. The navigation system is easily understood and manipulated, but as noted had some glitches in failing to show the most direct route and not finding out-of-the way spots, although it identified them when on site.
Controls are easy to reach and intuitive; voice activation worked well for various functions using Hyundai’s Blue Link system. Cargo and knick-knack space are superior and there is a small spare tire. The many safety features should help Sonata once again get top safety crash ratings.
Bottom line: Competing in tough market, Sonata more than holds its own
Like: Space, comfort, looks, mpg, ride, safety features
Dislike: Nav operation, rear seat head room
HYUNDAI SONATA LIMITED 2015
Base price w/destination fee $29,335 (as tested $32,510)
Curb weight 3,252 lbs.
Wheelbase 110.4 inches
Length 191.1 inches
Width 73.4 inches
Engine specs (gas) 2.4-liter, 4 cylinder, DOHC w/VVT
Horsepower 185-hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 178 lbs.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic w/SHIFTRONIC
EPA Rating 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway
Range 18.5-gallon tank
Performance 0-60 in about 8 seconds
Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years. View more reviews at http://www.nvdaily.com/columns/tom-crosby/