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2015 Hyundai Sonata: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader August 2014

Although the Hyundai Sonata hasn't always been a class leader, the outgoing model -- released for the 2011 model year -- represented a huge transformation for the midsize sedan. Offering improved styling, better engines, a roomier interior and more technology, the Sonata finally rivaled class mainstays such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. For 2015, Hyundai intends to hold its position with a fully redesigned 2015 Hyundai Sonata that offers more of the same and a few new tricks to help the model stand out in the wildly competitive world of the midsize sedan.

What's New for 2015?

For 2015, the Hyundai Sonata is completely redesigned. Exterior styling is revised, while the interior is more significantly updated. The sedan also offers a new Eco trim level and a few new high-tech gadgets designed to help it remain competitive among midsize sedans. Note that the 2015 Sonata Hybrid carries over with last year's design; it won't gain the new bodywork until the 2016 model year.

What We Like

Smooth ride; handsome exterior; roomy interior; large trunk; competitive pricing; surprisingly refined

What We Don't

Dull driving experience; doesn't stand out; substantial horsepower cut for sporty Turbo engine

How Much?

$22,200-$29,500

Fuel Economy

The 2015 Sonata offers four engines. Base models use a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque; it returns 25 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed automatic. Shoppers looking for more power can upgrade to a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which makes 245 hp and 260 lb-ft. It gets 23 mpg city/32 mpg hwy.

For drivers especially concerned with fuel economy, Hyundai offers two options. There's the Sonata Eco, which uses a 177-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, returning an impressive 28 mpg city/38 mpg hwy. There's also the 159-hp Sonata Hybrid, which still uses the old body style (it's slated for redesign next year) and gets 36 mpg city/40 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The Sonata is offered in six trim levels: the base-level SE, mid-level Sport and Sport 2.0T, upscale Limited, and the fuel-efficiency-focused Eco and Hybrid.

The base-level Sonata SE ($22,200) features Bluetooth, LED running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories including keyless entry, cruise control, an iPod/USB interface and air conditioning.

Step up to the Sport ($24,200 for the 2.4-liter; $29,600 for the 2.0T), and you'll get automatic headlights, a backup camera, a power driver's seat, a 5-in touchscreen, Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment system, larger alloy wheels (17 inches for the 2.4-liter and 18 inches for the 2.0T) and dual exhaust. The Sport 2.0T also boasts a few other features such as accent stitching, paddle shifters and xenon headlights. The Eco ($24,200) offers roughly the same equipment as the Sport minus the larger alloys and the dual exhaust. It also uses the fuel-efficient 1.6-liter turbocharged engine.

Drivers who choose the Sonata Hybrid ($27,000) still get the outgoing body style. They also get a hybrid powerplant good for 36 mpg city/40 mpg hwy, along with automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless access with push-button starting, HD Radio and heated front seats.

Last up is the Limited ($27,500), which offers leather upholstery, heated rear seats, rear-window sunshades, an improved audio system, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming mirror and a power passenger seat.

In terms of options, the Sonata offers a long list of features, ranging from xenon headlights and a panoramic sunroof to adaptive cruise control, grippy front seats for improved cornering, a navigation system with an 8-in touchscreen, an Infinity sound system, and safety features such as park assist, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning.

Safety

Like most midsize sedans, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata includes standard side airbags, curtain-side airbags, traction control, stability control and daytime running lights. Optional safety features include forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, park assist, a backup camera, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert, which helps drivers back out of parking spots.

Because the Sonata is so new, it has not yet been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

On the road, the Sonata clearly emphasizes comfort over sport. That's even true in the Sport models, which still suffer from numb steering and more body roll than we'd like to see. In other words, the Sport models are more for show than actual enjoyment, which is a fact that's especially true this year, when the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine lost around 30 hp compared to the outgoing model.

For those who aren't interested in driving enjoyment, the Sonata has a lot to offer. We find its ride to be a bit smoother than most midsize sedans, almost more like a luxury car than a mainstream model. The interior is quite roomy, whether you're in front or in back. The center control stack has a modern look and feel, using larger buttons and boasting a cleaner look than last year's model.

Other Cars to Consider

Ford Fusion -- The Ford Fusion remains one of our favorite midsize sedans, thanks to an impressive array of technology, excellent styling and a wide range of available engines.

Honda Accord -- Still a midsize-sedan all-star, the Accord is among the class leaders thanks to its solid reputation for durability, its excellent equipment and its roomy interior.

Mazda6 -- If sport is your thing -- and even if it isn't -- the Mazda6 is worth a look. Offering impressive features per dollar, the latest Mazda6 boasts an excellent interior, handsome bodywork and strong fuel economy.

AutoTrader's Advice

For us, the Sonata to get is the 2.4-liter Sport model. Ignore the name; it's not especially sporty compared to the base-level Sonata, but you do get a backup camera, a power driver's seat, Hyundai's Blue Link system and a 5-in touchscreen for a reasonable base price. You can also choose from a wide range of options. It's a great compromise between the bare-bones base model and the opulent Sonata Limited.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Hyundai Sonata: New Car Review - Autotrader