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2017 Hyundai Sonata: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

In the crowded midsize family-sedan field, the 2017 Hyundai Sonata has established itself as a force to be reckoned with. In the areas of styling, features, safety, price and fuel economy, the Sonata hits the nail on the head, lacking only the option of all-wheel drive to make it a complete competitor. The Sonata has been steadily climbing the quality and reliability charts and now offers resale values on par with the segment-leading Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. A 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is another bonus for Sonata shoppers, as are the available hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

What's New for 2017?

The Sonata Limited gains the option of adaptive Dynamic Bending headlights, while a streamlining of packages across the entire line results in some cost savings on certain trims and a new, lower-priced entry-level model.

What We Like

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

What We Don't

Dull driving experience; styling doesn't stand out; hybrid versions not as fuel-efficient as competitors

How Much?

$22,435-$40,000

Fuel Economy

The 2017 Sonata offers four engines. Base models use a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque; it returns 25 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed automatic (25 mpg city/35 mpg hwy for the SE and Limited). 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 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy (21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy for the Limited).

For drivers who are especially concerned with fuel economy, Hyundai offers three options. There's the Sonata Eco, which uses a 177-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, returning an impressive 28 mpg city/36 mpg hwy. There's also the 159-hp Sonata Hybrid, which gets 38 mpg city/43 mpg hwy (39 mpg city/45 mpg hwy in the Hybrid SE), and a plug-in hybrid that achieves 39 mpg combined and 99 mpge with a 27-mile electric-only cruising range.

Standard Features & Options

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

The base Sonata model ($22,435) features Bluetooth, LED running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories with keyless entry, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, an iPod/USB interface, air conditioning and heated side mirrors.

The Sonata SE ($22,785) brings a 7-in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic headlights and a backup camera.

If you step up to the Sport ($24,235 for the 2.4-liter; $27,435 for the 2.0T), you'll get a power driver's seat, LED running lights, larger alloy wheels (17 inches for the 2.4-liter and 18 inches for the 2.0T) and dual exhausts. The Sport 2.0T also boasts a few other features, such as accent stitching, paddle shifters and xenon headlights. The Eco ($23,960) 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 ($26,835) still get a hybrid power plant that's good for 36 mpg city/40 mpg hwy, along with automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless access with push-button start, HD Radio and heated front seats. The Sonata Hybrid Plug-in ($35,435) offers the same features on the base model. Both models offer a Limited trim similarly equipped to the fully-loaded Sonata Limited trim.

Last up is the Limited ($27,985 for the 2.4-liter; $35,185 for the 2.0T), which offers leather upholstery, heated rear seats, rear-window sunshades, an improved audio system, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, a larger center touchscreen, 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, adaptive headlights, an Infinity sound system and safety features such as park assist, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, and lane-departure warning.

Safety

Like most midsize sedans, the 2017 Hyundai Sonata includes standard side airbags, side-curtain airbags, traction control, stability control and daytime running lights. Optional safety features include forward-collision warning with available automatic braking, 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.

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing, the 2017 Sonata earned a perfect 5-star overall rating. It also garnered the coveted Top Safety Pick score from 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 electric-assist steering and more body roll than we'd like to see. In other words, the Sport models are more for show than actual enjoyment -- a fact that's especially true since the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is nearly 30 hp shy of same engine in the 2015 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 that of 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. And the center control stack has a modern look and feel, using larger buttons and boasting a cleaner look than the old version.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 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.

2017 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.

2017 Mazda6 -- If performance 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.

Used Hyundai Azera -- If you like the Sonata's design and layout but want even more luxury, you should consider the brand's high-end Azera sedan. Larger and smoother than the Sonata, it's more expensive to buy new -- but a good deal on the used market.

Autotrader's Advice

For us, the Sonata to get is the 2.4-liter SE model. With a long list of standard features, we now prefer the SE to the Limited thanks to its standard backup camera, 7-in touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Yes, there are some nice optional features that require a higher trim level -- but for shoppers on a budget, the SE is the right choice.

Find a Hyundai Sonata for sale

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Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE
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Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE
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Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE
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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.
2017 Hyundai Sonata: New Car Review - Autotrader