HYUNDAI LAUNCHS 7TH EDITION OF SONATA SEDAN FOR 2015
By Tom Crosby
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 legroom in the rear now but headroom 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.
LIKES: Space, comfort, looks, mpg, ride, safety features
DISLIKES: Nav operation, rear seat headroom
BOTTOM LINE: Competing in tough market, Sonata more than holds its own.
- 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