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2014 Hyundai Sonata

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/3/2014 Jason Udy

Vehicle Overview

After a thorough makeover in 2011, the Hyundai Sonata gets a mild refresh for the 2014 model year. Despite the updates, the 2014 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan's powertrain lineup is unchanged. A four-cylinder engine is standard, while a turbo four-cylinder engine is available. In the Sonata GLS, the base 2.4-liter I-4 is rated 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque, while the SE and Limited models' dual exhaust bumps power to 192 hp and 181 lb-ft. Available in the SE and Limited, the turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 engine is rated 274 hp and 269 lb-ft. Both engines are connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.4-liter engine is EPA-rated 24/35 mpg city/highway, while the turbo 2.0-liter is rated 22/34 mpg.

With Hyundai's stylish "fluidic sculpture" design language, the Sonata stands out in the midsize sedan segment with its creased and curved exterior. That curved roofline proved to be problematic in a three-way comparison involving the 2012 Sonata GLS, Toyota Camry LE, and Volkswagen Passat: The Hyundai "felt noticeably tighter inside" and "the hardest to get in and out of (watch your head!) and the least coddling on our backsides."

Although noticeably faster than the base engine, the turbo 2.0-liter doesn’t return class-leading performance, with a 7.0-second 0-60 mph time. In a late- 2012 comparison, the Sonata SE 2.0T came in third place behind the Toyota Camry SE V-6 and Passat VR6 SEL: "In real-world duties, the 2.0-liter turbo felt plenty powerful and torquey. The ride, while not as compliant as the Passat's, was quiet and comfortable, if a bit too busy for our tastes."

The Hyundai Sonata is also available with a hybrid powertrain that features a 159-hp, 154 lb-ft, 2.4-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder paired with a 47-hp electric motor. Combined output is rated 199 hp. Although the Sonata Hybrid is EPA-rated 36/40 mpg, in our testing the midsize hybrid "mustered a disappointing 27.0 mpg observed, almost 10 mpg less than its hybrid foe from Toyota. What gives?" Hyundai revised the Sonata Hybrid's powertrain for 2013 to increase fuel economy. In our testing we said, "My drive was only 45 miles of mixed city and rural road -- far too few to measure actual fuel economy with gas-pump clicks. During the drive, I hypermiled just enough to earn the little crown of laurels prize for an Eco Score of 8 bars, but also did several wide-open-throttle blasts, which felt like they might even bust through the 9-second-to-60 barrier. The computer pegged my average at 36 mpg, so there's probably something to the claims of improved real-world driving."

With the 2014 Sonata, Hyundai reduced noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) with revised wheels, improved carpet insulation, additional foam in A- and B-pillars, and an additional dynamic damper. A new vehicle stability management system is standard on all trim levels, as is a driver-selectable steering system. The 2014 Hyundai Sonata sedan has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars) and is considered a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

New for 2014

Exterior changes to the 2014 Hyundai Sonata include a slightly revised front grille design, revised 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels, a new rear fascia insert, and available HID headlights and LED taillights. A tire-specific tire pressure monitoring system is now standard across the line. Each trim level's available packages get revised content.

You'll Like

  • Eye-catching sheetmetal
  • Gas-saving hybrid
  • Available heated rear seats

You Won't Like

  • Vague steering
  • Base engine is a bit slow
  • Cramped rear passenger space

Key Competitors

  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord
  • Ford Fusion
  • Kia Optima
  • Nissan Altima
  • Mazda6
  • Chevrolet Malibu
  • Volkswagen Passat

Sum Up

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