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2015 Hyundai Sonata

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/18/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The redesigned 2015 Hyundai Sonata gains a new Eco trim level, a new smart trunk feature, available LED daytime running lights, high beam assist, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, a new navigation system with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports new apps such as Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto, and a new generation of Hyundai's Blue Link system. The new exterior and interior design is more restrained but remains elegant and upscale. Eco and SE grade Sonatas are distinguished by their single exhaust outlet while Limited and Sport models have dual or quad tailpipes depending on the engine it's equipped with.

Research

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize family slotting under the full-size front-drive Azera and above the compact Elantra. It is sold in six grades and is offered with a choice of three four-cylinder engines. The 2015 Sonata Hybrid is carried over from the previous-generation car; a revised hybrid model arrives for the 2016 model year.

Overview

Most 2015 Hyundai Sonatas will come equipped with a 2.4-liter I-4 producing 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. A more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 with 245 hp and 260 lb-ft is also offered for those wanting more power. Both engines are down in power compared to the versions used in the previous generation. Fuel economy varies depending on the trim level with SE models achieving 25/37 mpg city/highway while 2.4 Sport and Limited variants are rated at 24/35 mpg. The more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter is rated at 23/32 mpg for Sport models while Limited models get 21/31 mpg.

An Eco model equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 rated at 178 hp and 195 lb-ft paired to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission is also offered for buyers who prioritize fuel economy. This is the most fuel-efficient Sonata at 28/38 mpg.

Acceleration and handling is unimpressive in all models, which felt underpowered and lacked composure compared to its competitors. The car defaults to understeer when cornering hard and is paired with a rough ride in Sport models due to their more aggressive suspension set up.

Interior space in the 2015 Sonata is better than the previous generation with generous room for passengers up front and in the rear. Controls are easy to use with a "clean, clear layout" and material quality is generally good with the exception of the fake wood trim in Limited models. The new eight-inch touchscreen that comes with the navigation system enhances the infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto compatibility.

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS.

What We Think

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata builds upon the previous generation by offering a quiet and well-appointed interior, and an array of tech features. In a First Drive review, we noted that the car offered many different connectivity options including Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, allowing drivers to easily link their smartphones with the car. The Sonata's well-appointed interior and restrained but elegant exterior styling is also strong points with generous space for passengers and cargo, and an upscale appearance both inside and out.

However, its driving dynamics were disappointing particularly the Sport 2.0T, which is supposedly the more dynamic model in the lineup. In a First Test, we said that competitors with less power like the Mazda6 and Volkswagen Passat TSI Sport were faster than the Sonata Sport 2.0T. Additionally, we also noted that the car's Sport badging is "overselling the driving experience" because it "isn't much fun to hustle, and the suspension's ride penalty is too great to justify its meager handling payoff."

You'll Like

  • Elegant styling
  • Spacious interior
  • Numerous connectivity options

You Won't Like

  • Leisurely acceleration even in turbo models
  • Sloppy driving dynamics
  • Easily flustered by rough surfaces

Key Competitors

  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord
  • Nissan Altima
  • Mazda6
  • Ford Fusion

Rating

3 star

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