It’s kind of hard to believe that I’m writing another Hyundai Sonata review, only this time is about their seventh generation model of this amazing car. The previous-generation Hyundai Sonata was nothing short of a smash hit in the midsize sedan segment, and so was the one before that and before that and before that. Without a doubt, the Sonata has been one smash hit for the Korean automaker – take it from me – I have driven them all and even spent 1 year with a long term Sonata that I absolutely loved back in 2004.
I have always liked the Sonata state of design but this new one trades some of the swoopy curves of the previous version for more conservative lines that take the styling to a much higher level. Don’t get me wrong, the outgoing generation of the Hyundai Sonata was a bold move that has paid off big time for the automaker, drawing attention to Hyundai with its daring yet practical design, strong yet efficient engines, and good value all around. The car is a little bigger than before and rear passengers benefit from a little more hip and legroom. The chassis has also been overhauled to improve both the Sonata's handling capabilities and its ride quality.
The new Sonata is 1.4 inches longer and 1.2 inches wider than its predecessor, and rides on a 0.4-inch longer wheelbase. Its new body boasts torsional and bending stiffness increases of 41 & 35% according to the folks at Hyundai, and 52% of its steel is of the advanced high-strength variety. Hyundai says the new Sonata will be safer than ever, too, thanks to the stiffer body as well as new driver knee airbags.
So what is it about Sonata that is so attractive and why is it taking the car consumer world by storm? As far as many of us can tell and have discussed, it offers comfort, great driving dynamics, astonishing styling, great value, responsive handling and driving, and it offers a plethora of driver assistance, such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning. Hyundai has them all and does a better job than the immediate competition and I was very impressed with the adapt cruise control full range mode where even if you go down to 0 mph by simply tapping the resume button it will start up again.
So how do you raise the level of quality and refinement in a vehicle that seems to have it all? The answer to that, I think, lies in keeping the same manufacturing and assembly formula, this model being the third one built in Montgomery's Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA), and excel in having a classy and even-tempered look, a smoother and more quiet powertrain, and have a body that’s tight and stamped together even more effectively than before… after all, the competition is fierce and even though Sonatas do sell at the rate of about 200,000 per year, the Camry, Accord, Mazda 6 and Chrysler 200 are all itching to take over the lead.
And as if this was not enough to make this car a great value and amazing vehicle, the actual design isn't the only attribute that stands out. The number of features available is impressive, such as available heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof and segment-exclusive rear sunshades. You can upgrade the multimedia head unit between two touch-screen audio setups, with the ultimate option featuring a seven-inch touch-screen and the Hyundai BlueLink telematics system. Using this system Sirius XM subscribers can even record live radio to listen again later. Hyundai also promises Apple CarPlay support and Android Auto compatibility in the near future that will allow users to let their smartphones to further enhance their infotainment experience with brought in apps, locations and improved integration between the phone and the car. An impressive compliment of safety technologies can also be special ordered, including Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Warning.
Hyundai also revised the engines, but instead of upping the horsepower and torque in the 2.4-liter and two-liter turbo models Hyundai decreased output. The 2.4-liter model makes five horsepower less, while the turbo model loses almost 30 hp. That decrease is supposed to make peak power more easily accessible. While the engines don’t feel particularly powerful, they both offer smooth acceleration and are both relatively quiet.
We were very impressed to learn the fuel economy in this new Sonata hovers around 25 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway for the 2.4-liter engine and 23 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway for the turbo. For the truly mileage-minded, another option for the Sonata is a turbocharged 1.6-liter Eco engine with 177 horsepower and 195 horsepower that gets 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
Prices for the Sonata start at $21,125 for the base model with an automatic transmission, while different engine and equipment packages can set you back to around $33,495., excluding an $810 in destination fees automatically tacked on to every car.
We have had numerous family members and friends get into a Sonata over the years and thus far we have not had one yet to contact us with any sort of complaint or grievance. They have all been great cars, especially from the fourth generation on up… a terrific car despite some shortcomings, but this new 2015 Sonata takes the cake in so many different areas, which puts it in the lead against so many challenging competitors in one of the toughest segments in the car business today!