Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.
Reviewer: Seamus McElroy
Type: 4-door mid-size sedan
Competitors: Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu
Price: Base = $21,960
Made in: Montgomery, Alabama
Drivetrain: 2.4L GDI Four-Cylinder w/ six-speed automatic. 2.0L Four-Cylinder Turbo w/ six-speed automatic. 1.6L Four-cylinder Turbo w/ seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
EPA Ratings: 2.4 GDI – 25MPG city/ 37MPG highway. 2.4 GDI (Sport & Limited) – 24MPG city/ 35MPG highway. 2.0T – 23MPG city/ 32MPG highway. 1.6T – 28MPG city/ 38MPG highway (estimated)
The Sonata is currently the second best selling vehicle in Hyundai’s line-up, accounting for a quarter of its sales. But the past two years sales have dropped after peaking in 2011 to over 215,000 units. And the trend is continuing this year. But the company says its held back production in order to focus on quality over quantity. Never the less, its not a good direction to be heading.
Hyundai has just started rolling out the new model which it believes has the potential to be as successful as the outgoing model.
The 2015 Sonata features what Hyundai calls its Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design. The company says, instead of going with a bold and aggressive look like the previous model, it wanted to give the car a more premium look which I think it accomplished. But the company doesn’t want to lose the customers that liked the bold styling of the previous model. That’s why Hyundai created a new Sport model, that features a more aggressive looking front fascia and rocker panel moldings. Plus it comes with dual exhaust instead of single like the rest of the Sonata line-up.
Inside, the style is also dialed back but the climate, audio controls along with the optional nav screen are well laid out. There’s plenty of room inside thanks to the increased passenger volume. And since Hyundai doesn’t offer a V6 with the Sonata its able to provide more passenger space than its competitors. The 2.0T model interior comes with a D-cut steering wheel with paddle shifters, a different gear shift lever, aluminum pedals and a instrument cluster with needle gauges. And like the exterior design of the Sport model, these sportier interior upgrades are meant to appeal to the buyer looking for more expressive styling.
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