Seat Time: 2015 Hyundai Sonata

June 30th, 2014 at 12:41pm

MY15 Hyundai Sonata

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
Manufacturer: Hyundai
Make: Hyundai
Model: Sonata
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)

Final Impression:

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.

2015 Hyundai Sonata InteriorInside, 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.

New convenience features include a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats and ventilated front seats. And new safety features for 2015 include rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise with stop/start,

Regardless of how you feel about the new design, Hyundai improved the Sonata where it counts and that’s while you’re behind the wheel.

Engineers improved the bearing stiffness of the front suspension and the rear suspension has been upgraded from a three link to a four link suspension. The rigidity of the chassis was increased, so along with a wider wheelbase the car feels more planted on the road and handled corners well too.

The 2015 Sonata offers modified versions of the 2.4L GDI and 2.0L Turbo four-cylinders that powered the outgoing model. Both horsepower and torque were dialed back in each engine (the 2.4L drops from 190hp to 185hp and from 179 lb.-ft. to 178 lb.-ft. and the 2.0L drops from 274hp to 245hp and from 269 lb.-ft. to 260 lb.-ft). Hyundai says this not only helps improve MPGs but also improves driving in low to mid RPM situations, that most people tend to be in.

I drove both engines and preferred the turbo. It instantly responds when you put your foot on the accelerator and despite not being as powerful as the last model it didn’t feel noticeably underpowered. The 2.4L performed fine in most driving conditions but it did feel underpowered in hilly terrain.

New for 2015 is a fuel friendly 1.6L Turbo four-cylinder that’s mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. And the hybrid version stays the same underneath but won’t get the new body until next year.

The previous Sonata was an important vehicle for the company because not only did it sell well it brought in younger, more educated, and wealthier customers. But we’ll have to wait and see if the new Sonata can repeat that success and turn around sales. Overall Hyundai made the right changes for the car to compete in such a competitive segment.

2 Comments to “Seat Time: 2015 Hyundai Sonata”

  1. cozy crv Says:

    Hello Seamus, so you talk about the Sonata, and list the Camry, Fusion, Accord, Malibu, and Altima, but everyone forgets the Mazda 6. Hows the Sonata stack up against the Mazda 6? thanks Cozy

  2. james leibensperger Says:

    Hello Seamus, I believe you are correct with the changes they made to the new generation Sonata, and hopefully it will sell well for Hyundai. The 2014 Sonata I have is a 2.0 turbo , and it does work well with the car. Please Hyundai could you put one of your diesel engines in the new Sonata, because that would make a good car even better, and attract new customers! Thanks for your time , James