Hyundai’s best-selling and most enduring model is its Sonata midsize sedan. Just four years after a significant update, Hyundai has brought forth an all-new model. It is a stylish sedan with a competitive price and has generous amounts of standard equipment.
Four years after introducing an all-new Hyundai Sonata, yet another new model makes its debut. The latest generation of this midsize, front-wheel drive five-passenger sedan provides more subtle updates, while maintaining its attractive price point along with its premium status.
The 2010 Hyundai Tucson introduced fluidic sculpture, the name for this manufacturer’s design language. It was a look that eventually was applied to every subsequent new Hyundai model over the next few years including the 2011 Sonata. Fluidic sculpture represents a design identity that is both fluidic and organic, and is applied to the vehicle’s exterior as well as inside. It emphasizes curves as seen on the sedan’s front and rear fascias, and across its entire body. In higher end models the grille, including the Sonata’s, is surrounded by chrome and is wing-shaped, in keeping with the brand’s “modern premium” persona.
Beginning in 2015, Hyundai introduced fluidic sculpture 2.0. The look is slightly more subdued with exterior curves relaxed. Each model is outfitted with LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights and projector headlights. High intensity definition headlamps are also available. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata projects an athletic stance with strong shoulders, rocker panel trim, side profile characteristics and alloy wheels. Each model comes with a rear lip spoiler, chrome door handles, chrome-tipped dual exhausts and side mirrors with turn signal indicators.
A welcome feature added for 2015 is a hands-free smart trunk. With the key fob in hand or on your person, you can approach the trunk directly from the rear, stop, listen for four beeps and watch the trunk lid open. Full hands are no problem as a sensor detects your presence.
Open the door to the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and it is evident that much attention was given to the cabin. The cabin seems large and provides plenty of natural and augmented lighting, with smooth lines and luxury touches throughout.
The Sonata provides very good room for five with a pair of bucket seats up front and and split-folding bench seat to the rear. Standard cloth seating gives way to leather seating in the Limited edition, the latter also brings in wood trim and aluminum accents.
A tilt and telescopic steering column is standard in addition to cruise control, cruise and audio controls on the steering wheel, an overhead storage console, front and rear cup holders, front and rear door pockets, drink holders in each door, front seat back pockets, air conditioning and a six-speaker audio system.
Also available is an 8-way power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support, a 6-way power front passenger seat, a 7-speaker audio system with satellite radio, telematics and a manual rear sunshade. Rear side sunshades are also available.
The 2015 Sonata also comes with a concealed front storage compartment designed to hold a smartphone, a second smartphone holder, heated side mirrors, available rear heated seats, three 12-volt outlets, a USB port and an auxiliary input port, a rear seat middle arm rest, reading lights and five headrests.
For 2015, Hyundai offers customers three engine choices. These choices do not include the Sonata Hybrid, what is sold separately and won’t be updated before 2016.
The standard engine is a 2.4-liter normally-aspirated four-cylinder engine making 185 horsepower and 178 foot-pounds of torque. This engine, like the other two, is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA mileage ratings come in at 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.
A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine brings optimum power to the Sonata family. It is rated at 245 horsepower and makes 260 foot-pounds of torque. Its fuel economy ratings come in as high as 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.
New for 2015 is a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, offered with the Sonata Eco. This engine provides the best combination of performance and fuel economy for the sedan. It makes 177 horsepower and 195 foot-pounds of torque. It has a fuel economy rating of 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. All Sonata models take regular grade gasoline.
On the road, the tested Limited edition with the the standard engine offered good power off the mark and sufficient power in passing. Average handling can be improved by selecting the “sport” mode; consequently, your fuel economy will suffer slightly. The ride is comfortable and braking is good.
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata delivers premium technologies through two package upgrades: tech and ultimate. The tech package brings in a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof with tilt and slide, HID Xenon headlamps, an upgraded audio system and navigation. Heated front seats, the automatic opening trunk, air conditioning and driver select mode are standard.
The ultimate package brings in numerous safety features as outlined in the safety section. Its adaptive cruise control is especially noteworthy as it provides automatic separation between vehicles. It will also stop the car should the vehicle in front of you come to a halt.
Hyundai’s telematics system is called BlueLink. It is a connected car system that provides emergency assistance, roadside assistance and automatic collision notification. It can work with your smartphone by turning it into a control device whereby you can remotely start your car, activate the climate control system or lock and unlock your car. BlueLink controls are found on the display screen and at the base of the rear view mirror.
Once again, the Hyundai Sonata is a safety leader among midsize sedans. For 2015, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has assigned a Top Safety Pick+ award to the Sonata. The IIHS’ top award only goes to models that receive high scores in crashworthiness tests and provide a foreword collision warning system that meets the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s requirements. The collision warning system is optional equipment, included with the sedan’s available ultimate package.
Hyundai provides a long list of standard safety features with the 2015 Sonata.
This sedan comes with antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags, emergency braking assist and a tire pressure monitoring system. Choose the ultimate package and this sedan includes an electronic parking brake, lane departure warning, rear parking assist and smart cruise control.
Hyundai prices the 2015 Sonata from $21,150 for the base SE edition. The Hyundai Sonata Sport is priced from $23,175, the Sonata Eco from $23,275 and the Sonata Limited retails for $26,525. A Sport 2.0T edition costs $28,575.
A well-equipped Hyundai Sonata can be had for approximately $25,000. Choose the Sonata Eco and the $1,700 Sport Tech package and your sedan comes equipped with a navigation system and an upgraded audio package, bringing your final price to $24,995 or well below what some competitors offer with similar equipment.
The midsize sedan segment is populated by the best-selling Toyota Camry as well as the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and other models. Hyundai makes a strong case for the Sonata by providing a model with a premium look and feel and at an outstanding price point.