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First Drive: 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Sport

Hyundai Sonata Sport_01

In generation pasts, the Hyundai Sonata was that odd duck everyone knew existed, but really didn’t want to acknowledge. With the last fifth-gen Sonata, Hyundai thought outside the box, pushed the Sonata’s design limits into a new era of consumers, which then started to put them on the map. Now, for 2015, the Sonata has been fully redesigned with a new body, new interior, as well as having a re-engineered chassis and engine – question now remains will this new design market to not only new customers, but more importantly, the returning ones.

After earning the respects of their client base, Hyundai toned down the design scheme when it came to its sixth-gen Sonata. Modestly expressing clean lines and a more sophisticated body style, the Sonata is much more mature in its stance. Our tester featured here is the Sport trim level which offers a 2.0-liter turbo burrowed under its hood over the base 2.4L and the new-to-Sonata eco-friendly 1.6L.  While this Sport may be one step down from the fully loaded Limited, don’t let that fool you, this Sport has plenty of premium features and charming good looks to keep its buyer satisfied.

It’s hard to look at a family sedan as anything but sporty. However with its attractive 18” wheels, black chromed grille and quad-tipped exhaust, the Sonata puts up an assertive attitude that is rather pleasing to the eye. All Sonata’s feature beautifully lite LED daytime running lights in the lower fascia and if you spring for the Sport you get HID headlights as well as some snazzy looking LED taillights.

Much like the body style, Hyundai toned down its previous-gen 2.0-liter turbo from 274 horsepower to a messily 245 horsepower. With less power and more weight hitting the scales at 3,600lbs the Sonata whips out a less sporty time of 8 seconds to 60 mph trough a six-speed auto. Unless you’re drag racing through a Whole Foods parking lot, acceleration is graciously suave as is ushers its way into any traffic situation. And paired to its six-speed tranny makes for an excellent duo of quick and responsive gear changes; even more so through the steering wheel paddle shifters.

Now it can’t be a family sedan without it being a smooth, comfy ride and that’s exactly what the Sonata delivers. Even with our tested Sport Sonata, the sport tuned suspension and steering is more geared toward comfort than sportiness. To say the least, the thick, flat bottom steering wheel encourages the driver with eagerness as it presents responsiveness and respectable road feel; plus it looks fairly gnarly.

Since the theme this week has been Fifty Shades of Gray, why not make a pun against our sampled Shale Gray Metallic Paint combined with its gray interior on this very cloudy gray day. Not that we don’t mind, the gray interior fitted to our Sonata is quite handsome as its contrasted with dark stitching and a well-designed, agronomic dash with silver garnish. We will admit, we’ll miss the old futuristic dash design – this trapezoid scheme is somewhat of one to get used to. The lay out is very driver and passenger friendly and there is a high-quality feel with every touch.

Like any typical family hauler, there is room for 5 comfortably and with our optioned Ultimate Package ($4,950), you get some pretty ultimate features; just some of the features included is a Panoramic Sunroof, Radar Guided Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Forward Collision Alert, Heated/Ventilated Power Adjustable Driver and Passenger Seats, Heated Rear Seats, Navigation, and much more.

Hyundai did an exceptional all-rounded job with this new designed Sonata. Wind and road noise is kept to a minimum with improved sound proofing material which makes for a pleasant cabin. The Navigation is one of our favorites in the segment that is utterly user friendly. And that Panoramic Sunroof is absolutely to die for.

While some family trucksters are still carrying the old styled V6’s and testosterone pleasing grunts, the 2.0-liter turbo is more cost effective in the long haul. Hyundai rates this re-engineered 2.0L turbo at 23/32/26 (City/Highway/Combined) mpg; after a rough start to our week averaging 19 mpg, our final figures averaged to 24 mpg combined. Using regular grade fuel, the Sonata will go 530 miles before it needs to make a pit stop.

Nestled at an as tested price of $34,460, the Sonata sits right dab in the middle of its class segment compared to the Subaru Legacy, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry. Down side, those are still offered with a more enthusiastic driving experience through their more powerful V6 engines.

In a market full of boring – we enjoy seeing manufacturers taking a leap of faith. In this case, Hyundai took a leap into a more grown up, serious direction. This new Sonata checks all the right boxes we look for in a sedan and we like what they’ve done in terms of styling – just beware, if you are looking for a sporty sedan, don’t be lured in by its quad exhaust… it’s a trick.

Price (As Tested):
2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T: $28,575
Destination: $810
Featured Options:
Carpeted Floor Mats: $125
Ultimate Package: $4,950
Grand Total: $34,460


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