I recently attended the press preview in Memphis for the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata and after a day of wheeling the car around the hills and lowlands of Western Tennessee and Mississippi — putting it through some pretty rigorous testing — I came away thinking that the Korean manufacturer has come up with another amazing automobile, one you can own at a very affordable price.
The outgoing Sonata is a superb automobile and a hard act to follow, but this allnew generation does that with ease. It has a more refined look, a stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness and numerous advanced safety and convenience features.
Hyundai says the 2015 Sonata uses advanced high-strength steel for more than 50 percent of the total platform, resulting in 41 percent stiffer torsional rigidity. That means you get better handling and a more comfortable ride.
The new Sonata’s design is crisp, sharp and smooth, but the larger, more refined grille with its wide air intake defines the face of the car. And, while the coupe-like roofline has been retained, it is balanced by a larger window that emphasizes the roomier interior. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and LED daytime running lights are all standard. The upscale Sport model has a more aggressive front grille, bumper and side chrome molding.
Hyundai continues with its four-cylinder engine group for the 2015 Sonata lineup. A revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder powers the SE, Limited and Sport models. It produces 185 hp and 178 pound-feet of torque, with Hyundai’s new Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT) improving performance in low temperatures and reducing emissions.
A revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI (also with E-CVVT) powers Sport 2.0T models. The powerful little turbocharged engine is optimized for lower-RPM driving and it produces 245 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission.
On the inside, the 2015 Sonata has an interior that you would expect to find on a premium luxury sedan. The emphasis is on ergonomics, with intuitive buttons and controls on the center stack and angled toward the driver to make the controls easier to reach. Controls are grouped logically and placed in the most convenient position for the driver, while the height of the audio display screen or eight-inch navigation system and instrument cluster are optimized for visibility and on the same plane for reading with a quick glance. Even the steering wheel was revised to bring it to an ideal diameter, shape and feel.
Pricing on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ranges from $21,150 for the SE to $33,525 for the Sport 2.0T.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.