[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Hyundai folks saw that I liked the new 2015 Sonata SE so much, they sent me the more upscale Sport model to drive for a week to compare the vehicles. Even though I found the SE to be a great mid-size sedan, the Sonata Sport 2.0T left me a little giddy with the handling and response from the revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged engine.
Under the Hood
With its gasoline direct injection (GDI) and electronically controlled variable valve timing (E-CVVT) this is one sweet little four-cylinder powerplant, generating 245 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. A revised 2.4-liter four-cylinder powers the SE, Limited and regular Sport models, producing 185 hp and 178 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission.
This all-new generation of the Sonata has a more refined look, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. It also delivers a better ride and handling, thanks to the use of advanced high-strength steel for more than 50 percent of platform, giving the frame 41 percent more rigidity.
At the same time, the 2015 Sonata design is crisp and sharp, with a larger grille and a wide air intake. Sport models have a more aggressive grille and bumper, along with chrome side molding. The coupe roofline has been retained and larger windows denote a roomier interior. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and LED daytime running lights are all standard.
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 an ideal diameter, shape and feel.
Safety and Convenience Features
The new Sonata is loaded with standard advanced safety and convenience features. There are seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag designed to help prevent the driver from sliding down the seat in a collision. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display are also standard. Also available are such advanced safety technologies such as Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Pricing on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata ranges from $21,150 for the SE to $33,525 for the Sport 2.0T.
[author image=”http://www.samaonline.org/Ron.jpg” ]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.[/author]