There was once a time when the Hyundai Sonata was an also-ran in the mid-size family sedan segment, but that all changed in 2011 when the car debuted dramatically more extroverted styling while ramping up value and features availability across the board. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata continues to maximize return for the dollar, but it moves laterally into a safer, more conservative exterior design that ruffles fewer feathers than the groundbreaking previous generation did. The decision to focus on content rather than turning heads has kept the Sonata competitive with class masters like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, even if your blood boils a little less when the four-door is parked in your driveway.
Let’s take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2015 Hyundai Sonata.
01. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Features More ‘Mature’ Styling
The last-generation Hyundai Sonata’s flowing curves and graceful lines have been largely replaced by the 2015 edition’s blunter sheet metal. The effect is far from displeasing, but it’s certainly removed some of the character from the Hyundai Sonata’s previously-outgoing personality. The more homogenous look of the sedan does have a number of interesting details to offer, however: look for the LED tail lights and more attractive rear bumper cover, as well as a broader grille up front that sees it match up more closely with rivals from Toyota and Nissan.
02. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Upgrades Its Cabin
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata may no longer be as flashy on the outside, but one can easily detect the concerted effort made within its passenger compartment to both simplify and improve its utility and comfort. Reorganizing the dashboard of the Hyundai Sonata has seen its center stack – and indeed, most of its knobs, buttons, and dials – deployed along a horizontal, rather than a vertical alignment in order to group important features within easier reach of the driver. There’s also the matter of the Sonata’s two new available touchscreens, one small (five inches) and one large (eight inches), with the second offering much improved graphics and logic over the previous sedan’s interface. Finally, Hyundai continues to step up its game in terms of trim quality, providing top tier versions of the Sonata with well-executed interior trim that feels as premium as it looks.
03. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Offers Exceptional Interior Room
Officially, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is marketed as a mid-size car. From the perspective of the EPA, however, the Hyundai Sonata offers enough interior volume (106.1 cubic feet) to classify it as a full-size sedan capable of competing with much heftier four-doors like the Toyota Avalon and the Nissan Maxima. This generously-proportioned interior is reflected in the Sonata’s good rear seat leg room, wide platform (in fact, wider than any of its mid-size contemporaries), and 16.1 cubic feet of trunk space. All of this is provided by a sedan that delivers almost exactly the same exterior footprint (within two inches) as the model it replaces.
04. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Debuts The Sport Trim Level
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata follows in the footsteps of several of its competitors by offering mid-size family shoppers the option of a more aggressively-tuned version of the car. Called the Hyundai Sonata Sport, this trim level is for the most part a styling exercise, and an effective one at that. On the outside, the Sonata Sport features sleeker body work up front, along the sides, and at the rear, while the passenger compartment reveals a flat-bottom steering wheel and a unique gauge cluster where the tachometer and speedometer are ‘zeroed out’ in the six o’clock position. Dual exhaust is standard across the board with the Sport trim, with the availability of special 18-inch rims and quad exhaust tips. Larger brakes and a stiffer suspension system can also be had with the Sonata Sport.
05. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Massages Its Existing Engine Options
Although the 2015 Hyundai Sonata offers essentially the same engines as it did the year before – a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder – a number of changes have been made to each unit to improve drivability. The decision to move more engine torque to a lower rpm range for each motor meant lopping off some power: the entry-level mill now features 185 horses and 178 lb-ft of torque, while the turbo drops more precipitously to 245 ponies and 260 lb-ft of twist. Each engine continues to be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which can be had with steering wheel-mounted paddles shifters when the car is ordered in Sport trim.
06. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Delivers Respectable Fuel Mileage
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata’s fuel economy manages to stay good, if not class leading, after the changes that have been made to its two carry-over engines. Starting with the base Hyundai Sonata, drivers can expect an around town rating of 25-mpg and a highway cruising figure of 37-mpg. The more robust 2.0-liter turbocharged engine understandably knocks these figures down somewhat, lopping two miles per gallon off of the city measure (23-mpg) and five miles per gallon from the car’s highway performance (32-mpg). For those who need the most frugal automobile they can find, however, there’s a surprise waiting in the 2015 Sonata line-up – one that we’ll go into detail about in the next section.
07. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Provides A New Eco Model
Brand new for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is the Sonata Eco, a version of the car that is designed to appeal to buyers looking for an efficient ride that doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of power. Featuring a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine matched with direct fuel injection, the Hyundai Sonata Eco puts down 177 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, which beats the entry-level edition of the car in the latter department. It also comes with a dual-clutch automated manual transmission that isn’t available anywhere else in the Sonata family, and this efficient gearbox helps the sedan turn in 28-mpg in stop and go driving and 38-mpg on the highway – a clear improvement over any other version of the car.
08. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Isn’t Here Yet
While you can buy a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for the 2015 model year, what you are actually getting is last year’s version of the battery-assisted sedan. There won’t be an all-new version of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid until the 2016 models hit dealerships, which means that if you are enamored of the previous-generation’s styling you can still get it for a limited time – if you also happen to be looking for a gasoline/electric vehicle. The Hybrid edition of the Sonata that will be sold alongside the redesigned car features a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine matched with a single electric motor, with total power production listed at 199 horses. Fuel economy for the sedan is listed at 36-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.
09. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Accents Safety
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata makes available a suite of advanced safety gear that would be the envy of several luxury automakers. The Hyundai Sonata can be ordered with active features such as a forward collision warning system (which is paired with adaptive cruise control), a blind spot monitoring system, and a rear cross traffic alert system that is useful when reversing out of parking space into a busy lot or street. This is in addition to a full complement of airbags from and rear that deploy to protect passengers in the event of a collision, as well as electronic stability control, traction control, and the car’s Blue Link telematics system that can automatically contact first responders after a crash.
10. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Prices Itself Cheaper Than Before
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata advertises a starting MSRP of $21,150. This represents a $300 discount over the entry-level edition of the 2014 Hyundai Sonata, even with the addition of extra equipment to the car’s base package. The Sonata isn’t just a deal when compared to past versions of itself – it’s also appealingly priced when facing off against vehicles like the Toyota Camry (MSRP $22,425), the Ford Fusion (MSRP $22,400), and the Honda Accord (MSRP $21,955). This emphasis on value continues to be a trademark for Hyundai, and a strong lure when attracting family buyers to the company’s showrooms.