Why the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Matters:
The previous generation Hyundai Sonata sounded a wake-up call that Korea was serious about stealing market share in the mid-size sedan segment. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata takes that seriousness one step further with a design that’s not quite as pretty as it used to be, adopting harder lines and a host of new technologies as the next stage in the vehicle’s evolution. That’s not to say that this is an ugly car – it’s just moved in a new direction that places it more in-step with some of its rivals, trading some individuality for an image of strength and sport. Think of it as a move to consolidate the brand’s hard-won customer base.
New 2015 Hyundai Sonata: What’s New
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata’s new styling hasn’t sprung forth from a vacuum – it’s reminiscent of the same reserved approach taken with the Hyundai Genesis full-size sedan, which has also been redesigned for the 2015 model year. Moving beyond the car’s significantly refreshed face and flanks the Hyundai Sonata also features a new interior, which actually meets ‘large car’ EPA size standards, as well as a more rigid platform and a stiffer suspension system (especially in Sport trim).
There’s also been a sizable investment made in advanced safety gear - including a forward collision warning system, lane departure warning system, and a rear cross-traffic detection system to go with last year’s blind spot monitor – as well as newly-available adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams. A hands-free trunk opening system joins the Hyundai Sonata’s equipment list, as does an eight-inch touchscreen navigation feature.
Under the hood the 2015 Hyundai Sonata has actually taken a bit of a step backwards: the base 2.4-liter motor is carried over from 2014, but it has lost five ponies due to a re-tune intended to make more power available down low. Total output now stands at 185 horses and 178 lb-ft of torque, while the next-step-up 2.0-liter turbocharged suffers a much bigger loss, dropping from 275 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of twist to 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. Again, the explanation is a reconfiguration of the engine’s powerband for improved low-end operation.
New 2015 Hyundai Sonata: What Autobytel Thinks
We’re a bit on the fence with the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. One the one hand, it’s a handsome sedan that will no doubt be that much better to drive due to chassis improvements, and it’s also got a nice interior that maintains the brand’s high standard for passenger compartments. That being said, it’s hard to like a drop in engine output across the board, and the sedan’s styling now seems to be following trends rather than walking its own path. We’ll have to reserve final judgment until we drive the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and see whether it’s a case of addition by subtraction.