Hyundai has completely revamped the 2015 Sonata, which marks the introduction of the seventh-generation. While the last Sonata was a bold move from Hyundai – it grabbed everyone’s attention with its daring and aggressive exterior, but rather than continue with the bold styling, Hyundai has taken a different route with the new Sonata.
Hyundai has completely revamped the 2015 Sonata, which marks the introduction of the seventh-generation. While the last Sonata was a bold move from Hyundai – it grabbed everyone’s attention with its daring and aggressive exterior, but rather than continue with the bold styling, Hyundai has taken a different route with the new Sonata. Its styling has been toned down, giving it a more refined and sophisticated look as Hyundai tries to take more market share from the midsize heavyweights like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Hyundai gave me several examples of the new Sonata to try out over a few weeks and while the toned down styling did grow on me a bit, I still missed the more daring theme from the last model. The curves from the last Sonata have given way to a smoother exterior that will probably age better, but doesn’t really stand out in the crowded segment. It is interesting that Hyundai decided to tone down the styling of the latest Sonata, while Toyota who for years has been criticized for the boring Camry, has decided to finally give it a bold, in your face exterior. It will be interesting to see if Hyundai decides to get a little more adventurous with the next Sonata.
Inside the new design theme works a bit better. The interior is laid out well and is cleaner than the last model, although it does lack a bit of character. Rear seat legroom and headroom is great and every passenger I took along loved how comfortable and spacious the interior felt. It’s even more spacious feeling if you opt for the panoramic roof.
Under the hood, the Sonata is offered with several four-cylinder engines ranging from the base 184-horsepower 2.4L to the top-spec 245-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged engine. There’s also a new turbocharged 178-hp 1.6L four-cylinder in the Eco model. Both the 2.4L and 2.0L engines are mated to a six-speed automatic, while the 1.6L gets a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
During my stint with the Sonata, I had the chance to drive the base 2.4L Sport and Limited models, plus the new Eco. Which one did I prefer? The Sonata Eco. Don’t be fooled by the Eco badge, the Eco is definitely the better choice between the base four-cylinder models, mainly because of its dual-clutch transmission. With a smaller turbocharged engine and a faster shifting transmission, the Sonata Eco is actually a bit more fun to drive than I expected. It’s acceleration is better than the 2.4L model, even with its 7 horsepower deficit. The Eco does have more torque at 195 lb-ft. vs. 178 lb-ft. Also the Eco carries a higher MPG rating than the base Sonata SE at 28/ 38 mpg vs 25/37 mpg.
On the road, the Sonata does have some handling improvements over the last generation. It’s body is now stiffer and its suspension improvements make it feel a bit more solid on the road. I also had no complaints about the electric power steering, which isn’t too light, like some other models in the midsize class.
While some have criticized the new Sonata for being too toned down from the last generation, it does have a lot of improvements that you may not immediately see. It’s far more refined than the last Sonata.