The fully redesigned 2015 Hyundai Sonata is a very different sedan than the radically remade 2011 model that nudged in alongside mid-size mainstays like the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Honda Accord.
In fact, with the calmer design, more laid-back demeanor, and almost obsequoius look and feel, it almost feels as if Hyundai’s through its ‘getting noticed’ phase, and it’s going back to what it does best: make a car that does pretty much everything well, and adds up to one terrific value for the money.
Or perhaps it’s the greater aversion to risk that selling around 200,000 Sonatas per year brings. In any case, the new 2015 Sonata blends in, but it blends in right with the top tier of affordable mid-size sedans—with refined performance, a more comfortable ride, a better back-seat layout, and a stronger set of safety features than before. And that’s what altogether pushes its TCC Rating to an impressive 8.4 overall, making it one of the highest-rated new mainstream models and a 2015 Best Car To Buy Nominee.
Whether you go with the base 185-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or the 245-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four, they’re quiet, responsive, and free of vibration—almost Lexus-like in their muted, damped responses to pretty much everything you could throw at them. There are multiple modes controlling the steering and powertrain responsiveness, but even with the turbo and Sport mode, this isn’t any closer to a performance car than it ever was.
The look of the new Sonata is toned-down, and this generation of the Sonata appears to be making a move to blend in. It won’t turn heads like that last-generation model, especially when it was first released, but it’s not returning to complete anonymity like the generation before it. We see the new Sonata as very much continuing its own original look, yet with more subtlety—and inside or out, we don’t see a thing that isn’t tasteful about it.
Inside, that translates to a lot more space-efficiency. The Sonatas seating is better all around, and it’s positively awash in storage bins.
The base price of the 2015 Sonata is just $21,960; and while that’s one of the lowest in the segment. You’ll have to upgrade a bit to get what we see as the best value in the lineup: either the $23,160 for the Sonata SE with the Popular Package, or the similarly equipped Sonata Eco, at $24,085. And yeah, you can get some very cool tech features with the upgraded touch-screen systems in the Sonata—things like Pandora and SoundHound integration, and Apple Eyes Free Siri.
The Eco, which swaps in a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, was the one that we spend the most time with last month in our Best Car To Buy testing; and while it’s surely not our pick for Malibu canyon roads, it performed splendidly and economically in LA-style driving [read, boulevards and the 405 slog].
In short, the Sonata might end up feeling a little cool and calculated, but the number really do add up.This year there are 11 nominees ranging from family sedans, crossovers, a pickup truck, and even ... in The Car Connection Polls on LockerDome