Hyundai flew me to Montgomery, Alabama to join other auto journalists so we could drive the 2015 Sonata in order to write a review. They covered my expenses, however my experiences and opinions are my own.
Remember in April when I went to Arizona with Hyundai and drove the sexy 2015 Hyundai Genesis? During our presentation of the Genesis, Hyundai product managers teased, “the 2015 Hyundai Sonata will shake up the mid-size market”. Two months later, I’m at the HMMA in Montgomery, AL, driving a 2015 Hyundai Sonata off the assembly line! What are my impressions of the 7th generation Sonata?
2015 Hyundai Sonata Is More Mature Like The Difference Between An Amateur Athlete and a Professional
It was Friday night in Montgomery, Alabama. We were sitting in The Exchange, the pub at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa, sipping on cocktails and sharing our drive impressions. Live acoustic music filtered through the background of a lively Friday night crowd. We’d been on the go all day from our early morning Sonata overview at the plant, followed by our HMMA factory tour, and then the 200 mile drive route. After over indulging a little on BBQ at Dreamland, I was beginning to zone out from the food coma.
As my attention roamed, I noticed the sports updates on the TV overhead. Reporters were discussing Tiger Woods return to competitive play, and his disappointing performance. My thoughts returned to the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, something about the new design made me think about the difference between an amateur athlete and a professional. For example, the previous Hyundai Sonata was like an athlete coming into his prime. Its swoopy curves were a little flashy, edgy, youthful. From its introduction, the initial car’s design was searching for its own identity in a crowded mid size segment.
Now, the Sonata is older, more experienced, like Woods after winning his first major title. The Sonata has made a name for itself. It has a reputation. The 200,000 cars sold per year, along with numerous accolades, clearly show the score.
Accolades & Recognition
•2011 Car and Driver 10-Best
•2011 Automobile Magazine All-Star
•2011 International Car of the Year
•Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Family Car and 5-Year Cost to Own
•NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating
•IIHS Top Safety Pick
•1st Hyundai model with >200,000 units annual sales
In an effort to stay on top of the leader board and improve their game, the design team decided to turn down the flash and increase the substance.
The evolution to Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’s more taut, modern lines reflect the improvements in refinement and driving dynamics for 2015.” Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design North America
2015 Hyundai Sonata Review & Drive Impressions
As the cars rolled on the conveyor belt at HMMA, the striking Urban Sunset color and 2.0 Turbo immediately grabbed my attention. I jumped in the car, and yelled “OURS”, while my more laid back drive partner Jasmine with Simply Real Moms, continued snapping photos. I was super excited to put my foot on the aluminum pedals and see how the revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI would handle the backroads of Alabama. (Sonata 2.0 Turbo has 245 hp @ 6,000 rpm)
It hugged the roads, and delivered a quiet performance, but my attraction was mostly physical. I love the attention to detail like the D-cut steering wheel, leather wrapped shift knob, contrast stitching on the seats and wheel.
However, our model didn’t have the optional ultimate package, and I really missed the panoramic sunroof, rear view camera, and the Infinity premium sound system. I should mention, the Sonata 2.0T isn’t just a pretty face, it has an estimated 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined.
After lunch, we handed off the Sonata 2.0T, and made the trade for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited. Within the first five miles, both Jasmine and I agreed, we felt more at home in the leather seats, surrounded by the woodgrain accents. It was like we were driving the smaller, sportier version of its big brother, the Hyundai Genesis. All of a sudden, I felt “So Fancy” sitting behind the wheel of the Sonata Limited.
We cranked up the 400 watt Infinity® system, and recorded a little clip!
The premium sound system is just one of several features that will blow your mind. There’s no shortage of safety or technology features available in the 2015 Sonata. A few of my favorites include: standard seven airbags, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Lane Departure Warning System.
Right now the 2015 Hyundai Sonatas are rolling into dealerships with four trim levels available: SE, Sport, Limited, and Sport 2.0T. In September, the Eco model is expected to arrive with 1.6-liter turbo Gamma four cylinder engine with an output of 177 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It will be the first in its class to offer a new 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with an estimated 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.
Oh, and like an athlete in their prime, the best is yet to come. The 2015 Hyundai Sonatas rolling off the production line aren’t equipped with Apple’s Car Play, yet! But, you don’t have to wait to buy your new car, updates will roll out as soon as Apple Car Play becomes available. Now, I don’t own an iPhone or a Mac, so I’m even more excited to learn Hyundai, specifically the Sonata, will be one of the first non luxury vehicles to offer both the Google Android System and Apple Car Play.
Overall, I think Hyundai has done a great job of packing the 2015 Sonata with plenty of features, that will keep the Sonata on top of the leaderboard.