By Shari Prymak
The Sonata has been an important model in propelling Hyundai up the mainstream sedan ladder. It really hit its stride with the radically styled 2011 redesign, which was the first Sonata to tip the scale from rational appeal toward emotional appeal. For 2015, the Sonata has received a full makeover that tones down the radical styling, yet still making it a better car in almost every way.
The 2015 Sonata has been described as a mini Genesis both inside and out, which is no bad thing. Though more conservative than the outgoing model, the Sonata still has a fairly handsome design. The spacious interior has a quality look, and the controls have a sense of logic, with a fair number of buttons and knobs to compliment the touchscreen.
If you like having plenty of features in your family sedan, then the Sonata will probably make you very happy. Most trim levels include niceties like heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, and blind spot detection. The top of the line Limited model includes just about everything you could want in a family car, including a few rather unique for the class features like a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, and rear sunshade blinds.
Beyond its extensive list of features, the Sonata offers a fairly pleasant driving experience. The cabin is wonderfully quiet, even at freeway speeds. The body structure has a pleasing sense of solidity to it. And the suspension tuning, a traditional weak point with Hyundai, hits a good balance between family-friendly comfort and corner-carving tautness. The Sonata isn’t exactly what you’d call a driver’s car, but it isn’t a useless, wallowy lump in the handling department either.
With a starting MSRP of $23,999, the Sonata represents good value for money, especially when you factor in Hyundai’s strong warranty and frequent use of purchase incentives. A fully optioned Limited model with the 2.4L engine will run you $32,999. There is a more powerful 2.0L, turbocharged engine available as a $1,800 option. Most, however, should be content with the simpler, more fuel efficient 2.4.
The Sonata faces tough competition in the Accord, Camry, Mazda6, and Fusion. Still, its quality construction, feature loaded trim levels, and good value for the money are all reasons to put it on your test drive list.