By Trevor Dorchies
KBB Expert Rating: 9.2
Life as a midsize sedan automatically means competing against the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet Malibu. Hyundai also considers the Volkswagen Passat, Chrysler 200, and its corporate cousin – the Kia Optima – as secondary competition. Overall, the midsize sedan segment is packed with stalwart offerings – some of the best-selling vehicles in the automotive industry. It will take a different train of thought for the 2015 Sonata to carve out its own space in the segment, but the all-new Sonata will try to lure prospective buyers in with more features and even a touch of luxury for less money than the competition.
You say you don’t want to drain your bank account, but still want some value and refinement? The 2015 Hyundai Sonata SE undercuts segment heavyweight sedans from Honda and Toyota by $825 and $1,275, respectively.
The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are best sellers for a reason, offering loads of space and, perhaps most importantly, legendary reliability at a reasonable price. While Hyundai has been around in the U.S. for a few decades now, it’s still working to win the masses over.
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All-new for the 2015 model year, Hyundai’s midsize sedan sports new looks both inside and out. A new 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission also debuts in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata.
Of the available Sonata powerplants, the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is the peppiest, allowing the 5-passenger sedan to take off from a standstill with ease. At the top of the...
... 2.0-liter line, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T trim brings a different steering wheel than what’s found in the rest of the lineup. Not only did we find this particular steering wheel to be easier on the eyes, a new dual-pinion rack exclusive to the 2.0T enhances handling. Back here on Earth, the 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine will carry the bulk of 2015 Sonata sales and for good reason. It’s quiet and works harmoniously with the 6-speed automatic transmission. As for the newcomer – the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbo – we expect this to be the choice for those focusing on fuel economy above all else. We’re anxious to drive it once Hyundai makes it available later this year.
CHROME-TIPPED QUAD EXHAUST
Opting for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T model brings different styling cues like chrome-tipped exhaust pipes. That’s not something you’ll find on an Accord or Camry anytime soon.
8-INCH TOUCH SCREEN
One of the optional features we recommend springing for, the 8-inch color touch screen houses navigation, a rearview camera, and media interfaces like Bluetooth and SiriusXM radio.
After being redesigned for the 2015 model year, the Sonata finally boasts an interior that’s capable of taking on the competition. An available leather-wrapped steering wheel and 8-inch touch screen are obvious refinements, but things like a windshield-wiper setting icon displayed through the 4.2-inch screen on the instrument cluster shows how Hyundai went the extra mile. In terms of overall layout, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata feels similar to the Accord courtesy of optimal ergonomics and more than enough room for five adults.
Hyundai describes the 2015 Sonata as “an athlete in a well-tailored suit,” and designers even went as far as to watch athletes walking the red carpet at various award shows for inspiration. A refreshed take on the Sonata’s signature saber line and hexagonal wing grille made the cut for the 2015 model. It has a low, athletic stance and sports redesigned taillights as well. On the Sonata Sport 2.0T, the trim level you go with dictates different exterior styling cues, including the front and rear fascia . The Eco trim benefits from aerodynamic enhancements in the name of fuel economy.
Standard equipment found on the base model Sonata SE sedan includes air conditioning, power windows with pinch protection, power locks, a driver’s blind-spot mirror, stability and traction control, and cloth seats. Other standard features include a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seatback, iPod and USB ports, and Bluetooth.
Available options for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata – standard on some models – include automatic headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8-inch touch-screen navigation system, audio upgrades, heated front and rear seats, and HD Radio. Optional equipment offered exclusively on the Sonata Limited and Sport 2.0T include a 10-speaker Infinity sound system, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, , automatic high beams, ventilated front seats, a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof.
Three engine choices are available for the non-hybrid 2015 Hyundai Sonata sedan models: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, a 2.4-liter inline-4, and an all-new 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. This new engine will be paired with a new 7-speed dual clutch transmission, while the other engines use a 6-speed automatic. With fuel efficiency being the focal point of the 1.6-liter, it offers up the least amount of power with 177 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-liter is rated at 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.4-liter produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of peak twist. The Sonata
Hybrid lives on for 2015 virtually untouched from the 2014 model before a refresh comes for 2016.
2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine + 35-kilowatt electric motor (Sonata Hybrid)
159 hp @ 5,500 rpm
199 net horsepower (engine and motor combined)
154 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 36/40 mpg (6-speed automatic)
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
177 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/38 mpg (7-speed automatic)
Sonata SE, Sport and Limited
185 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
178 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (6-speed automatic)
Sonata Sport 2.0T
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
245 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,350-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 mpg (6-speed automatic)
Pricing for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata opens up near $22,000 for the base SE model while the Sport will set you back about $24,000. Moving up the ladder brings you the Eco trim and its just-over $24,000 price tag, followed by the Limited which carries an asking price of around $27,300. The top-tier Sport 2.0T starts a hair under $29,400. For comparison’s sake, a 2014 Honda Accord sedan base model starts at about $22,800 and a base Toyota Camry at $23,200. The previous-generation Hyundai Sonata ran mid-pack when it came to resale value, which is an indication – though not a guarantee – of how the all-new Sonata will do when the time comes to sell. To give yourself the best idea of what folks in your area are paying for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, be sure to check out the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price.