First Drive: 2015 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai keeps moving forward. That’s the big takeaway from my drive of the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata on a beautiful summer day in Michigan. Hyundai has been on a roll with its bold, fluidic structure design language, and now we’re seeing an evolution as Hyundai introduces a more sophisticated and refined version of that design with the new Sonata.


Hyundai refers to the design evolution as its Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language. Everything starts with the new front facia of the Sonata, with cleaner lines and sharper edges. The previous model gained attention by looking trendy while the new Sonata looks more elegant. The new design makes the Sonata one of the more attractive mid-sized sedans on the market and it will likely get more attention from professionals.


My favorite design change regarding the Sonata involves the interior. I wasn’t much of a fan of the old design of the dash in particular, which was way to gaudy for my taste even if it was better than some of its stodgier competitors when first introduced. Now the unnecessary boldness of the previous dash has been replaced by a robust but elegant design that fits well with the more upscale look of the exterior. The new Sonata looks and feels like it should be a more expensive car. It’s classy, and thus should appeal to more consumers without turning off those who liked the previous model.

Plenty of features are available such as hands-free Smart Trunk, Smart Cruise Control with stop/start capability, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel.


The SE, Sport and Limited models feature a revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque while the Sport and Limited 2.0T models feature a revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI that produces 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. You could feel the difference driving the turbo which features a smaller turbine and compressor wheels, providing better responsiveness and more torque in the low and mid RPM range. I drove vehicles with both engines and each was fun to drive, though I naturally preferred to turbo.

Meanwhile, Hyundai offers an Eco version powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged Gamma four-cylinder engine producing 178 horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque. The Sonata Eco is the first Hyundai product to utilize a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which helps deliver 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for this version.

With the Sonata consumers also get plenty of standard safety features including even airbags with a new driver’s knee airbag. Also available are safety technologies such as Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Lane Departure Warning System.


Hyundai staked its claim on the mid-sized sedan market with the previous version of the Sonata and the brand will likely cement its position with this new model. I was thoroughly impressed with this vehicle and anyone shopping in this segment should put the Sonata on their short list. It’s a well-designed vehicle that offers all of the features buyers in this segment will expect.