What it is: The 2015 Sonata is a full redesign of Hyundai's successful Camry and Accord fighter. The Sonata is back with Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design, which has actually taken a less intensive look. You could have put a Honda badge on the front and told me it was an all-new Accord and I would have believed you. This isn't a bad thing, but Hyundai is clearly looking to attract a wider range of buyers. The Sonata comes in five trim levels. The base model is called SE, which is followed by Sport then Limited then Sport 2.0T which includes a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine.
They did make the new Sonata slightly larger, and Hyundai can now claim the most interior room in its class. Hyundai also managed to drop the base MSRP by $300, yet added new features (like standard front LED lights) which is surely going to perturb their competitors.
The new interior was fantastic, and I loved the available leather seats. On the Sport trim, you even get 'Sport' embossed into the seat backs which looked great. Leather is standard on the Limited and Sport 2.0T trims, and available as part of the $1,700 Premium Package for the Sport trim. They have a few colors available, but the brown color (only available on Limited) looked really impressive. An incredible amount of luxury for less than $30,000.
Hyundai revised some suspension components and made the Sonata a very smooth cruiser, but still provided plenty of feedback for turning.
Hyundai tends to lump options together into large packages so that they can minimize the different number of configurations, but I feel like they have gone a bit too far with the Sonata. The SE has one package, Sport has two, Limited has two, and Sport 2.0T has one. Want navigation? You'll have to purchase the Sport 2.0T with the Ultimate Package or Limited with Tech Package. Both retail for over $30,000. Want the turbocharged 2.0 turbo engine? You'll also be getting HID headlights, proximity key, Blind Spot Detection system, hands-free smart trunk, premium audio system, etc. A Sport 2.0T is a full $5,400 more than a Sport as a result. Give us more choice than that Hyundai!
I did like Hyundai's hands-free key-free trunk entry system. You car has to be equipped with the proximity key system, but just stand within three feet of the trunk with a key, and it will automatically pop open for you. Very cool.
The engine choices are simple as well, with either the 2.4 liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder or the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. They produce 185 hp and 245 horsepower respectively. Hyundai will also eventually offer an Eco trim that will feature a 1.6 liter turbo engine mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that will come in at a very reasonable $23,175 price point.
Price: Base price $21,150. Fully loaded every option $34,335.
MPG: 25 city / 37 highway for 2.4 engine. 28 city / 38 highway for Eco trim.
Upsides: Incredible value. Great warranty. There may not be more bang for your buck available anywhere else.
Downsides: Limited configurations
Wrap-up: Hyundai's quantum leap into relevancy over the last ten years continues to no ones surprise. The new 2015 Sonata is not only one of the best cars available in America, it's actually built in America (Alabama to be precise) where they are popping them out as fast as they can at a rate of over 200,000/year. The Sonata really can't be ignored any longer, so I would think sales would continue to increase. Hyundai offers a car that costs less than everyone else, and is at the top of the class on just about every metric.