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  1. Let us go back in time to October 2013 and my review of the 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T. This is how I ended the review, “The current Sonata started a revolution in the midsize sedan and the fact it's still selling so well means the next-generation model has a tough act to follow.” Well the Korean automaker revealed the next act of the Sonata at the New York Auto Show back in April and it seemed that something was amiss. It was named Sonata, had the Hyundai badges, and was powered by a selection of four-cylinder engines. But it didn’t look like a Sonata. The new model had lost that stylistic edge that the previous one had. Not a good sign considering that most people correlate the Sonata with the Hyundai brand. Was Hyundai going backwards? This past week, I had the chance to check out the 2015 Sonata lineup to see if any of those fears I had were true. The 2015 Sonata features Hyundai’s latest design language called Fludic Sculpture 2.0. The new language is an evolution and provides a more mature look for Hyundai’s midsize model. The front end features a wider grille, reshaped headlights, and a new bumper. The side profile features a toned-down version of the coupe roofline and distinctive character line running from the front fender to the rear. Hyundai designers also increased the window space along the side to improve the feeling of interior space. The back has a reshaped trunk lid and taillights. New for this generation is the introduction of a Sport model which adds a more aggressive front grille and bumper; side skirts, eighteen-inch alloys, and quad exhaust pipes. I’m not sure toning down the Sonata’s look is a good decision. When the last-generation Sonata debuted, it stood out in the plain and bland midsize class. Now with the new one, it kind of blends in with everyone else. Sure, you can tell there are design cues that come from the previous model and the Sport models does add some aggression. I just think Hyundai is going a little bit backwards here. Moving inside, the 2015 Sonata feels much more spacious and high-quality than the last-generation. The waterfall center stack and dual-cockpit front seat layout has been put out to pasture. In its place is a wider center stack which not only improves the feeling of spaciousness, it also improves the control layout. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with the lineup getting soft-touch materials and different trim pieces dependent on the model (Limited: Wood trim, Sport: Aluminum and faux Carbon Fiber). Back-seat passengers will see and feel a noticeable improvement in head and legroom. Equipment is generous across the lineup with all Sonatas getting alloy wheels ranging from sixteen to eighteen-inches, full power accessories, remote keyless entry, premium cloth upholstery, and 60/40 split-fold rear seats. For your entrainment needs, the base Sonata gets a standard radio with iPod/USB/AUX inputs, SiriusXM satellite radio, and Bluetooth. Next up is a five-inch touchscreen radio, followed by an eight-inch touchscreen with the latest version of the automaker’s infotainment system. Coming soon to the Sonata will be Apple CarPlay and Android Car integration. On the powertrain front, the 2015 Sonata has three different engines to choose from. The base is the 2.4L Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine. Standard on the SE, Limited, and Sport models, the 2.4 makes 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque (slightly down from the 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet from the previous model). Next is the turbocharged 2.0L Theta II GDI four-cylinder with (down from 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque). The reason for the decrease in power is due to both engines getting Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT) and the turbo engine getting a smaller turbocharger to improve responsiveness and drivability. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. New for the 2015 Sonata is the turbocharged 1.6L inline-four which is standard on the new Eco model. The 1.6L makes 177 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. To get all of the power to the road, Hyundai fitted a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The suspension setup is mainly the same with MacPherson struts up front and a multilink system in the rear. Sport models gain aggressively tuned dampers and springs. For steering, Hyundai employs two different steering systems. Most Sonatas use a column-mounted electric power-assist system, while the Sport 2.0T gets a rack-mounted setup which is said to improve responsiveness. Alright, enough information about the 2015 Sonata. Time to take it for a spin. See The Next Page For Drive Impressions. Before I dive into my impressions, I should say I didn’t get the chance to take a spin in the Sonata Eco. I hope to rectify that when I get a Sonata in for review in the coming months. First up was the Sonata Limited with the 2.4L engine. The 2.4L gets up to speed quickly when driving in the city limits, but begins to lose some steam as you climb higher in speed. I wasn’t sure if the power band dropped off at a certain point or if the gearing was tuned more for economy. As for the engine itself, it was very refined with minimal NVH levels. The automatic transmission goes about its business without making itself noticed at all. Ride quality is improved with a smooth ride and making imperfections seem like they don’t exist. Body monitions are kept in check when taken around corners. Steering is somewhat numb, but provides good weight. In other words, its pretty much par for the course in the midsize sedan class. Then I hopped into the Sonata Sport 2.0T. The 2.0T in the 2015 Sonata doesn’t quite feel as fast as the one in 2013 Sonata I drove last year. What has been improved is acceleration when leaving a stop. In the old Sonata, it felt like the turbocharger took a few seconds to spool up before delivering that punch. In the 2015 model with the smaller turbocharger, the response is improved and makes it feel a bit more punchy. Like in the standard Sonata, the automatic transmission does a fine job without bringing any attention to itself. Ride and handling is pretty much the same as the standard model which is surprising considering this is the Sport model. Steering oddly feels the same as the standard Sonata, despite a different steering system. Something tells me that I need to spend some more time with the Sport to see if there is really a difference, As for pricing, the 2015 Sonata lineup starts at $21,150 for the base SE model. Compared to the outgoing Sonata, the new model costs about $300 less. But don’t expect the removal of features. The base SE gets such items as LED daytime running lights, a driver knee airbag, blind spot mirror for the driver, and a rear lip spoiler as standard equipment. From there, the Sonata lineup climbs to $33,525 for the Sport 2.0T with the Ultimate Package. While the 2015 Hyundai Sonata has lost some of the edginess that made the previous-generation a standout in the midsize class, the 2015 model shows that Hyundai wants to move up and provide a vehicle that is seemingly well-rounded. The 2015 Sonata should be able to do something that the last-generation model started, bringing more buyers into Hyundai showrooms. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Refreshments, and Lunch For This First Drive Event Year: 2015 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Engines: 2.4L DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder (SE, Sport, Limited) 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder (Sport 2.0T) 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder (Eco) Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic (2.4 and 2.0T) Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic (Eco) Horsepower @ RPM: 185 @ 6,000 (2.4) 245 @ 6,000 (2.0T) 177 @ 5,500 (Eco) Torque @ RPM: 178 @ 4,000 (2.4) 260 @ 1,350 – 4,000 (2.0T) 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500 (Eco) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined 25/37/29 (SE 2.4) 24/35/28 (Sport and Limited 2.4) 23/32/26 (Sport 2.0T) 28/38/32 (Eco) Curb Weight: 3,252 – 3,466 lbs (Models equipped with the 2.4) 3,505 – 3,616 lbs (Sport 2.0T) 3,270 – 3,298 lbs (Eco) Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Pricing: SE: $21,960 - $23,160 Sport: $23,985 - $27,435 Eco: $24,085 - $28,185 Limited: $27,335 - $32,385 Sport 2.0T: $29,385 - $34,355 (Note: All prices include $810 destination charge.) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  2. At the New York Auto Show today, Hyundai introduced the 7th generation of their mid-size Sonata sedan. After the revolutionary change the previous version brought, Hyundai has adopted a more evolutionary design. Billed as Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, the 2015 Sonata has been refined further and the look brought more in line with the upper end of the Hyundai family, the Genesis luxury sedan. Hyundai addresses concerns of road noise and vibration with increased usage of sound deadening materials in the firewall and floorpan. Under the car is a fibrous glass board that improves aerodynamics and further reduces noise. Improvements in interior packaging bump the passenger volume up to 106.1 cu. ft. which is 3 cu. ft. larger than the next largest mid-size competitor, the Honda Accord. This increase in room earns the Sonata an EPA size rating of Large-Car. The suspension in all Sonatas has been re-tuned and reinforced for better ride and handling while the 2.0 Turbo models receive further tuning for a sportier feel. Powertrains are largely carryover with slight revisions in tuning. Peak horsepower for the standard 2.4 liter 4-cylinder has been reduced to 185 to improve responsiveness at lower RPM while the 2.0 Turbo, now sporting 245 horsepower and 260 ft-lb of torque, has a smaller turbine and compressor to reduce turbo lag. Hyundai has been making strong inroads lately against the long-time stalwarts of Camry and Accord. The 6th generation Sonata was released in 2011 and Hyundai is keeping the pressure up by bringing out a revised model in rapid succession. Press Release After The Jump Source: Hyundai Media NEW YORK, April 16, 2014 – Hyundai today introduced its all-new seventh-generation 2015 Sonata at the New York International Auto Show. Following the incredible success of the outgoing Sonata, the all-new generation offers a more refined look through a new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness and advanced safety and convenience features. Sonata truly democratizes the premium design and convenient technology of the Genesis sedan for the mid-size class. The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata will be built at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery, Ala. and go on sale early this summer. EXTERIOR DESIGN The 2011 Sonata raised the bar for design in the mid-size sedan segment when it was introduced in 2009. Consumers noticed the groundbreaking design and so did the competition. Sonata’s design matures for the 2015 model year with energetic and crisp lines complimented by smooth and subtle surfaces. Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 is a confident evolution of the original fluidic sculpture design language that perfectly expresses Sonata’s premium look and excellent value. A larger, more refined grille with a wide air intake defines the face of the 2015 Sonata. Simple, harmonious lines adorn the exterior while hinting at the improved dynamic performance and human-machine connection Sonata provides. Taut, horizontal rocker panels reflect the chassis’ increased stability and surefootedness while the signature Sonata beltline is now stretched tight to accentuate the sedan’s strength. The coupe-like roofline remains, but it is balanced by a larger window graphic that emphasizes the roomier interior. Horizontal lines in the rear underscore Sonata’s width and give the car a planted look. This purposeful shape achieves a remarkable drag coefficient of just 0.27, lower than any non-hybrid in the mid-size sedan class. Shoppers looking for a traditional design will appreciate the 2015 Sonata SE’s exterior styling that includes standard LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and chrome surround for the day light opening. Sonata Limited adds rocker panel extensions and dual exhaust for a premium look. Sonata Sport features a more aggressive front grille and bumper, side rocker extensions and side chrome molding. Sport models powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine feature dual exhaust while Sport 2.0T models feature a unique rear bumper fascia, quad exhaust tips and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Sport model is expected to be the most popular Sonata. With the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T, performance is something you taste and the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language certainly whets the appetite. “We crafted the shape of the 2015 Sonata in the same way an award-winning chef refines his recipe over the years,” said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design North America. “With the 2011 Sonata, Hyundai took the mid-size sedan from a meal to a gourmet dinner. The evolution to Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’s more taut, modern lines reflect the improvements in refinement and driving dynamics for 2015.” INTERIOR DESIGN Confident, energetic lines define the 2015 Sonata’s exterior and are complimented inside the cabin by a premium interior with a special emphasis on ergonomics. Intuitive buttons and controls are placed on the center stack, which is angled toward the driver to make the controls easier to reach. Hyundai’s core interior design principles are safety, intuitiveness and simplicity and Sonata delivers in spades. Controls are grouped logically and placed in the most convenient position for the driver. To create a unified experience inside the cabin, designers met with various suppliers to make sure all buttons and switchgear have a consistent feel. The height of the display screen for the audio display or 8-inch navigation system and instrument cluster are optimized for visibility and reside on the same plane to enhance readability during a quick glance. These ergonomic enhancements help the driver remain focused on the road ahead and provide confidence behind the wheel. All components inside the cabin were examined and opportunities for improvement were taken very seriously. Even the steering wheel went through extensive testing to determine the ideal diameter, shape and tactile feel to maximize driver confidence. Improvements in the design of the steering wheel and changes to the layout of the instrument cluster necessitated a new steering column design. Designers and engineers sweated every detail in their quest to make the interior as safe, intuitive and simple as possible while delivering convenient features with pleasing aesthetics. Sonata Sport 2.0T receives a unique interior that enhances its more dynamic personality. A D-cut steering wheel and paddle shifters help provide the confidence enthusiastic drivers expect while the sport instrument cluster with six o’clock needle position hints at the improved performance from the more responsive 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Reducing undesired noise inside the cabin was a top priority for the 2015 Sonata. Engineers reduced the size of the apertures in the bulkhead and increased use of sound deadening materials in the dashboard to prevent unwanted noise from entering the cabin. Engine notes were tuned to be pleasing to the ear without being intrusive. More sound absorption materials are used under the floorpan and an underbody tray made of fibrous glass expansion board improves aerodynamics while reducing unwanted road noise. The 2015 Sonata’s efficient packaging delivers outstanding passenger and interior volume. With 106.1 cu. ft. of passenger volume and a total interior volume of 122.4 cu. ft., 2015 Sonata is classified as a large car by the EPA. ADVANCED HIGH-STRENGTH STEEL PLATFORM A rigid platform is essential for a great car. Everything from ride quality to crash test performance is enhanced with a stiffer platform. The 2015 Sonata uses advanced high-strength steel for more than 50 percent of total platform composition, which results in 41 percent stiffer torsional rigidity and 35 percent greater bending strength. Advanced high strength steel is twice as rigid as traditional steel while weighing 10 percent less. More hot-stamped components are used, especially in the B-pillar area. A revised multilink rear suspension design enhances responsiveness, handling and stability while reducing impact harshness. Dual lower suspension arms replace the old single-arm design and distribute lateral forces more effectively to improve ride quality without sacrificing handling. The new rear suspension geometry helps keep Sonata more stable under hard braking and helps provide shorter stopping distances. Reinforced side and cross members strengthen sub-frame mounting points and improve suspension responsiveness. Revised front sub-frame bushings are 17 percent stiffer than before and contribute to better steering feel and improved responsiveness. 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T utilizes a new rack-mounted dual-pinion electric power steering system that offers more natural steering feel. Sport 2.0T models receive a unique sport-tuned suspension and larger 12.6-inch front brakes. These upgrades deliver increased driver confidence and a premium driving experience. Improvements in ride and handling were validated at Hyundai’s world-class facilities in Namyang, the Mojave proving grounds in California and the new test center located at the famed Nurburgring. Validating the 2015 Sonata’s performance at world-class test tracks resulted in a world-class mid-size sedan that inspires confidence in a wide variety of driving conditions. POWERTRAIN Hyundai continues its all four-cylinder engine lineup for the 2015 Sonata. A revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine powers SE, Limited and Sport models. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque. Hyundai’s powertrain engineers slightly reduced peak power for the 2015 Sonata to shift the powerband downward for better responsiveness in lower-RPM situations where customers spend the majority of their time. The new Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT) improves performance in low temperatures and reduces emissions. A revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI, also featuring E-CVVT, powers Sport 2.0T models. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is also optimized for lower-RPM drivability and it produces 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. The turbocharger features a smaller turbine and compressor wheel, which provide better responsiveness and more torque in the low and mid RPM range. Both Theta engines are paired with a six-speed SHIFTRONIC® automatic transmission. SAFETY FEATURES Sonata comes standard with seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag designed to help prevent the driver from sliding down the seat in a collision, which allows the other restraint systems to be more effective. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display are also standard. Projector headlamps are standard while HID headlamps are available. Hyundai engineers implemented many active safety technologies for the 2015 Sonata to assist drivers and help prevent accidents. No longer reserved for luxury cars, advanced safety technologies such as Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Lane Departure Warning System are all available in this midsize sedan. Sonata’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. This Lane Change Assist technology is a segment-exclusive active safety feature. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Departure Warning System uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning light on the dashboard illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver. Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another feature derived from the 2015 Sonata’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the 2015 Sonata when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert. This system is another tool that helps Sonata drivers utilize the active safety technology. CONVENIENT TECHNOLOGY The 2015 Sonata embodies Hyundai’s Modern Premium brand direction by providing convenient technology formerly reserved for luxury sedans in the mid-size segment without the premium price tag. Switching the high beams on and off manually doesn’t seem like a hassle, but Sonata’s High Beam Assist allows the driver to keep their eyes on the road and let the headlamps deliver maximum visibility without accidentally blinding oncoming traffic. Bright LED daytime running lights give the 2015 Sonata’s face a premium look. Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with full stop capability helps make driving on the freeway less stressful. This system allows full function down to zero mph to operate seamlessly using the front-grille-mounted radar sensor. SCC enables the 2015 Sonata to help maintain safer, consistent spacing with the vehicle ahead in varied traffic conditions. Smart trunk gives drivers a convenient hands-free way to open the trunk while keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground. The owner simply needs to approach the Sonata’s trunk with the key fob in a purse or pocket and wait three seconds. The trunk will automatically open, making it easy to place groceries or luggage inside when hands are full. Rear seat passengers are treated to segment-exclusive sunshades, an option typically found on luxury cars. Feedback from current Sonata owners resulted in a height-adjustable passenger seat and now both front seats can be heated and ventilated. Even rear-seat passengers enjoy the luxury of heated seats on a cold day. A heated steering wheel will be a favorite feature for owners of the 2015 Sonata Limited equipped with the Tech package. The desire to deliver class-above value allows these convenient technologies to trickle down from the all-new Genesis to the all-new Sonata making it the most sophisticated mid-size sedan available. MULTIMEDIA All 2015 Sonatas come standard with iPod®/USB and auxiliary input jacks, SiriusXM® satellite radio and Bluetooth® phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition. Available upgrades include an 8.0-inch navigation system with downloadable apps, HD radio, Dimension or 400-watt Infinity premium audio systems with next-generation Blue Link® telematics. Hyundai’s 8.0-inch navigation system offers an enhanced display with improved touch sensitivity, a map and music split screen display and the ability to record SiriusXM presets 1-6. Switching to a preset station in the middle of your favorite song won’t be an annoyance any longer. Rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to the full song or catch up on a sports broadcast. SiriusXM Travel Link®provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times. All 2015 Sonatas equipped with navigation will also support Pandora® and SoundHound applications as well as “Eyes Free” Siri integration, which allows drivers to perform a variety of functions without taking their eyes off the road. Apple CarPlay will take iPhone integration to the next level on the 2015 Sonata later this year.
  3. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 2, 2013 To say the current crop of mid-size sedans is downright impressive would be massive understatement. We have sedans that can be compared with more expensive models in styling, are fun to drive, and get fuel economy numbers that only compacts and subcompacts were getting a few years ago. It's hard to place where the starting point is for this current group of mid-size sedans, but I have a possible answer. The year is 2010. Hyundai introduced the next-generation Sonata to the marketplace and it was a suckerpunch to the midsize marketplace. Here was a mid-size sedan that brought forth amazing styling, impressive powertrain tech, and value for money that no one else could match. Everyone knew that a new, credible challenger had arrived and it was time to step up. After four years since its introduction, the Sonata is beginning to show its age when compared to its competitors. Sales though haven't slowed down at all. Can the current Sonata still stand tall or is it time for the curtain to fall on this sedan? The Sonata is still an impressive looking sedan. Despite going on almost four years in the marketplace, the Sonata looks like it was just released. You can tell that Hyundai's designers were influenced by the first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS as the two share a similar shape. Other details to take note are dual exhausts and a set of eighteen-inch wheels. The interior is a whole another story as it looks and feels very old. Someone at Hyundai must have been going through a dark period since there are large swaths of black throughout. There is black plastic and soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels. The seats are draped in black leather and mesh fabric. The only bright spot inside is the contrasting silver trim pieces along the center stack. So far, the Sonata SE ties with the Nissan Rogue SL for the most depressing interior of 2013. Another problem for the Sonata, at least for me, was the front seat adjustment. When I first got into the it, I felt like I was sitting too high. But when I tried to lower the seat, I was at the lowest position. Now I happen to be 5'7" tall and usually can find a comfortable position in a vehicle, not in the Sonata. After a couple days of driving around, I got used to the position. It does make me wonder if someone taller than me would have the same problem. As for back seat space, headroom comes at a premium due to the sloping coupe roofline. Legroom though is decent. Hyundai still has the value argument down to a T. SE models come standard with a proximity key, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and Hyundai's BlueLink telematic system. For an extra $2,900, you can order the SE Navigation and Sunroof package which includes navigation, sunroof, a Dimension Premium Audio System, and backup camera. It's an option package I highly recommend. With the outside and inside stories done, lets look at the Sonata's powertrain. Hyundai was the first automaker to drop the V6 engine and replace it with a turbo-four in the midsize class. The 2.0L turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder packs 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0T only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddles on the wheel. The 2.0L turbo is quite peachy. Imagine a bottle rocket being shot off and not slowing down, that's Hyundai's 2.0L turbo in a nutshell. The 269 pound-feet of torque spans from 1,750 rpm to 4,500 rpm (torque peaks at 3,500 rpm), meaning the Sonata 2.0T doesn't suffer from turbo lag and pulls off the illusion of being a bigger engine than it really is. Even more surprising: the 2.0T doesn't exhibit the thrashiness or buzzing that you would expect in a four-cylinder. The six-speed automatic works excellent as the computer puts the vehicle in the right gear at the right time. There are paddles but I didn't use them due to the reluctant nature of the automatic. Just leave it in drive and let the transmission do its thing. Fuel economy wise, I was on the low-end of the Sonata 2.0T's ratings. My average for the week landed around 22.0 MPG which happens to be the same as the 2.0T's City rating. If you have a lighter foot, you will likely be closer to the combined rating of 26 MPG. Out on the highway, I got close to 34 MPG rating with an average of 32. The Sonata SE model differs from the base GLS and top trim Limited in its suspension as it gets sport-tuned springs and dampers. Out on a curvy road, the Sonata SE does feel somewhat sporty. The revised springs and dampers helps the SE model feel much more planted and reduce body roll. Don't think it's in the same league as the 2014 Mazda6 though. The Sonata SE's steering doesn't feel like its connected to the vehicle. I know that I'm turning the steering wheel and the vehicle is moving, but there isn't that feedback coming through the steering wheel. Plus, if you push the Sonata hard, it begins to show signs of body roll. Moving off the twisty roads and onward to the freeway and streets, the Sonata SE shines here. The suspension copes very well when driven over rutted roads. Road and wind noise are mostly kept in check. Close to four years on, the Sonata is still a very impressive sedan. Sure, the interior is darker than Alaska during the winter solstice and provides one of the oddest seating positions that I have ever experienced. But Hyundai got the fundamentals right with the Sonata; a handsome design, punchy engine that gets decent fuel economy, comfortable ride, and pricetag that cannot be beat. The current Sonata started a revolution in the midsize sedan and the fact it's still selling so well means the next-generation model has a tough act to follow. Disclaimer: Hyundai provided the Sonata 2.0T, insurance, and one tank of gas. Year: 2013 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: SE 2.0T Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: 274 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 269 @ 1,400 - 4,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/34/26 Curb Weight: 3,452 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Base Price: $25,895.00 As Tested Price: $29,205.00* (Includes $775.00 destination charge) Options: SE Navigation and Sunroof Package - $2,900.00 Rear Spoiler - $250.00 Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror with HomeLink and Compass - $250.00 Carpeted Floor Mats - $100.00 iPod Cable - $35.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  4. Movie sequels can be a hit or miss affair. They can either be more memorable than the first movie (example: Empire Strikes Back) or leave a bad taste in your mouth (example: The Matrix Revolutions). This is true for vehicles as well; get it right and you’ll elevate yourself into a real player in the class. Get it wrong and you’re destined to become a nobody. So where does the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata fall? Well I spent a few days in the Sonata Sport 2.0T to find out. I think it is fair to say the new Sonata’s design has arrived with a bit of a thud. It isn’t to say the new Sonata isn’t a good looking sedan, but compared to the groundbreaking design of the previous-generation model, the new Sonata doesn’t have the same excitement. Such details as the coupe-like roofline and chrome trim running along the underside of windows are still there, but with a splash of boringness. The front and rear-ends feature a more upright design that makes it more Genesis-like. Sport models come with unique rear fascia treatment and quad exhaust tips to try and give it an aggressive look, something I think actually works. While the exterior is slightly disappointing, the interior is a massive step forward. Thanks to increase in the overall size of the Sonata, the interior has grown as well. This is noticeable when sitting in the back as there is more legroom then in the last-generation model. Headroom is still bit tight for taller passengers due to the sloping roofline. Other interior improvements include more soft-touch materials on the dashboard and a new centerstack design which makes it easier to find the HVAC and radio controls. On my Sport tester, it boasted a flat-bottom steering wheel and charcoal leather with burnt orange body-matching piping and thread. Seats provided good comfort and support. Now the Sport is available with either 2.4L four-cylinder or turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. I had the latter engine which produced 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic. As I wrote in my first-drive last year, the Sonata 2.0T feels a bit more punchy and has improved acceleration thanks to a smaller turbocharger. This very much holds true during my week long test as the turbo-four feels very lively. Stepping on the accelerator, it felt like I was unleashing a cannon as power came on instantaneously. NVH levels are kept down, making it more akin to a six-cylinder. The six-speed automatic delivers smooth and unobtrusive shifts. The EPA rates the 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T at 23 City/32 Highway/26 Combined. My week saw an average of 26.1 MPG. As for ride and drive, the Sonata Sport gets aggressively tuned dampers and springs, along with a new steering system to make it a bit more fun in the corners. But it doesn’t feel any more sporty than the standard Sonata. It might corner slightly better, but you really can’t tell if it does. Now on the positive, the Sport 2.0T provides a comfortable and smooth ride. But if this is a Sport model, there should be a noticeable difference. Steering also has the same problem as there isn’t a real difference between this system and the steering system found on the standard Sonata. Both systems feel slightly numb, but provide decent weight. I hate to say it but the Sonata Sport 2.0T is quite the disappointment. Hyundai dropped the ball on some key areas such as exterior design and making the Sport model feel sporty. In fact, Hyundai Motor America’s CEO Dave Zuchowski said the current Sonata doesn’t have the same impression as the last-generation one and they are planning to do a redesign in a year. But there has been some improvements that has improved it for the better such as the interior and changes to the turbo engine. However, those changes can’t save the Sonata Sport 2.0T from falling down. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: Sport 2.0T Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350 – 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/32/26 Curb Weight: 3,505 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Base Price: $28,575 As Tested Price: $29,510 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpet Floor Mats - $125.00
  5. Hyundai seems to be going backwards with the current Sonata. Unlike the previous model which was stealing sales from competitors, the newest model doesn't have the same effect. The reason? Looks. “I told the story to our parent company (of driving the old Sonata) home, (and) people were rolling down their window at stop signs, following me, (asking), ‘What is that? Where can I get it?", said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America CEO to Wards Auto. “And I don’t get that” with the new one. “That was free advertising, right? People would seek us out because we look different. And we don’t get that now.” When the current Sonata was shown at the New York Auto Show, Zuchowski said that the Sonata didn't have to shout with impressive design as the company has felt firmly established itself as a midsize sedan that had become top-of-mind for buyers. However, they realized that the Sonata hasn't reached that point. “If we’re priced comparably, and we appear comparable, it’s always difficult to win that battle with those more well-established, well-entrenched (models),” said Zuchowski. Hyundai is planning to redesign the current Sonata during its mid-cycle refresh, which according to Wards is expected to be around 2017 or 2018. “It’s hard to get anything (done sooner) than midcycle with the tooling involved,” said Zuchowski, adding Hyundai knows “exactly what we want to do, and we’re busy working on it right now.” Source: Wards Auto
  6. At the New York Auto Show today, Hyundai introduced the 7th generation of their mid-size Sonata sedan. After the revolutionary change the previous version brought, Hyundai has adopted a more evolutionary design. Billed as Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, the 2015 Sonata has been refined further and the look brought more in line with the upper end of the Hyundai family, the Genesis luxury sedan. Hyundai addresses concerns of road noise and vibration with increased usage of sound deadening materials in the firewall and floorpan. Under the car is a fibrous glass board that improves aerodynamics and further reduces noise. Improvements in interior packaging bump the passenger volume up to 106.1 cu. ft. which is 3 cu. ft. larger than the next largest mid-size competitor, the Honda Accord. This increase in room earns the Sonata an EPA size rating of Large-Car. The suspension in all Sonatas has been re-tuned and reinforced for better ride and handling while the 2.0 Turbo models receive further tuning for a sportier feel. Powertrains are largely carryover with slight revisions in tuning. Peak horsepower for the standard 2.4 liter 4-cylinder has been reduced to 185 to improve responsiveness at lower RPM while the 2.0 Turbo, now sporting 245 horsepower and 260 ft-lb of torque, has a smaller turbine and compressor to reduce turbo lag. Hyundai has been making strong inroads lately against the long-time stalwarts of Camry and Accord. The 6th generation Sonata was released in 2011 and Hyundai is keeping the pressure up by bringing out a revised model in rapid succession. Press Release After The Jump Source: Hyundai Media NEW YORK, April 16, 2014 – Hyundai today introduced its all-new seventh-generation 2015 Sonata at the New York International Auto Show. Following the incredible success of the outgoing Sonata, the all-new generation offers a more refined look through a new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness and advanced safety and convenience features. Sonata truly democratizes the premium design and convenient technology of the Genesis sedan for the mid-size class. The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata will be built at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery, Ala. and go on sale early this summer. EXTERIOR DESIGN The 2011 Sonata raised the bar for design in the mid-size sedan segment when it was introduced in 2009. Consumers noticed the groundbreaking design and so did the competition. Sonata’s design matures for the 2015 model year with energetic and crisp lines complimented by smooth and subtle surfaces. Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 is a confident evolution of the original fluidic sculpture design language that perfectly expresses Sonata’s premium look and excellent value. A larger, more refined grille with a wide air intake defines the face of the 2015 Sonata. Simple, harmonious lines adorn the exterior while hinting at the improved dynamic performance and human-machine connection Sonata provides. Taut, horizontal rocker panels reflect the chassis’ increased stability and surefootedness while the signature Sonata beltline is now stretched tight to accentuate the sedan’s strength. The coupe-like roofline remains, but it is balanced by a larger window graphic that emphasizes the roomier interior. Horizontal lines in the rear underscore Sonata’s width and give the car a planted look. This purposeful shape achieves a remarkable drag coefficient of just 0.27, lower than any non-hybrid in the mid-size sedan class. Shoppers looking for a traditional design will appreciate the 2015 Sonata SE’s exterior styling that includes standard LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and chrome surround for the day light opening. Sonata Limited adds rocker panel extensions and dual exhaust for a premium look. Sonata Sport features a more aggressive front grille and bumper, side rocker extensions and side chrome molding. Sport models powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine feature dual exhaust while Sport 2.0T models feature a unique rear bumper fascia, quad exhaust tips and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Sport model is expected to be the most popular Sonata. With the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T, performance is something you taste and the Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language certainly whets the appetite. “We crafted the shape of the 2015 Sonata in the same way an award-winning chef refines his recipe over the years,” said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design North America. “With the 2011 Sonata, Hyundai took the mid-size sedan from a meal to a gourmet dinner. The evolution to Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’s more taut, modern lines reflect the improvements in refinement and driving dynamics for 2015.” INTERIOR DESIGN Confident, energetic lines define the 2015 Sonata’s exterior and are complimented inside the cabin by a premium interior with a special emphasis on ergonomics. Intuitive buttons and controls are placed on the center stack, which is angled toward the driver to make the controls easier to reach. Hyundai’s core interior design principles are safety, intuitiveness and simplicity and Sonata delivers in spades. Controls are grouped logically and placed in the most convenient position for the driver. To create a unified experience inside the cabin, designers met with various suppliers to make sure all buttons and switchgear have a consistent feel. The height of the display screen for the audio display or 8-inch navigation system and instrument cluster are optimized for visibility and reside on the same plane to enhance readability during a quick glance. These ergonomic enhancements help the driver remain focused on the road ahead and provide confidence behind the wheel. All components inside the cabin were examined and opportunities for improvement were taken very seriously. Even the steering wheel went through extensive testing to determine the ideal diameter, shape and tactile feel to maximize driver confidence. Improvements in the design of the steering wheel and changes to the layout of the instrument cluster necessitated a new steering column design. Designers and engineers sweated every detail in their quest to make the interior as safe, intuitive and simple as possible while delivering convenient features with pleasing aesthetics. Sonata Sport 2.0T receives a unique interior that enhances its more dynamic personality. A D-cut steering wheel and paddle shifters help provide the confidence enthusiastic drivers expect while the sport instrument cluster with six o’clock needle position hints at the improved performance from the more responsive 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Reducing undesired noise inside the cabin was a top priority for the 2015 Sonata. Engineers reduced the size of the apertures in the bulkhead and increased use of sound deadening materials in the dashboard to prevent unwanted noise from entering the cabin. Engine notes were tuned to be pleasing to the ear without being intrusive. More sound absorption materials are used under the floorpan and an underbody tray made of fibrous glass expansion board improves aerodynamics while reducing unwanted road noise. The 2015 Sonata’s efficient packaging delivers outstanding passenger and interior volume. With 106.1 cu. ft. of passenger volume and a total interior volume of 122.4 cu. ft., 2015 Sonata is classified as a large car by the EPA. ADVANCED HIGH-STRENGTH STEEL PLATFORM A rigid platform is essential for a great car. Everything from ride quality to crash test performance is enhanced with a stiffer platform. The 2015 Sonata uses advanced high-strength steel for more than 50 percent of total platform composition, which results in 41 percent stiffer torsional rigidity and 35 percent greater bending strength. Advanced high strength steel is twice as rigid as traditional steel while weighing 10 percent less. More hot-stamped components are used, especially in the B-pillar area. A revised multilink rear suspension design enhances responsiveness, handling and stability while reducing impact harshness. Dual lower suspension arms replace the old single-arm design and distribute lateral forces more effectively to improve ride quality without sacrificing handling. The new rear suspension geometry helps keep Sonata more stable under hard braking and helps provide shorter stopping distances. Reinforced side and cross members strengthen sub-frame mounting points and improve suspension responsiveness. Revised front sub-frame bushings are 17 percent stiffer than before and contribute to better steering feel and improved responsiveness. 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T utilizes a new rack-mounted dual-pinion electric power steering system that offers more natural steering feel. Sport 2.0T models receive a unique sport-tuned suspension and larger 12.6-inch front brakes. These upgrades deliver increased driver confidence and a premium driving experience. Improvements in ride and handling were validated at Hyundai’s world-class facilities in Namyang, the Mojave proving grounds in California and the new test center located at the famed Nurburgring. Validating the 2015 Sonata’s performance at world-class test tracks resulted in a world-class mid-size sedan that inspires confidence in a wide variety of driving conditions. POWERTRAIN Hyundai continues its all four-cylinder engine lineup for the 2015 Sonata. A revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine powers SE, Limited and Sport models. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque. Hyundai’s powertrain engineers slightly reduced peak power for the 2015 Sonata to shift the powerband downward for better responsiveness in lower-RPM situations where customers spend the majority of their time. The new Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT) improves performance in low temperatures and reduces emissions. A revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI, also featuring E-CVVT, powers Sport 2.0T models. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is also optimized for lower-RPM drivability and it produces 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. The turbocharger features a smaller turbine and compressor wheel, which provide better responsiveness and more torque in the low and mid RPM range. Both Theta engines are paired with a six-speed SHIFTRONIC® automatic transmission. SAFETY FEATURES Sonata comes standard with seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag designed to help prevent the driver from sliding down the seat in a collision, which allows the other restraint systems to be more effective. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display are also standard. Projector headlamps are standard while HID headlamps are available. Hyundai engineers implemented many active safety technologies for the 2015 Sonata to assist drivers and help prevent accidents. No longer reserved for luxury cars, advanced safety technologies such as Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Lane Departure Warning System are all available in this midsize sedan. Sonata’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. This Lane Change Assist technology is a segment-exclusive active safety feature. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Departure Warning System uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning light on the dashboard illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver. Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another feature derived from the 2015 Sonata’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the 2015 Sonata when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert. This system is another tool that helps Sonata drivers utilize the active safety technology. CONVENIENT TECHNOLOGY The 2015 Sonata embodies Hyundai’s Modern Premium brand direction by providing convenient technology formerly reserved for luxury sedans in the mid-size segment without the premium price tag. Switching the high beams on and off manually doesn’t seem like a hassle, but Sonata’s High Beam Assist allows the driver to keep their eyes on the road and let the headlamps deliver maximum visibility without accidentally blinding oncoming traffic. Bright LED daytime running lights give the 2015 Sonata’s face a premium look. Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with full stop capability helps make driving on the freeway less stressful. This system allows full function down to zero mph to operate seamlessly using the front-grille-mounted radar sensor. SCC enables the 2015 Sonata to help maintain safer, consistent spacing with the vehicle ahead in varied traffic conditions. Smart trunk gives drivers a convenient hands-free way to open the trunk while keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground. The owner simply needs to approach the Sonata’s trunk with the key fob in a purse or pocket and wait three seconds. The trunk will automatically open, making it easy to place groceries or luggage inside when hands are full. Rear seat passengers are treated to segment-exclusive sunshades, an option typically found on luxury cars. Feedback from current Sonata owners resulted in a height-adjustable passenger seat and now both front seats can be heated and ventilated. Even rear-seat passengers enjoy the luxury of heated seats on a cold day. A heated steering wheel will be a favorite feature for owners of the 2015 Sonata Limited equipped with the Tech package. The desire to deliver class-above value allows these convenient technologies to trickle down from the all-new Genesis to the all-new Sonata making it the most sophisticated mid-size sedan available. MULTIMEDIA All 2015 Sonatas come standard with iPod®/USB and auxiliary input jacks, SiriusXM® satellite radio and Bluetooth® phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition. Available upgrades include an 8.0-inch navigation system with downloadable apps, HD radio, Dimension or 400-watt Infinity premium audio systems with next-generation Blue Link® telematics. Hyundai’s 8.0-inch navigation system offers an enhanced display with improved touch sensitivity, a map and music split screen display and the ability to record SiriusXM presets 1-6. Switching to a preset station in the middle of your favorite song won’t be an annoyance any longer. Rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to the full song or catch up on a sports broadcast. SiriusXM Travel Link®provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times. All 2015 Sonatas equipped with navigation will also support Pandora® and SoundHound applications as well as “Eyes Free” Siri integration, which allows drivers to perform a variety of functions without taking their eyes off the road. Apple CarPlay will take iPhone integration to the next level on the 2015 Sonata later this year. View full article
  7. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 2, 2013 To say the current crop of mid-size sedans is downright impressive would be massive understatement. We have sedans that can be compared with more expensive models in styling, are fun to drive, and get fuel economy numbers that only compacts and subcompacts were getting a few years ago. It's hard to place where the starting point is for this current group of mid-size sedans, but I have a possible answer. The year is 2010. Hyundai introduced the next-generation Sonata to the marketplace and it was a suckerpunch to the midsize marketplace. Here was a mid-size sedan that brought forth amazing styling, impressive powertrain tech, and value for money that no one else could match. Everyone knew that a new, credible challenger had arrived and it was time to step up. After four years since its introduction, the Sonata is beginning to show its age when compared to its competitors. Sales though haven't slowed down at all. Can the current Sonata still stand tall or is it time for the curtain to fall on this sedan? The Sonata is still an impressive looking sedan. Despite going on almost four years in the marketplace, the Sonata looks like it was just released. You can tell that Hyundai's designers were influenced by the first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS as the two share a similar shape. Other details to take note are dual exhausts and a set of eighteen-inch wheels. The interior is a whole another story as it looks and feels very old. Someone at Hyundai must have been going through a dark period since there are large swaths of black throughout. There is black plastic and soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels. The seats are draped in black leather and mesh fabric. The only bright spot inside is the contrasting silver trim pieces along the center stack. So far, the Sonata SE ties with the Nissan Rogue SL for the most depressing interior of 2013. Another problem for the Sonata, at least for me, was the front seat adjustment. When I first got into the it, I felt like I was sitting too high. But when I tried to lower the seat, I was at the lowest position. Now I happen to be 5'7" tall and usually can find a comfortable position in a vehicle, not in the Sonata. After a couple days of driving around, I got used to the position. It does make me wonder if someone taller than me would have the same problem. As for back seat space, headroom comes at a premium due to the sloping coupe roofline. Legroom though is decent. Hyundai still has the value argument down to a T. SE models come standard with a proximity key, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and Hyundai's BlueLink telematic system. For an extra $2,900, you can order the SE Navigation and Sunroof package which includes navigation, sunroof, a Dimension Premium Audio System, and backup camera. It's an option package I highly recommend. With the outside and inside stories done, lets look at the Sonata's powertrain. Hyundai was the first automaker to drop the V6 engine and replace it with a turbo-four in the midsize class. The 2.0L turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder packs 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0T only comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddles on the wheel. The 2.0L turbo is quite peachy. Imagine a bottle rocket being shot off and not slowing down, that's Hyundai's 2.0L turbo in a nutshell. The 269 pound-feet of torque spans from 1,750 rpm to 4,500 rpm (torque peaks at 3,500 rpm), meaning the Sonata 2.0T doesn't suffer from turbo lag and pulls off the illusion of being a bigger engine than it really is. Even more surprising: the 2.0T doesn't exhibit the thrashiness or buzzing that you would expect in a four-cylinder. The six-speed automatic works excellent as the computer puts the vehicle in the right gear at the right time. There are paddles but I didn't use them due to the reluctant nature of the automatic. Just leave it in drive and let the transmission do its thing. Fuel economy wise, I was on the low-end of the Sonata 2.0T's ratings. My average for the week landed around 22.0 MPG which happens to be the same as the 2.0T's City rating. If you have a lighter foot, you will likely be closer to the combined rating of 26 MPG. Out on the highway, I got close to 34 MPG rating with an average of 32. The Sonata SE model differs from the base GLS and top trim Limited in its suspension as it gets sport-tuned springs and dampers. Out on a curvy road, the Sonata SE does feel somewhat sporty. The revised springs and dampers helps the SE model feel much more planted and reduce body roll. Don't think it's in the same league as the 2014 Mazda6 though. The Sonata SE's steering doesn't feel like its connected to the vehicle. I know that I'm turning the steering wheel and the vehicle is moving, but there isn't that feedback coming through the steering wheel. Plus, if you push the Sonata hard, it begins to show signs of body roll. Moving off the twisty roads and onward to the freeway and streets, the Sonata SE shines here. The suspension copes very well when driven over rutted roads. Road and wind noise are mostly kept in check. Close to four years on, the Sonata is still a very impressive sedan. Sure, the interior is darker than Alaska during the winter solstice and provides one of the oddest seating positions that I have ever experienced. But Hyundai got the fundamentals right with the Sonata; a handsome design, punchy engine that gets decent fuel economy, comfortable ride, and pricetag that cannot be beat. The current Sonata started a revolution in the midsize sedan and the fact it's still selling so well means the next-generation model has a tough act to follow. Disclaimer: Hyundai provided the Sonata 2.0T, insurance, and one tank of gas. Year: 2013 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: SE 2.0T Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission Horsepower @ RPM: 274 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 269 @ 1,400 - 4,500 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/34/26 Curb Weight: 3,452 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Base Price: $25,895.00 As Tested Price: $29,205.00* (Includes $775.00 destination charge) Options: SE Navigation and Sunroof Package - $2,900.00 Rear Spoiler - $250.00 Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror with HomeLink and Compass - $250.00 Carpeted Floor Mats - $100.00 iPod Cable - $35.00 William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  8. Let us go back in time to October 2013 and my review of the 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T. This is how I ended the review, “The current Sonata started a revolution in the midsize sedan and the fact it's still selling so well means the next-generation model has a tough act to follow.” Well the Korean automaker revealed the next act of the Sonata at the New York Auto Show back in April and it seemed that something was amiss. It was named Sonata, had the Hyundai badges, and was powered by a selection of four-cylinder engines. But it didn’t look like a Sonata. The new model had lost that stylistic edge that the previous one had. Not a good sign considering that most people correlate the Sonata with the Hyundai brand. Was Hyundai going backwards? This past week, I had the chance to check out the 2015 Sonata lineup to see if any of those fears I had were true. The 2015 Sonata features Hyundai’s latest design language called Fludic Sculpture 2.0. The new language is an evolution and provides a more mature look for Hyundai’s midsize model. The front end features a wider grille, reshaped headlights, and a new bumper. The side profile features a toned-down version of the coupe roofline and distinctive character line running from the front fender to the rear. Hyundai designers also increased the window space along the side to improve the feeling of interior space. The back has a reshaped trunk lid and taillights. New for this generation is the introduction of a Sport model which adds a more aggressive front grille and bumper; side skirts, eighteen-inch alloys, and quad exhaust pipes. I’m not sure toning down the Sonata’s look is a good decision. When the last-generation Sonata debuted, it stood out in the plain and bland midsize class. Now with the new one, it kind of blends in with everyone else. Sure, you can tell there are design cues that come from the previous model and the Sport models does add some aggression. I just think Hyundai is going a little bit backwards here. Moving inside, the 2015 Sonata feels much more spacious and high-quality than the last-generation. The waterfall center stack and dual-cockpit front seat layout has been put out to pasture. In its place is a wider center stack which not only improves the feeling of spaciousness, it also improves the control layout. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with the lineup getting soft-touch materials and different trim pieces dependent on the model (Limited: Wood trim, Sport: Aluminum and faux Carbon Fiber). Back-seat passengers will see and feel a noticeable improvement in head and legroom. Equipment is generous across the lineup with all Sonatas getting alloy wheels ranging from sixteen to eighteen-inches, full power accessories, remote keyless entry, premium cloth upholstery, and 60/40 split-fold rear seats. For your entrainment needs, the base Sonata gets a standard radio with iPod/USB/AUX inputs, SiriusXM satellite radio, and Bluetooth. Next up is a five-inch touchscreen radio, followed by an eight-inch touchscreen with the latest version of the automaker’s infotainment system. Coming soon to the Sonata will be Apple CarPlay and Android Car integration. On the powertrain front, the 2015 Sonata has three different engines to choose from. The base is the 2.4L Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine. Standard on the SE, Limited, and Sport models, the 2.4 makes 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque (slightly down from the 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet from the previous model). Next is the turbocharged 2.0L Theta II GDI four-cylinder with (down from 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque). The reason for the decrease in power is due to both engines getting Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT) and the turbo engine getting a smaller turbocharger to improve responsiveness and drivability. Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission. New for the 2015 Sonata is the turbocharged 1.6L inline-four which is standard on the new Eco model. The 1.6L makes 177 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. To get all of the power to the road, Hyundai fitted a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The suspension setup is mainly the same with MacPherson struts up front and a multilink system in the rear. Sport models gain aggressively tuned dampers and springs. For steering, Hyundai employs two different steering systems. Most Sonatas use a column-mounted electric power-assist system, while the Sport 2.0T gets a rack-mounted setup which is said to improve responsiveness. Alright, enough information about the 2015 Sonata. Time to take it for a spin. See The Next Page For Drive Impressions. Before I dive into my impressions, I should say I didn’t get the chance to take a spin in the Sonata Eco. I hope to rectify that when I get a Sonata in for review in the coming months. First up was the Sonata Limited with the 2.4L engine. The 2.4L gets up to speed quickly when driving in the city limits, but begins to lose some steam as you climb higher in speed. I wasn’t sure if the power band dropped off at a certain point or if the gearing was tuned more for economy. As for the engine itself, it was very refined with minimal NVH levels. The automatic transmission goes about its business without making itself noticed at all. Ride quality is improved with a smooth ride and making imperfections seem like they don’t exist. Body monitions are kept in check when taken around corners. Steering is somewhat numb, but provides good weight. In other words, its pretty much par for the course in the midsize sedan class. Then I hopped into the Sonata Sport 2.0T. The 2.0T in the 2015 Sonata doesn’t quite feel as fast as the one in 2013 Sonata I drove last year. What has been improved is acceleration when leaving a stop. In the old Sonata, it felt like the turbocharger took a few seconds to spool up before delivering that punch. In the 2015 model with the smaller turbocharger, the response is improved and makes it feel a bit more punchy. Like in the standard Sonata, the automatic transmission does a fine job without bringing any attention to itself. Ride and handling is pretty much the same as the standard model which is surprising considering this is the Sport model. Steering oddly feels the same as the standard Sonata, despite a different steering system. Something tells me that I need to spend some more time with the Sport to see if there is really a difference, As for pricing, the 2015 Sonata lineup starts at $21,150 for the base SE model. Compared to the outgoing Sonata, the new model costs about $300 less. But don’t expect the removal of features. The base SE gets such items as LED daytime running lights, a driver knee airbag, blind spot mirror for the driver, and a rear lip spoiler as standard equipment. From there, the Sonata lineup climbs to $33,525 for the Sport 2.0T with the Ultimate Package. While the 2015 Hyundai Sonata has lost some of the edginess that made the previous-generation a standout in the midsize class, the 2015 model shows that Hyundai wants to move up and provide a vehicle that is seemingly well-rounded. The 2015 Sonata should be able to do something that the last-generation model started, bringing more buyers into Hyundai showrooms. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Refreshments, and Lunch For This First Drive Event Year: 2015 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Engines: 2.4L DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder (SE, Sport, Limited) 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder (Sport 2.0T) 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder (Eco) Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic (2.4 and 2.0T) Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic (Eco) Horsepower @ RPM: 185 @ 6,000 (2.4) 245 @ 6,000 (2.0T) 177 @ 5,500 (Eco) Torque @ RPM: 178 @ 4,000 (2.4) 260 @ 1,350 – 4,000 (2.0T) 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500 (Eco) Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined 25/37/29 (SE 2.4) 24/35/28 (Sport and Limited 2.4) 23/32/26 (Sport 2.0T) 28/38/32 (Eco) Curb Weight: 3,252 – 3,466 lbs (Models equipped with the 2.4) 3,505 – 3,616 lbs (Sport 2.0T) 3,270 – 3,298 lbs (Eco) Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Pricing: SE: $21,960 - $23,160 Sport: $23,985 - $27,435 Eco: $24,085 - $28,185 Limited: $27,335 - $32,385 Sport 2.0T: $29,385 - $34,355 (Note: All prices include $810 destination charge.) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  9. FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Hyundai Motor America today reported its best February in company history, selling 53,009 units for the month, up one percent versus the same period last year. "The strong demand for the all-new Tucson continued through the month with sales up 90 percent over last February," said Derrick Hatami, vice president of national sales for Hyundai Motor America. "Our refreshed Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport models have begun hitting showrooms. Combined with the success of Tucson, we expect our CUV lineup to lead the charge as we close out the first quarter." Genesis sedan saw sales gains of 13 percent while Equus climbed 38 percent. Other standouts include Sonata with sales up 25 percent and Veloster up 35 percent. CARLINE FEB/2016 FEB/2015 CY/2016 CY/2015 ACCENT 4,897 4,867 9,947 9,305 SONATA 17,470 13,987 32,679 26,350 ELANTRA 11,973 15,708 21,858 27,948 SANTA FE 5,532 8,762 10,671 16,511 AZERA 438 757 847 1,341 TUCSON 7,336 3,869 12,554 6,905 VELOSTER 2,101 1,555 4,124 2,857 GENESIS 2,976 2,793 4,883 5,366 EQUUS 286 207 457 427 TOTAL 53,009 52,505 98,020 97,010
  10. Movie sequels can be a hit or miss affair. They can either be more memorable than the first movie (example: Empire Strikes Back) or leave a bad taste in your mouth (example: The Matrix Revolutions). This is true for vehicles as well; get it right and you’ll elevate yourself into a real player in the class. Get it wrong and you’re destined to become a nobody. So where does the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata fall? Well I spent a few days in the Sonata Sport 2.0T to find out. I think it is fair to say the new Sonata’s design has arrived with a bit of a thud. It isn’t to say the new Sonata isn’t a good looking sedan, but compared to the groundbreaking design of the previous-generation model, the new Sonata doesn’t have the same excitement. Such details as the coupe-like roofline and chrome trim running along the underside of windows are still there, but with a splash of boringness. The front and rear-ends feature a more upright design that makes it more Genesis-like. Sport models come with unique rear fascia treatment and quad exhaust tips to try and give it an aggressive look, something I think actually works. While the exterior is slightly disappointing, the interior is a massive step forward. Thanks to increase in the overall size of the Sonata, the interior has grown as well. This is noticeable when sitting in the back as there is more legroom then in the last-generation model. Headroom is still bit tight for taller passengers due to the sloping roofline. Other interior improvements include more soft-touch materials on the dashboard and a new centerstack design which makes it easier to find the HVAC and radio controls. On my Sport tester, it boasted a flat-bottom steering wheel and charcoal leather with burnt orange body-matching piping and thread. Seats provided good comfort and support. Now the Sport is available with either 2.4L four-cylinder or turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder. I had the latter engine which produced 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up to a six-speed automatic. As I wrote in my first-drive last year, the Sonata 2.0T feels a bit more punchy and has improved acceleration thanks to a smaller turbocharger. This very much holds true during my week long test as the turbo-four feels very lively. Stepping on the accelerator, it felt like I was unleashing a cannon as power came on instantaneously. NVH levels are kept down, making it more akin to a six-cylinder. The six-speed automatic delivers smooth and unobtrusive shifts. The EPA rates the 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T at 23 City/32 Highway/26 Combined. My week saw an average of 26.1 MPG. As for ride and drive, the Sonata Sport gets aggressively tuned dampers and springs, along with a new steering system to make it a bit more fun in the corners. But it doesn’t feel any more sporty than the standard Sonata. It might corner slightly better, but you really can’t tell if it does. Now on the positive, the Sport 2.0T provides a comfortable and smooth ride. But if this is a Sport model, there should be a noticeable difference. Steering also has the same problem as there isn’t a real difference between this system and the steering system found on the standard Sonata. Both systems feel slightly numb, but provide decent weight. I hate to say it but the Sonata Sport 2.0T is quite the disappointment. Hyundai dropped the ball on some key areas such as exterior design and making the Sport model feel sporty. In fact, Hyundai Motor America’s CEO Dave Zuchowski said the current Sonata doesn’t have the same impression as the last-generation one and they are planning to do a redesign in a year. But there has been some improvements that has improved it for the better such as the interior and changes to the turbo engine. However, those changes can’t save the Sonata Sport 2.0T from falling down. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2015 Make: Hyundai Model: Sonata Trim: Sport 2.0T Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 245 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,350 – 4,000 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/32/26 Curb Weight: 3,505 lbs Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama Base Price: $28,575 As Tested Price: $29,510 (Includes $810.00 Destination Charge) Options: Carpet Floor Mats - $125.00 View full article
  11. Hyundai seems to be going backwards with the current Sonata. Unlike the previous model which was stealing sales from competitors, the newest model doesn't have the same effect. The reason? Looks. “I told the story to our parent company (of driving the old Sonata) home, (and) people were rolling down their window at stop signs, following me, (asking), ‘What is that? Where can I get it?", said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America CEO to Wards Auto. “And I don’t get that” with the new one. “That was free advertising, right? People would seek us out because we look different. And we don’t get that now.” When the current Sonata was shown at the New York Auto Show, Zuchowski said that the Sonata didn't have to shout with impressive design as the company has felt firmly established itself as a midsize sedan that had become top-of-mind for buyers. However, they realized that the Sonata hasn't reached that point. “If we’re priced comparably, and we appear comparable, it’s always difficult to win that battle with those more well-established, well-entrenched (models),” said Zuchowski. Hyundai is planning to redesign the current Sonata during its mid-cycle refresh, which according to Wards is expected to be around 2017 or 2018. “It’s hard to get anything (done sooner) than midcycle with the tooling involved,” said Zuchowski, adding Hyundai knows “exactly what we want to do, and we’re busy working on it right now.” Source: Wards Auto View full article

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