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2015 Hyundai Sonata Overview
Hyundai raised the midsize bar when it debuted the 2011 Sonata. Now just 4 years later, the sedan that made history by turning so many heads is redesigned with upscale cues and a roomier, more refined interior to match. Those upscale cues go much deeper than its new skin, including chassis refinements, more technology and the deletion of its former base GLS trim with the addition of Sport variants. It's a package that threatens to revolutionize buyers' expectations all over again.
Aiming for more steering feedback, greater stability and less road intrusion, every bit of the suspension and drivetrain is revised for 2015. The base engine carries over but sees a few tweaks to improve engine responsiveness at lower rotations, but that means the default 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is now good for 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, down 4 ponies and just 1 pound of twist for what is expected to be a noticeable economy improvement.
Upgrading to the Limited still nets the turbocharged 2-liter version, which is also tweaked downward this year for better low-end power—this time 30 horses and 9 pounds less for final figures around 245 hp and 260 lb-ft/torque. The outgoing models achieved 24 mpg city/35 highway in EPA tests, but these changes should enable both engines to more closely match their new estimates in the real world, even with the very same 6-speed automatic coordinating the same front-wheel drive.
But fuel economy should improve especially and at least because of the new skin's sleeker wind profile; its slip ratio improved by one-tenth of a point this year. That's a tremendous difference in a metric that usually doesn't vary much between midsize sedans, putting it on par with the likes of Porsche.
So if performance is more your pace, the new Sport and Sport 2.0T editions are poised to do more than keep up. Although the midlevel Sport isn't expected to have any mechanical differences from the base SE, the top-shelf Sport 2.0T offers a sport-tuned suspension, revised steering, 2 dual exhaust pipes and 12.6-inch front brakes in addition to the 2-liter turbo engine.
The entire feature list isn't nailed down yet, but it's very safe to expect Hyundai's usual "even the kitchen sink" complement. Expected additions to the standard list include a hands-free trunk release, automatic high beams and even advanced cruise control that does the stop-and-go for you in gridlocked traffic—a feature that only recently made it to entry-level traditional luxury makes. Features like blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and rear cross-traffic alerts are newly available this year, too.
All that said, the real star right now is an apparent 2 to 3 cubic foot increase in passenger room, bringing the Sonata up to lead its class in interior volume even as an all-new Toyota Camry, Chrysler 200 and Subaru Legacy debut this year, too. Whether that translates into something that also feels spacious is yet to be seen, but there's much anticipation.
Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.