Overview: Hyundai’s mid-size sedan wears stylishly conservative duds and resembles its larger, pricier Genesis relation. A new Sonata Hybrid was a mid-2015 addition.
Drivetrain: A trio of four-cylinder engines is geared for fuel economy; six-speed automatic transmission and an automated manual for the turbocharged “Eco” model.
With each new Sonata, Hyundai seemingly recreates the sheetmetal from scratch, rather than evolving its design. For the current iteration that arrived for 2015, the Sonata now appears similar to the bigger Genesis sedan. Inside there’s a new dashboard and control panel, including an integrated display screen and numerous, but logically positioned, pushbuttons with fewer twisty knobs. The Sonata’s base 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 185 horsepower, down from the previous version’s 200 horsepower. Similarly, the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is rated at 245 horsepower (previously 274 horses). In each case, a six-speed automatic transmission directs power to the front wheels. Slotted between the two, and exclusive to the new Sonata Eco model, is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder worth 178 horsepower. That engine connects to a seven-speed paddle-shifted manual transmission that delivers rapid-fire electronically activated shifts. Mid-way into the 2015 model year, Hyundai introduced the 2016 Sonata Hybrid that has a 154-horsepower 2.0-liter gas engine combined with a 51-horsepower electric motor to deliver a combined 193 horsepower. Unlike most conventional hybrids, the Sonata uses a six-speed automatic transmission instead of a continuously variable unit. Fuel economy is rated at 40 mpg in the city and 44 on the highway, compared to 35/40 for the previous Hybrid. The gas-engine Sonata lineup consists of base SE, Eco, Sport and Limited, with the Sport receiving its own unique grille, front bumper and added rocker panel and chrome side moldings. A panorama sunroof is optional, as are a number of popular electronic safety intervention aids that can help keep passengers safe and the Sonata from receiving unwanted body blows.