2015 Hyundai Sonata

When you rocket to stardom, sometimes the success can go to your head and complacency can set in. Not with the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. The previous generation was a huge success, but the 2015 Sonata still finds ways to improve. If you’re shopping for a new mid-size sedan and you don’t test drive the Sonata, you’ll be making a big mistake.

For 2015, the new Sonata is larger, more refined and has a better ride quality than the outgoing model. The Sonata is 1.3 inches longer and 1.2 inches wider than the 2014 model, giving it the most interior volume in the mid-size sedan segment. In fact, the EPA categorizes the Sonata as a large car rather than a mid-size.

“The mid-size segment is very important to us,” said Brandon Ramirez, senior group manager for product planning at Hyundai. Speaking to auto journalists gathered for a regional launch of the Sonata, Ramirez said the company since 1998 has “put all of our emphasis on quality.” It’s beginning to pay off: Hyundai is the highest-ranked non-premium brand in the J.D. Power 2014 Initial Quality Study.

The Sonata got great reviews for its styling when it was first introduced back in 2009. Now, Hyundai has launched its Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design with a larger grille, LED daytime running lights, dual exhaust tips and a coupe-like roof-line. The new Sonata has a bit more of a conservative style, pushing closer to its upscale sibling, the Genesis.

Design engineers paid particular attention to the vehicle’s crisp, taut lines. The Sonata has a miniscule drag coefficient of 0.27, which helps get the SE model up to 37 highway miles per gallon of gas. With its 18.5-gallon fuel tank, the Sonata has a potential range of up to 684 highway miles.

The Sonata comes in six trims: Se, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T, Sport 2.0T Ultimate and Eco. The 2015 Sonata SE, Sport and Limited models are powered by a 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque. A revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI engine powers Sport 2.0T models, developing 245 horses and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.

Hyundai continues to incorporate new features in the Sonata that used to be reserved for luxury models. Available features include smart cruise control with stop/start capability, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel. Hyundai also introduces a smart trunk that will open automatically when you stand near the sensor. You don’t have to wave your foot under the bumper, just stand there for three seconds with the key fob in your possession and the trunk pops open.

New safety technologies including forward collision warning, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning are also now available in the Sonata.

The base Sonata SE starts at $21,150, the Sport starts at $23,175 and the Limited starts at $26,525. The Sport 2.0T starts at $28,575.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently completed crash testing of the 2015 Sonata and named it a Top Safety Pick +, which is given only to vehicles that earn top ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test, and a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

The Sonata, made at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala., production plant, also comes with a 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Engine:

2.4-liter Four-cylinder (or)

2.0-liter turbo

Horsepower/Torque:

185/178 lb.-ft. (or) 245/260 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

6-speed automatic

Base price range:

$21,150 (SE) $28,575 (Sport 2.0T)

Mileage:

25 mpg city /

37 mpg highway (SE model)