There are numerous shoppers seeking a midsize sedan. Why? Because this car works on many levels, fitting the needs of a small family, a single person who logs plenty of miles, and seniors who can't commit to anything smaller than a midsize vehicle.
Easing its way into the conversation these days is the attractive Hyundai Sonata. While previously it couldn't hang with the class leaders, it was still a smart choice for folks who wanted to save money and loved the Hyundai drivetrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles.
These days the 2015 Hyundai Sonata might not be on top, but it's not far from it. And that's saying a lot considering its prime rivals are the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Mazda 6, Chevrolet Malibu, Volkswagen Passat, and the Kia Optima, a cousin of the Sonata (Hyundai and Kia production is closely related).
* Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 245 horsepower; 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, 177 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 25-37 mpg; 23-32 mpg; 28-38 mpg
* Estimated price: $21,150 to $33,525
* Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited; corrosion: 7 years/unlimited
The Sonata remains at an affordable price and still can be characterized as delivering a lot of bang for the buck. It's a sedan that provides strong performance with a choice of three engines, delivers solid gas mileage (ranging from 25-38 mpg), offers top-notch safety, rides with comfort, and features a sizable list of standard features.
Looking for improvements, Hyundai redesigned the popular Sonata for 2015. The focus was not on altering the design (new taillights is the only major change), but more on interior refinements and adding a new 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers good gas mileage (28-38 mpg) and surprisingly good performance.
There are two other engine choices for the Sonata. The standard model that powers the SE, Sport and Limited is a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque.
The Sport 2.0T is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Even though it sounds impressive, some drivers might not like that the 2.0T only goes 0-60 mph in 8.3 seconds.
A definite plus for the new Sonata is its quiet ride. Several auto reviewers have written that the Sonata cruises along in "utter silence." The Sonata also has other fine qualities like good braking, confident handling, and smooth ride.
The Sonata interior also receives high marks. The 2015 model offers more interior room and can easily accommodate four adults. Additional leg room is now available in the back seat, but head room can still be confining for taller individuals due to the sweeping roof line. The trunk space is 16.3 cubic feet, which is a little more space than the average midsize sedan.
There's nothing complicated with the Sonata control layout. It's straightforward, a good thing for people who find it annoying when an intuitive design is not part of the plan. Climate controls are clear-cut and so is the touchscreen interface.
Perhaps we've saved the best news for last: cost. The Sonata has five trim models (SE, Sport, Eco, Limited and Sport 2.0T) with a starting price of $21,150, which is around $800 to $1,275 less than a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Note that the Sonata price can climb rapidly to a peak of approximately $33,525. Whatever the model choice, Sonata offers lots of value for the price.