2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T : Review
The Hyundai Sonata is all-new for 2015 with its seventh generation. Following the success of the outgoing model, the new Sonata 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.
Recently we were invited to Montgomery, Alabama to see where the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is being built, at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. At the end of our plant tour we drove a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T right off the production line and into the Alabama countryside for about a 200 mile test drive. It was a scene amazingly similar to a newly released video series from Hyundai. That doesn’t seem like a coincidence.
For the first time since we’ve been reviewing vehicles, we got to drive one offered in our favorite color when we got behind the wheel of the Sonata Sport Turbo. That gorgeous color in the photo above is called Urban Sunset, and to emphasize that fact, we only have photos of that vehicle in a rural setting.
The outgoing Sonata was a strong seller and far from bad-looking, but we’re partial to the evolution realized in Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, and are glad that Hyundai made the change.
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.
While all trims include the rear spoiler, Sonata Sport features a more aggressive front grille and bumper, side rocker extensions and side chrome molding. The Sport 2.0T trim features a unique rear bumper fascia, quad exhaust tips, LED tail lights, HID Xenon headlamps, and 18-inch alloy wheels. And yes, Urban Sunset is a color exclusive to the 2.0T.
If orange on the outside of a car is enough to make us happy, you’re really going to delight if you add some to the interior. The model we drove had orange piping and stitching accents throughout the cabin that really accentuated the premium interior.
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.
The center stack was redesigned to be intuitive and ergonomic, but honestly we found some of the controls required us to reach a bit further to our right than we desired. We found the cabin spacious, quiet, and comfortable. Overall the interior felt like a significant improvement over the outgoing model.
Our favorite interior feature is one that is not yet available, but we were able to test it first hand. The Technology Package includes an 8-inch navigation system, 400-watt Infinity premium audio system and… Apple’s CarPlay! The 2015 Hyundai Sonata will be one of the first volume vehicles to include Apple’s new integration, which we think will help to make it a strong seller. CarPlay functionality should be available by the end of the year via download or as a free update at the dealership.
The Sonata Sport 2.0T features a 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI with Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT) and is optimized for lower-RPM drivability while producing 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. We drove a pre-production model, so it’s probably not fair to comment too specifically on the performance, especially since we’re not experts on the matter. We will note however what Car and Driver had to say :
The engineers have gone light on power at the top of the line, equipping the top-spec 2.0-liter engine with a smaller turbocharger. As a result, horsepower drops to 245 from 274, and the new Sonata gives up a significant 1.9 seconds to our 2011 long-term 2.0T in the 0-to-60-mph sprint.
We thought we’d have The Dude tell you about some of the other new features :
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T is comfortable, fun to drive, and offered in a color that will get you noticed. It features great technology, and just enough styling and premium finishes to impress on a budget. With all the bells and whistles, it’ll set you back $33,525, but for that price you get a ton of content. Of course it also includes the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.
Overall we found it a substantial upgrade over the outgoing model, and believe it continues the Hyundai quality story that has been told by their recent vehicle offerings. We enjoyed our visit to the plant, and saw firsthand the pride that employees take in building cars. We’ll leave you with the next segment in the 3,000-Mile Test Drive, where you’ll meet one of those HMMA employees :