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2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Windy City Review By Larry Nutson


2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T  (select to view enlarged photo)

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T


By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Sonata is a big player in Hyundai’s portfolio. Already nearly 33,000 have been sold in 2016 and sales in February were up 25% over last year. In this SUV-centric auto world the Sonata sedan alone outsells the total of Hyundai’s SUVs, the Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport and Tucson.

In the very crowded midsize sedan segment with many very good offerings to suit any car buyer’s wishes and needs, the Sonata holds its own as an attractive, roomy and nicely performing choice.

To wit, the Sonata was named “Best Midsize Car for the Money” by U.S. News & World Report and “Most Affordable Midsize Sedan” by Cars.com.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T  (select to view enlarged photo)

Sonata is now in its second year of the current design. It’s offered in SE, Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trim levels. Prices state at $21,750 and run up to $34,075.

I reported on the Sonata at the Montgomery, Alabama launch of the all-new 2015 model in July of 2014 and a bit over a year ago I drove a 2015 Limited model around my Chicago environs. This time I’m driving the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T with an MSRP of $28,925.

The Sport 2.0T is powered by a 245 HP turbo 4-cylinder mated to a 6-speed automatic. The standard Sonata powerplant is a 185 HP 2.4-L engine. As you would expect, the Sport has lots of sport features such as sport tuning to the suspension and steering, larger front brakes, 18-inch wheels mounted with 235/45 tires, paddle shifters and sport seats, steering wheel, instruments and gear shift knob. It has lots of comfort and convenience features too, equipped similarly to the Limited model.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T  (select to view enlarged photo)

For 2016 Hyundai made a few tweaks to the overall Sonata program. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is added on models previously equipped with Forward Collision Warning. A 7-inch color touchscreen Display Audio with Android Auto now comes on SE, Sport, Limited, Eco and Sport 2.0T. There are aluminum suspension components that reduce unsprung mass for improved handling. A conventional sunroof is available optionally on Sport and standard on Limited. New 17-inch wheel design and the Sport model front fascia is on Limited trim. And, Limited 2.0T add heated function for D-cut, sport steering wheel.

I mentioned previously my earlier reviews of the Sonata. The convenience of The Auto Channel lets you easily review these write-ups to get a bigger picture on the Sonata. The first, my 2015 Hyundai Sonata Launch Review And my Hyundai Sonata Chicago-drive Story

Along with the conversations about driverless cars, very recently there has been much talk in the media about driver-assistance features that are available on cars today that offer significant increases in safety. The 2016 Hyundai Sonata earned the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s highest accolade for safety, receiving a 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award.

The requirements for TOP SAFETY PICK+ were tightened for 2016. To qualify, winners must earn good ratings in each of the Institute’s five crashworthiness tests – small overlap crash test, moderate overlap crash test, side and roof strength, and head restraint tests – and have an available front crash prevention system earning an advanced or superior rating.


2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T  (select to view enlarged photo)

For 2016, the Sonata added Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) functionality available to models previously equipped with Forward Collision Warning (FCW).

The AEB system will automatically bring the Sonata to a stop when it detects an impending collision with a vehicle in front and the driver does not react to apply brakes. It has just been announced that nearly every automaker will make AEB standard on all vehicles by 2022.

Other driver-assistance features available on the 2016 Sonata lineup include Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Smart Cruise Control with spot/start capability, rear parking sensors, rear view camera, Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist.

All of these features are very much worth considering on your next new vehicle purchase, no matter what brand or model, since they have the potential to save lives, save people from injury, reduce vehicle damage and save on insurance costs and repair inconvenience.

I found the 5-passenger front-wheel drive Sonata Sport 2.0T to be a good all around decent performer. It’s not a rocket, but around town acceleration, highway merging and passing is fairly good. Zero to 60 mph is covered in around 8 seconds flat, with lower fuel consumption being the trade off for push-you-back-in-the-seat acceleration. EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 23 city mpg and 32 highway mpg.


2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T  (select to view enlarged photo)

Handling and ride comfort were quite nice with no objectionable behavior and the 45-series tires worked fine on some of the rougher city streets. I wouldn’t be too concerned that the Sonata isn’t offered with an all-wheel-drive option. A good set of winter tires is probably the lower cost solution for occasional snows, plus they provide better handling and stopping in really cold temps. If you experience a winter where it snows big and often, then I think a crossover SUV with AWD is the better way to go.


2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T  (select to view enlarged photo)

Ingress and egress is quite easy. I do prefer sliding down into the driver’s seat vs. climbing up in an SUV. Overall instrument and control layout is well done with no glaring ergonomic flaws. Rear seat space is nice for adults or young ones and the trunk is roomy enough to carry a good load on a weekend family road trip. Sonata has a hands-free smart trunk “opener” that helps a bunch when your hands are full.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

More info and tech specs on the entire 2016 Hyundai Sonata line-up can be found at www.hyundai.com. You can compare the Sonata to other midsize cars right here on The Auto Channel.

Hyundai: sounds like Sunday.

2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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