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2015 Car Review | Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T By John Heilig

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2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0t

By John Heilig
East Coast Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEW: 2015 Hyundai Sonata
Model: Sport 2.0T
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
Horsepower/Torque: 245 hp @ 6,000 rpm/260 lb.-ft. @ 1,360-4,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 110.4 in.
Length x Width x Height: 191.1 x 73.4 x 58.1 in.
Tires: P235/45R18
Cargo: 16.3 cu. ft.
Economy: 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway/19.6 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Curb Weight: 3,329 lbs.
Sticker: $34,460 (includes $810 delivery, $4,685 options)

The Bottom Line: The Hyundai Sonata in its new exterior styling remains a very nice mid-size car, even if it does squeak into the large car classification. The turbocharged inline four is smooth and quiet, while the overall ride is comfortable.

I have liked the Hyundai Sonata almost from the start, but especially when Hyundai introduced its more sculpted styling that made the Sonata even more desirable. For 2015, Hyundai has returned to more conservative styling, but the Sonata is still a nice looking vehicle.

Because of its overall interior volume plus a respectable trunk, the Sonata is classified as a large car (Sonata 122.4 cu. ft. total volume; large car over 120 cu. ft.), but in reality it is really a mid—size. That isn’t a detriment. Even mid-sizers can get the job done.

For example, the front seats are comfortable with some side support. They’re also heated and ventilated, which doesn’t hurt. The heated rear seats also offer some side support along with very good leg and knee room. There’s a small rear center hump, so a middle passenger back there won’t be too uncomfortable.

We drove the Sport with the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four that develops a healthy 245 horsepower. Power is transmitted to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters behind the wheel if you feel sporty. Combined with good handling (this IS a sedan, after all) you almost feel as if you’re driving a sports car. We took the Sonata on our tight hillclimb course and used the paddle shifters all the way up. There’s good torque in the engine (260 lb.-ft.), so we could pretend we were in something much sportier.

To complement the sportiness, there are good brakes. I felt they were tacky at times, but I’m certain that more experience behind the wheel would smooth out the tackiness.

There are “sport,” “Eco” and normal settings to the transmission, which modify the shift points. We noticed little difference in the drive characteristics, although a more extended test might have shown these.

The Sonata has all the high tech safety goodies, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and rear parking assist with cross traffic alert. For luxury there is a panoramic sun roof that extends to the rear seats and rear side window shades. The lane departure warning consists of an alarm – no subtlety.

A feature we discovered on larger Hyundai sedans and is included in the Sonata is a hands-free trunk opener. Stand next to the trunk with the key fob in your pocket and the trunk unlocks and opens. There’s no need to put down your packages on ground that may be wet or muddy.

Facing the driver is a clear instrument panel with the customary large tachometer and speedometer separated by an information panel. This panel can be configured through a variety of screens – fuel range, economy, compass, audio selections, and tire pressure.

Besides the normal complement of a pair of cupholders, there is room in the doors for a water bottle. There’s also a large covered cubby at the base of the center stack with two 12-volt outlets, and the USB and AUX connectors. There’s also a smaller cubby ahead of the shifter that’s ideal for keys. The center console/arm rest is larger. Four assist handles aid in entry and egress.

Audio choices include AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM/Pandora/SoundHound and apps. There are simple nobs for volume and tone (YEA!!!!).

I liked the navigation system and found it easy to program.

The trunk is a respectable 16.3 cubic feet. If you need more carrying capacity, the rear seat back releases are in the trunk.

Overall, the Hyundai Sonata Sport is a tad less luxurious than the much much much more expensive Equus and much much more expensive 2015 Genesis, but with its sticker that is tons of thousands of dollars less, it is a bargain.