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2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Review

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


REVIEWED MODEL: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T
ENGINE: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 245 hp @ 6,000 rpm/260 lb.-ft. @ 1,350-4,000 rpm
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/22.1 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,311 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu
STICKER: $29,885 (includes $835 delivery, $125 floor mats)

BOTTOM LINE: The Hyundai Sonata is easy to get lost in the crowd without its former dramatic Fluid Sculpture sides sides. Unfortunately, there is very little about it to stand out.

It’s tough to stand out in a segment like mid-size cars that is so crowded. All the cars are designed tom appeal to all potential customers in the market. When the Hyundai Sonata first came out with its Fluidic Sculpture design where the side styling was so dramatic, the car established itself as offering something different.

Now, however, the side sculpting is more muted (read “normal”) and the Sonata has lost some of its uniqueness. Add to that the multiplicity of versions of the Sonata (standard, Sport, Turbo Sport, Hybrid, plus a couple more I can’t remember) and any Sonata can find it difficult to make a mark.

Our tester is the Sport 2.0T with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine developing 245 horsepower, the most of any of the Sonata models. The engine is quiet under most normal applications. And it has power. Hit the accelerator and the full 245 hp kicks in for very good acceleration.

Handling is also good. I’d call it mid-size normal. While I wouldn’t take the Sonata on a race track, it can still hold its own under most normal – and some extra-normal – circumstances.

Ride quality is also good. Sonata has an average wheelbase and weight for a mid-size, yet ride quality is still comfortable. Again, this is one of the rules for entry into the segment, good ride quality.

Front seats offer good side support, so you’re not sliding around all the time. They are heated as well, which made driving in the winter enjoyable. There is a deep arm rest/center console between the seats.

Rear seats offer very good leg and knee room. If there is a need for a third adult in the back, there is a fairly low center hump. The rear seat area also has individual heating controls for additional comfort.

Four assist handles aid in entry and egress.

The driver sits behind a fat, flat-bottomed wheel. I have seen several non-sports cars with flat-bottom wheels that add some leg comfort for the driver.

The instrument panel is clear, with larger white-on-black dials and red pointers. There is a multi-function information panel between the speedometer and tachometer.

Interior storage includes a large cubby at the base of the center stack that has a pair of 12-volt outlets and USB and AUX connections. There’s a smaller cubby next to the shifter that I found ideal for holding keys. Additionally, the door pulls have bottoms, which also makes them useful as key holders. That’s the only problem with pushbutton ignitions; you now have a key fob to attend to. Deep pockets in all four doors have room for water bottles. The glove box may have room for a pair of gloves, since it’s overcrowded with manuals.

The trunk is a good size. As with the competition, the rear seats fold flat to increase cargo capacity. Seat back releases are located in the trunk.

Overall, the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T is a nice package among a large variety of Sonata varieties. With all these versions, there’s bound to be one to suit most buyers. However, with the more muted side styling that makes the Sonata more “normal,” it loses its signature ability to distinguish itself. Of course, that also makes it “invisible” to highway radar.


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