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Refined but not Revolutionary
by Sami Haj-Assaad

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has big shoes to fill as the last generation model practically revolutionized the mid-sized sedan segment. With eye-catching styling, Hyundai proved that mainstream cars can be attractive.

Fast-forward to today and it's clear that Hyundai's impact is felt throughout the industry. Almost every manufacturer enhanced its mid-sized sedan styling. While competitors were focused on styling, Hyundai set out to refine the Sonata by blending premium appeal with mid-size sedan practicality.

With a look that follows in the footsteps of the new (and well received) Genesis Sedan, the Sonata adds some key exterior highlights. A trunk-lid spoiler and LED daytime running lights are now standard while trim level are more separated and better defined. Limited models feature liberally applied chrome accents, while Sport models have a blacked-out portion on the front bumper, under the grille. Both outfits suit the Sonata though it’s clear the company isn’t looking to stun the world with exterior design.
Emphasis on a Premium Interior

It looks like Hyundai benchmarked the Sonata against premium brands rather than direct competitors like the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. It seems like Hyundai applied some of the same design in this car that it used for the second-generation Genesis luxury sedan. Mind you the premium materials are used more sparingly here than there. Soft touch fabrics are only found in key locations like the door handles and controls. Eye-catching trim pieces are throughout the trim range: Limited models can be equipped with wood accents that look posh, if a little Buick-esque while Sport models feature faux carbon fiber inserts.

Hyundai tweaked the interior design to achieve improved ergonomics. The result is a horizontal HVAC and multimedia stack angled toward the driver with a more upscale look than the previous vertical setup. Even the steering wheel was revised for better ergonomics. It works, as the car feels a bit more engaging, just by having a thicker wheel.

FAST FACTS
Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 185 horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine make 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque, while Eco models use a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine makes 177 horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque.

Transmission: six-speed automatic, seven-speed dual clutch transmission for Eco Models.

Fuel economy: 2.4L: 25/37/29 (city/highway/combined). 2.0T: 23/32/26 (city/highway/combined). 1.6T: 28/38/32 (city/highway/combined).

Price: Hyundai Sonata SE model for just under $21,960, while a fully loaded Sonata Sport 2.0T with the Ultimate package costs under $34,335
Read the complete 2015 Hyundai Sonata Review at AutoGuide.com
 
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