By on July 1, 2014

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Yesterday, we gave a qualified thumbs-up to the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.4, noting that the powertrain didn’t really come up to snuff in what was otherwise a competent and well-equipped sedan.

Today we’re trying the other two motivational packages on offer, in lower-priced Sport and Eco trim.

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Be warned: not every Sonata Sport has the turbo engine. There’s a bodykit 2.4 Sport as well, but that doesn’t get you the two-liter turbo and it doesn’t get you the more expensive rack-mounted power steering system. The car I drove retails for a robust $29,325 and it is meant to be a competitor to the Accord and Camry V-6 entries as well as the bigger of the two Fusion Ecoboost engine options.

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I’m hoping you read yesterday’s Sonata review; if you haven’t, go catch up. Let’s discuss the differences between that car and this one. In the Turbo-only metallic orange, the Sport manages to claw back a little bit of the style that Hyundai let go with the 2015 redesign. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this Sport appearance package impressed me as a step forward over the base car. Inside, the luxurious ventilated seats are replaced by “Turbo” embossed leather seats, the steering wheel is the oh-so-cliche-now flat-bottomed unit, and the needles for the instruments rest at the six o’-clock position for additional sportiness. They dutifully flick through their entire range of motion when the Sonata powers up, which means that this vehicle shares at least two features — the steering wheel shape and the instrument panel behavior — with a Lotus Elise.

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And that’s where the Lotus comparison ends, because the sportiest Sonata isn’t much sportier than the regular one. The blown two-liter is torquey from 1350rpm according to the spec sheet (245hp/260 lb-ft) and it steams up the back-road hills with far more authority and less agitation than its normally-aspirated sibling, but there’s nothing particularly enthusiastic or visceral about it. Full disclosure: your humble author is the owner of a 2014 Accord V6. Fuller disclosure: and as a sporting proposition, the Accord V6 puts the Sonata 2.0T up on the pinball table and violates it while the Camry V6 and possibly even the Malibu Turbo cheer it on. There’s no comparison. It ain’t like Hyundai can’t do a strong six-cylinder, as we found out when we praised the Genesis Coupe a few years ago. They just won’t give it to you in the Sonata.

What the engine doesn’t do to torpedo its own desirability, the transmission will. While downshifts from the flimsy, wobbly paddles are sure and strong and don’t require placing the lever in Tiptronic mode in order to work, upshifts happen automatically a full 750rpm beneath the 7000rpm redline regardless of paddles or lever placement. That’s fine, I suppose, since the turbo’s long since out of breath at that point. This is the small-snail-itis that VW suffers as well. To misuse a phrase frequently heard on the internet, a compressor wheel small enough to give you the low-end torque you need is small enough to take away every bit of thrill the top end could have.

This would be a stellar engine in the Limited Ultimate; it’s strong at low revs and can’t be flustered by the demands of passing on back roads. It just doesn’t measure up to the six-banger competition, period, point blank.

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Bereft of the Limited Ultimate touches and the segment-unique equipment, the interior of the Sonata Sport is revealed as a fairly Camry LE-ish place to be. The smaller LCD display has the same sad proportions of the uConnect Chrysler gives you when they want to punish you for not buying the real one. The stereo, on the other hand, is fully the equal of what you get in the big-money Sonata. It might even be a little better, and I can’t offer any reason for that other than preproduction variance. It really drops that bass on the Elvis Crespo tunes, to the discomfort of my passengers.

The theme of grey cheer continues with the deletion of the electronic parking brake and the loss of the fabulous fake wood in favor of a textured-looking silver pattern that is disappointingly smooth to the touch. It must be said that the same NVH virtues that were noted in the Sonata Limited review apply here. This is a big, quiet, solid automobile that exudes build quality and will adjust to fit nearly any driver.

For about the same money, however, you can get a Camry V-6 with fabric seats. It’s anybody’s guess how good the 2015 Camry super-facelift will be, but the existing car is pretty good and from an enthusiast perspective it continues to have much to recommend it over the Sonata. Luckily, Hyundai loyalists have another very good option available.

The 1.6T Eco that we drove was a “pilot” vehicle and not representative of the eventual production and blah blah blah and hey it was actually better than the Sport in pretty much every way. The smaller engine is mated with an alert dual-clutch transmission that is perfectly at home on hills and in city driving. The net result is a sprightly, low-inertia feel that encourages spirited driving far more than the rev-averse two-liter turbo and torque-converter automatic possibly could.

The two-tone Eco interior has the Sport beat six ways to Sunday even if it isn’t quite up to Ultimate snuff. The large touchscreen returns — and trust me, you really want that — and the dual-trapezoid center stack is enlivened with Infiniti-style grey plastiwood. Hyundai doesn’t make a big deal of the Eco’s credentials visually, presumably because the new 2016 hybrid model that will replace the carryover old hybrid for 2015 is scheduled to receive a unique fascia and trim. But it’s handsome enough and somehow the new styling works best when it’s “Eco” instead of “Ultimate” or “Sport”.

Driving point-to-point in downtown Montgomery, the Eco was sluggish with its eponymous drive mode selected via the console button, but switching to “Sport” mode brought it alive. This is the fun member of the Sonata family. The engine wants to rev, even if it’s not terribly strong, and the Eco Sonata just feels lighter on its feet. (During Q&A, Hyundai indicated that weight savings for the Eco model would be minimal.)

The DCT offers PowerShift slurring rather than DSG brap-and-cut instant shifting, so we wouldn’t expect the Eco to shine on track. In the real world, however, it’s more direct and more involving than the six-speed automatic and it’s a difference you can feel in just a few hundred feet. This was the only one of the supplied cars we felt any temptation to “hoon”, even if we didn’t yield to that temptation.

The drive in the Eco came at just the right time during the press event. Finally, a Sonata that didn’t feel so grown-up, and all the better for it. With pricing that sneaks under the $24k mark to start, it might be the best consumer choice as well. Whatever you do, don’t pick the 2.4 or 2.0T versions of this car without at least trying the Eco. It’s our choice as best of breed in the Sonata family, and it’s a value proposition besides. While none of these Sonatas will blow your mind, they’ll all impress your reason, and hey — the Eco might even capture your heart.

(Disclaimer: Hyundai provided meals and lodging and offered travel assistance which we did not use.)

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81 Comments on “Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Sport and 1.6T Eco...”


  • avatar

    AWESOME CAR.

    While some may not like the lower seating position, I must say that it absolutely does wonders for tall drivers (like myself) – and offers me excellent hip and shoulder room. My head is closer to the ceiling in my 300SRT than the new Sonata – in both the front and the back. I’m amazed how much space the new Sonata has. It feels more/just as spacious as my friend’s Azera.

    The old Sonata, I couldn’t even get in and out of the back seat. The 2015 – I can easily get in and out.

    The 2.0T engine would be my choice if I ever had to buy a Sonata because it’s so powerful, it feels like a V6. Acceleration of the base engine is lacking, but when you live in my city and spend most of your time in Traffic or sub-50 mph highway zones, you get used to it.

    The only thing Hyundai is missing in this car is ALL WHEEL DRIVE.

    I never imagined myself saying this, but if I had to choose between a 2015 Chrysler 200 V6/AWD and the Sonata 2.0t with an ALL WHEEL DRIVE unit…I’d have to choose the Sonata as the 200 was too small for me to drive comfortably.

    All Wheel Drive is quickly going to become the next “must-have” feature in sub $35,000 cars. If Chrysler was smart, they’d be advertising it more virulently. If Hyundai was smart they’d have it ready in less than a year from now.

    Hyundai needs to DROP THE AZERA and focus on making the Sonata a better car – while simultaneously improving and lowering the entry price of the Genesis. Now that the Sonata is so damn good, there’s no reason to have the Azera on the American market.

    Take that car’s V6 and offer it with AWD in the Sonata for about $35,000 with Nav, safety tech and Moonroof.

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      The Sonata will continue to be the bread and butter sedan, as it should be. The Azera isn’t going away because the Grandeur (KDM) isn’t going away. It’s the “I’ve arrived” car in its home market. If the Azera had the same options as the Grandeur, it’d be a worthy Lexus ES competitor instead of the current Avalon/LaCrosse/Taurus competitor it is in the USA. I’ve been in a few fully optioned Grandeurs, as I live in Korea, and I’d buy one over a Leuxs ES as long as it was priced accordingly. The Genesis will continue to move upmarket to the point where it’s aligned with the 5-Series/CTS/Lexus GS.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > AWESOME CAR

      LOL, in what way?

      You yourself find a bunch of things missing…

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @BTR:

      I’m glad to hear you fit inside the 2015; that means I will, too. The back seat of the earlier model is a little tight.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      My dad is getting a fourth car next year. From what I’ve been reading about the Sonata, the interior room you mentioned, and the fact my dad really likes Hyundais (such as the Elantra GT and the Equus), a 2015 Sonata sounds great. He had a 1995 way back when, and it wasn’t bad.

      The fact it’s a sedan is a problem; sort of why the Passat TDI got wiped off the radar. I hope the Santa Fe Sport is as roomy and gets over 30 MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Hyundai is not going to drop the Azera.

      The Azera sells as well as the Sonata in Korea and the Azera offers the combination of a V6/FWD.

      The sloping roofline really hurts rear passenger room in the Azera (which is why Hyundai softened the roofline in the new Sonata) and Hyundai needs to add a base model for the Azera and the hybrid version.

      The 1.6T, surprisingly, seems to be getting the most positive reviews in the automotive press.

    • 0 avatar
      BigDuke6

      I’m trying to understand your insistence on AWD. The Sonata doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of vehicle one would take off road. If it’s weather conditions you’re concerned about, a set of dedicated snow tires on steel wheels is far more practical. But I think this has probably been pointed out to you MANY times before.

      • 0 avatar

        BigDuke6

        It’s not about “off-road”. It’s about more traction on snow and ice.

        The “Steering feel” of pretty much all new electric-steering front-wheel-drive cars is dead. As far as I’m concerned, if the steering is dead, I might as well have more traction and stability with an AWD unit. It means less shoveling and less of this:

        youtube

        /watch?v=Us0ezSDewEs

  • avatar

    Between the flat panel dashboard, “Turbo” embossed on the leather seats, and the orange paint, I kind of expected Hyundai to add a graphics package to complete the 80′s look trifecta. Something like “TURBO 2.0t” down low on the doors, in an impact font that starts in dark blue or black and then fades out to gray.

    Maybe I’m showing my age, poor taste, or seen too many Isuzus on Murilee Martin’s Junkyard Find, but I don’t think that would be a bad thing…

    • 0 avatar
      Zekele Ibo

      Absolutely. When I saw the “Turbo” scrawled on the seats like this was 1986, it reminded me that despite the progress made by the Korean manufacturers, they still haven’t quite worked out what good taste is. The overly-garish Optima has the same problem.

      Of course, if you’re in the market for a four-door mid-size sedan with a slushbox, you’ve already given up on life, so the poor taste probably doesn’t matter.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Dude, I would kill for an 80s TURBO stripe/decal package in 2014.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    So now they’ll give you full leather on the “Sport” trim (which replaces the SE trim)? That’s great, because I’ve never liked those cloth/leather or cloth/leatherette combos, which the Malibu LS/LT, 200S and Camry SE all have.

    Meanwhile, did you get any fuel-economy numbers on the Eco? I personally haven’t seen an *Eco* version of a car that was compelling enough to make me want to buy it on its own mertis, usually because the Eco trim is missing features I want (such as the Cruze Eco). But if it genuinely drives better than the other two powertrains and is available with navigation and dual-climate controls, I’d be very remiss if I didn’t take a look.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Interesting how the “small” Sonata engine with DCT and the “small” Accord engine with CVT are getting a disproportionate share of the raves for their respective model lineups. I never saw that one coming.

    Throw in some of Jack’s colourful pinball imagery and this would make a helluva good comparison review.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Meanwhile, Ford gets pummeled for its 1.6T/1.5T engines. Where did they go wrong?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        It may not be the engine’s fault. The Accord and Sonata are 200+ lbs. lighter than the Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        I have a 2014 1.5L Ecoboost Fusion right now as a rental car. It has acceptable if not fantastic power. It returned an indicated 37.1 MPG over a 240 mile highway trip, In several thousand miles, it has an overall indicated MPG of 27.3. I won’t be able to get an actual MPG as I didn’t fill it up myself to begin with.

        The thing I am most impressed about the 1.5L Ecoboost is that it hovers around 2000 RPM at highway speeds. I had a 1.8T Volkswagen Passat (the old version) that cruised at almost 3000 RPM at the same speed.

    • 0 avatar
      beanbear

      N.B.: I think the pinball quip is pretty much exactly the rape scene in “The Accused”. I generally enjoy TTAC’s writer-ly zing, but may I flag this as potentially in-bad-taste?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Car and Driver beat me to it with their “Camarolert” joke ad many years ago that promised to warn the driver of “trailer-park sluts” in the vicinity.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        It’s most certainly a reference to The Accused, and the taste issue is in the eye of the beholder, but this is par for Jack’s writing. If such cultural references trouble you, you had best skip Jack’s posts. This one is pretty mild on the Baruth-o-meter.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Similar results of enjoying the 1.6l over the others. Similar results again from the driving experience as bad as the previous platform.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “This would be a stellar engine in the Limited Ultimate; it’s strong at low revs and can’t be flustered by the demands of passing on back roads. It just doesn’t measure up to the six-banger competition, period, point blank.”

    I’ve mentioned before helping a friend buy a new car and after a very leisurely test drive I asked her – “Have you ever pushed the gas pedal all the way down?” To which she replied, “Certainly not.” In terms of mass market bread and better sedans, used like bread and butter sedan buyers use them – how does it stack up? Wouldn’t the Accord V-6 only come into its own at a RPM far higher than the typical sedan buyer is comfortable with?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I would postulate that the V6 Accord buyer is more likely to have more of an enthusiast bent than the typical V6 Camry buyer. But yes you make a valid point, Hyundai likely chose the small low down torque turbo because that fits more peoples driving styles.

      I’ve seen a ton of the previous generation Sonatas on the road and I’ve seen more hybrid models than I’ve seen turbos. I think the previous turbo was a tiny amount of overall production.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I’ve mentioned before helping a friend buy a new car and after a very leisurely test drive I asked her – “Have you ever pushed the gas pedal all the way down?” To which she replied, “Certainly not.”

      So, so true. Most car shoppers don’t even remotely push the pedal down, even ones insisting on the up motor. At most they will push the pedal down, get the transmission to downshift, hear the roar of the motor and exclaim “oh my, it has a lot of power!” as if the noise equals power, then continue puttering along on the test drive.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Do salespeople really like it when customers go flat out on a test drive?

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          Do we like the car abused on a test-drive? No, but it’s ok to test the acceleration out a bit. We take the same test drive day after day and it’s quite boring, so air the car out a bit, please.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          Why worry about what salespeople like? You’re the one spending your hard earned money. Do what needs to be done to satisfy yourself that you are indeed buying the right car for you.

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            It’s scary getting into a car with someone you just met, has never driven that car before and is not familiar with the route. More dangerous than you may think

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I think part of it is today’s cars just aren’t underpowered like cars used to be.

        I4 midsizes are putting out 180 horsepower, not 120 (per 1990 or so) … or 77 like my old w115 did, at the same weight as a Camcord.

        (That thing, I floored it from most lights, honestly, as the only way to get anywhere in a sensible amount of time and not aggravate following traffic.

        Which was kinda nice, being able to daily drive actually *using* most of the power of a vehicle…)

        Even economy cars go faster, faster than a non-enthusiast really *wants* to go most of the time.

        We live in a goddamn golden age.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        My understanding is that the manufacturers figured this out decades ago (at least that’s when dodge was finding out why people thought that Toyotas with less horsepower were “more powerful” than their cars: since they new most drivers would only put the pedal down at most 1/2 way, the Toyota was WOT at that point).

        I’d expect that’s how you tell a car is marketed to enthusiasts: does pushing the pedal past the 1/2 way point change anything?

  • avatar

    What’s the story on the Stephen Kingish looking first photograph? Incinerator?

  • avatar
    319583076

    I read a review of these models on another site yesterday that reached the same conclusion, i.e. – if you’re shopping Sonatas, the 1.6T with the DCT is the best car of the bunch.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I will have to rescind my prior prejudicial statements about the 1.6T/DCT. My thoughts were based upon the statements of others about the Fusion 1.6T and the Chrysler DCT, but of course Hyundai did both better.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    I think this is a nice car but actually all of them in this size and price range are very appealing. There’s not a lot of difference in any of their looks, styling or price. It will likely boil down to who offers the most aggressive rebates and advertising as to winning market share. The Accord and Camry still offer a V6 and that alone gives them an added edge.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      Roughly what percentage of CamCords are sold with the V6? I’m curious to see how well the big engines move in the marketplace.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Very few; I think it’s like 5-10%.

        This is why Hyundai dropped the V6 option from the Sonata for the 2011 model. Too much expense to design, build, qualify, and sell two totally different engines for few takers.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          20% of the 64,000 new Accords listed on cars.com with the powertrain specified have the V6. The V6 is in 10% of 29,000 Camrys, 8% of 48,000 Altimas, 52% of 13,500 2015 200s.

          A 10% take rate on 350,000 Optimas and Sonatas per year would be more cars than total sales of Azeras, Genesi, or Velosters.

          The issue isn’t expense. It’s CAFE compliance. Offer the good motor in a car that isn’t profit padded to $30,000 with eighteen way power cupholders and too many working slobs would buy them.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            I think the 200 has such a high fraction of V6s available because the 2.4 is too weak for it, and the Pentastar V6 is pretty sweet and affordably priced.

            If the CAFE argument you make is true, Chrysler may run into CAFE trouble with the 200. But maybe the 3.0 diesel RAM will help offset all those Hemis.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The high rate of V6s on the 2015 200s is because they’ve only been in regular production for less than 2 months and the first batch was almost exlusively V6 models. So that’s what you’re seeing on the lots right now. Now that 4 cylinder production has ramped up, look for the V6 equipped number to fall closer to the other offerings in that segment.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Everybody has a preference and to me, in this space, the Accord Sport (especially with the 6mt), would be my choice. The 2.4 is peppy, likes to be revved, and provides pretty good torque. It’s economical, both as a purchase and in operation, and will hold it’s value well.

  • avatar
    dwford

    The real question is is the DCT in the Sonata better than the terrible one in the Veloster?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Wow it actually looks half decent in this color, the other one you showed recently was absolutely boring and uninspired, this is livable. But it still can’t be a serious competitor until they give it a >3 liter V6, until then toyota and Honda will continue to kick its rear.

    1.6t, 2.0t, 2.4? All sound downright painful to have to live with.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Sorry not everything can be a 6.0 V8 and 4×4 or AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I suggested >3 liter V6, non-linear power delivery is painful to deal with unless you absolutely don’t care about the fun factor between A and B.

        It’s not like a 2 liter anything has enough power without the turbo on something more than a ton, I shouldn’t have to rely on the turbo for anything more than when I feel a need for power. Think diesel.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’m a little bit confused by something.

    Hyundai and Kia are closely joined at the hip, so why doesn’t Hyundai have the same 270 hp turbo 4 that Kia does? I would hope they’re not going to replace it with a less powerful engine, because who wants less power?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Hyundai *did* have a 270 horsepower turbo-four in the previous (YF) Sonata. But this the next generation, and they’ve detuned it by adding a smaller turbo. When the equivalent Optima debuts, it may also feature the detuned 2.0-liter turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Well that’s weak, especially since Kia seems to have a little more of a sporty image going on. I look at my neighbor’s turbo Optima and I think “well, it’s at least TRYING to be some kind of sport sedan”.

        • 0 avatar
          don1967

          You obviously never drove my father’s 1980 Cutlass, with the 110hp 3.8 and 3-speed automatic.

          Not only is 245hp not “weak”, it is pretty much the limit of what you can put to the ground in a FWD sedan without making an ass of yourself. It’s about time these silly family-sedan horsepower wars came to an end, jobless Grand Theft Auto enthusiasts be damned.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            It’s not that 245 horsepower is pathetic, of course.

            It’s that I don’t like when a car is revised and LOSES power.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        That would be a mistake for Kia.

        The Optima needs to differentiate itself from the Sonata with more power and sportier handling.

        The Sonata can go after the old Camry type buyer.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    The gulf between the content, value, and quality found in this Sonota versus the current Passat is stunning. $29,325 gets you an essentially loaded car with 245hp/260 lb-ft. For 30,895, the Passat SEL gets you a barren interior, a ridiculously outdated infotainment unit, and 170hp/184 lb-ft. Yikes.

    I’m sure the Passat handles and cruises somewhat better, but even the few midsize sedan customers that appreciate this fact will have a difficult time overlooking the gap in overall value.

    • 0 avatar
      Pastor Glenn

      I doubt the VW is a better drive, to be honest. I own a 2013 Sonata and my sister recently visited and rented a new VW Passat. I got to drive the VW for a few miles and I wasn’t in the least impressed. (This car had the five cylinder, I should add).

      Suffice to say that with the legendary POOR reliability of virtually all VW products, that word has gotten around about the new Passat and this explains VW’s relatively sudden and sharp drop-off in sales of these cars.

      Volkswagen Group may be 3rd in auto sales worldwide (am I right? After Toyota and GM?) but they’d best watch their backs since Hyundai-Kia is #5 and aiming to put footprints on VW Group’s shirt as they trample them into the earth.

      It may take 10 more years but I can see it happening eventually.

      Put another way, in 1967 VW was “on top of the world” and selling every air cooled VW they could built. Hyundai was assembling West German CKD kit Ford Taunuses (their first year to assemble cars).

      I should also add that one of my congregants, who’d been a VW afficianado for years, recently appeared at church driving a brand new Nissan Altima.

      Another congregant regaled me with a story of driving in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in near new VW Beetle and having it break down in the middle of nowhwere, which stranded her for 5 days while waiting for parts.

      I’ll stick with Hyundai.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “…driving in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in near new VW Beetle and having it break down in the middle of nowhwere, which stranded her for 5 days while waiting for parts.”

        Couple of things to respond to: first, I’ve never understood how the U.S. market has been the top profit maker for the European marques for years yet we have to wait for parts from across the pond. Why isn’t there a large parts warehouse on each coast or a centrally located one say somewhere in Texas?

        VW’s reliability isn’t what’s stunting their sales growth. It’s their product mix and lack of competitiveness when compared to similar trims of competing manufacturers. And if you don’t plan to keep the car more than say six years/100,000 miles all should be fine. As an aside I recently test drove a GTI five door. The usual suspects don’t have anything as engaging as that car (except Ford).

        In my own humble opinion the Accord Sport is the joker in this deck.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      EXACTLY! I really wanted a Passat, but the appeal just wasn’t there for the price, and the interfaces are indeed horrid. I’d feel like a chump having paid the same money for a Passat SEL as just about any other loaded mid-sized sedan…including the Malibu. The one thing the Passat has going for it is the diesel, but it doesn’t help that the TDI cars have a cult following and tend to retail for at least $5K-6K more than their gasoline-fueled counterparts, with little negotiating room.

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      The Passat is hardly the class benchmark for content, value, and quality. To me, that would be the Accord, and I do not see any compelling reasons (in reviews to date) to choose the Sonata over the Accord. Also, this test car does not appear anywhere near loaded.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The Accord comes standard with a whole list of features that some manufacturers only offer for expensive trims, like dual-zone climate control, actual alloy wheels, a large, color infotainment display and a reverse camera, so I think it’s especially good value at the low end, or at least up to the Sport trim. The outgoing (YF) Sonata GLS did get alloy wheels as standard for 2013, and the base model for the new one—which is now the SE—seems to have carried that feature forward, but a base Accord is going to be better-equipped than a base Sonata.

        As far as your second statement goes, I like the Accord and the Sonata for different reasons. The Sonata hits a little closer to where I’d want to be in terms of features and packaging.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      At this point I don’t understand why anyone buys a VW, honestly.

      (Except looks. They’re handsome cars, and I wish they were, well, worth considering.)

      But the value proposition isn’t there even if we pretend there aren’t any worries about VW quality anymore; not at those prices for those features.

      With the quality, er, “concerns”, I’m baffled by anyone ever buying a new VW.

      Which is a shame, because if you could trust one to not fall apart, the New New Beetle might be a hell of a car, especially a little cheaper or a little better featured…

      And I don’t even LIKE coupes!

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Good looking, if a bit conservative from the front. Reminds me of the ’15 WRX that many inexplicably describe as ugly.

    I’m not a fan of the Sonata’s rear though. Especially the tail lights; I can’t stand it when they aren’t flush with the body. I’m also rarely disappointed by quad exhaust tips, but the Sonata Sport manages it.

    It seems all the engines are in the wrong trim levels too. As Jack says, the 2.0T sounds like a much better match for the Limited. The 1.6T should apparently be in the Sport, and the 2.4L NA engine should be in some kind of poverty spec loss leader. It seems so obvious from Jack’s reviews that it makes you wonder if an error on the BOM somehow made it into production.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Is there an ergonomic reason for a flat-bottom steering wheel, or is it just show? It was amusing on higher performance cars, and tolerable in a GTI and WRX. However, I think Hyundai just ruined them for everyone by putting one in a giant family sedan.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Two very good reviews on the new Sonatas in as many days. Thanks, Jack.

    No need for me to bother visiting the dealer at all, which is a big relief. Last time I went, they had no Genesis Coupes and were sure I needed a Veloster turbo. I can just imagine the verbiage they’d give me on this giant sloth.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I just can’t get inspired by any of these powertrains. The 2.0T seems like a worse version of the previous VW 2.0T. The 1.6T has a slow-shifting DCT, which I’ve always found to be the worst possible combination of roughness and lethargy. And the 2.4 just seems uninspired compared to a number of competing engines.

    As far as I’m concerned, Honda’s got all three of the most interesting powertrains in the midsize sedan business right now: the smooth and sneaky-peaky J35, the flexible DI K24 with the best FWD manual in existence, and the most interesting and smoothest hybrid setup going. Mazda’s SkyActiv 2.5 is in second place. Everyone else is far behind at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      And for the high-volume powertrains, Honda might also have the best CVT.

      I’m not a fan of the new Accord’s interior design, but that is about the only negative thing I can say about it.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        C&D found the new Sonata to have substantially improved handling – as good as a Fusion – but not so good as a Mazda6 or Accord.

        http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-hyundai-sonata-sport-20t-test-review

        C&D got 23 mpg for the Sonata Sport 2.0 Turbo, which did 0-60 in 8.0 seconds. They got close to 30 mpg in the Accord Sport, 0-60 in 6.6 sec and 22 mpg in the Fusion 1.6 Turbo, 0-60 in 8.2 sec.


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