The Truth About Cars » hyundai sonata The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » hyundai sonata Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Sport and 1.6T Eco Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:30:42 +0000 IMG_6725

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.


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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.

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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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Hyundai Introducing Sonata Eco With Dual Clutch, Turbo Engine Fri, 20 Jun 2014 04:01:13 +0000 sonataeco

Hyundai will add a Sonata Eco model, featuring a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a dual clutch transmission, when the new generation sedan debuts for the 2015 model year.

Automotive News reports that the 1.6L mill will put down 177 horsepower and 195 lb-ft, through a 7-speed DCT. Fuel economy will rise to 28/38/32 mpg, versus 29 mpg combined for the Sonata with the standard 2.4L engine.

The Eco will start at $24,085, $2,215 more than a 2.4L Sonata SE but adds a back-up camera, a five-inch touchscreen, Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system and slightly different interior trim.

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2015 Hyundai Sonata Revealed Mon, 24 Mar 2014 03:05:29 +0000 2015-hyundai-sonata4


Hyundai unveiled the Korean market Sonata in Seoul, while the North American spec version gets its debut in New York next month.

The 2015 Sonata uses 30 percent more advanced high-strength steel features the kind of tech that is proliferating in the mid-size segment: Advanced Smart Cruise Control, blind spot and lane departure systems, a hands-free trunk, and knee airbags. The new car is nearly 1.4 inches longer and 1.2 inches wider.

We’ll likely see a 2.4-liter GDi  with 190 hp, 182 lb-ft of torque as well as a 2.0T powertrain. A Sport model (like the Chrysler 200S and Honda Accord Sport) is also coming. Transmission options include a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic.

2015-Hyundai-Sonata-cabin 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-front-view 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-interior 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-motion 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-rear-red 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-rear-view 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-side-view 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-silver 2015-Hyundai-Sonata-suspension-brakes Sonata in motion ]]> 43
Cain’s Segments: Midsize Sedans Wed, 12 Mar 2014 04:01:05 +0000 TTAC_midsize-car-sales-chart-February-2014

By stealing the Toyota Camry’s best-selling midsize car crown, albeit likely on a temporary basis, the Nissan Altima ended February 2014 as America’s best-selling car overall. The Altima’s lead was also substantial enough last month to make the midsize Nissan America’s leading car year-to-date.

It’s early. But the Altima’s trend is a good one. Year-over-year volume has increased in each of the last four months while rising nine times in the last eleven months. As Versa sales have fallen harshly – it’s still America’s leading subcompact – and the Sentra continues to play in the second tier of popular compacts, the Altima’s responsibility to produce big volume for the Nissan car lineup becomes more essential. Three out of every ten Nissans sold in the United States in February 2014 were Altimas.

By one standard of measurement, this means the Altima was far more important to Nissan than the Camry was to Toyota, where only 21% of the brand’s sales were midsize-car-derived. Camry volume decreased in February, the eighth such decline in the last year. To suggest there was some great gap between the Altima and camry in February would be to ignore the actual numbers. Per selling day, Toyota sold 1208 Camrys; Nissan sold 1285 Altimas.

Moreover, the Camry’s 7.3% drop was par for the midsize course in February. Segment-wide sales slid 6.3% – 6.6% if you discount the more premium-oriented Buick Regal and Volkswagen CC – as the auto industry as a whole levelled off and consumers flocked to entry-level crossovers. From the soon-to-disappear Dodge Avenger and the all-but-disappeared Mitsubishi Galant to high-volume players like the Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima, midsize cars were down.

Volkswagen Passat sales slid 7%. The Subaru Legacy, entering a replacement phase but anything but popular, was down 31%. Help from the Mazda 6 is of little consequence. Mazda’s 46% increase translated into just 1243 extra sales. Mazda sold one 6 for every two Dodge Avengers sold in America last month. Fleet or retail, those figures prove the lauded 6’s rarity.

According to Automotive News, car sales overall were down just under 6% in February. This isn’t a midsize anomaly. But these midsize cars certainly play a large role in the passenger car market, as they were collectively responsible for 32% of the cars sold in the U.S. last month.

At Nissan, even fretting minds must be put at ease by the Altima’s improvement, not just in terms of the nameplate’s U.S. volume but the increased market share. Through the first two months of 2014, Nissan owns 16% of the midsize market as we’ve configured it here, up from 13% during the equivalent period one year ago.

2 mos.
2 mos.
Buick Regal
2200 1474 + 49.3% 3634 2479 + 46.6%
Chevrolet Malibu
17,448 14,817 + 17.8% 29,270 30,640 - 4.5%
Chrysler 200
12,046 11,446 + 5.2% 22,958 20,292 + 13.1%
Dodge Avenger
8189 9980 - 17.9% 12,984 19,608 - 33.8%
Ford Fusion
23,898 27,875 - 14.3% 44,615 50,274 - 11.3%
Honda Accord
24,622 27,999 - 12.1% 45,226 51,923 - 12.9%
Hyundai Sonata
11,190 16,007 - 30.1% 21,005 29,254 - 28.2%
Kia Optima
11,226 13,195 - 14.9% 21,205 24,447 - 13.3%
Mazda 6
3945 2702 + 46.0% 7117 4849 + 46.8%
Mitsubishi Galant
25 209 - 88.0% 42 433 - 90.3%
Nissan Altima
30,849 27,725 + 11.3% 53,364 49,189 + 8.5%
Subaru Legacy
2575 3745 - 31.2% 5310 6929 - 23.4%
Suzuki Kizashi
446 - 100% 732 - 100%
Toyota Camry
28,998 31,270 - 7.3% 52,330 63,167 - 17.2%
Volkswagen Passat
6997 7532 - 7.1% 13,233 16,388 - 19.3%
Volkswagen CC
964 1123 - 14.2% 1845 2315 - 20.3%
197,545 - 6.3% 334,138 372,919 - 10.4%
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2015 Hyundai Sonata Spy Shots From Korea Tue, 04 Mar 2014 15:52:25 +0000 YF LF comparison

A sharp-eyed TTAC reader based in Korea has sent us some spy shots of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. The shots purport to show the car’s front end, interior and a snap of a Korean car magazine claiming AWD and a 6-speed DCT for the KDM model. Authentic? Who knows.

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2015 Hyundai Sonata: This Is It Tue, 04 Mar 2014 01:56:01 +0000 1779228_10203379096982722_527907542_n


Our first official rendering of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which will be unveiled at the New York Auto Show.

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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Is The Government’s Green Car Of Choice Fri, 11 Jan 2013 17:19:57 +0000

Imports led the majority of the government’s green car purchases last year, with 54 percent of the nearly 1,800 green vehicles purchased by the federal government coming from Hyundai, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda. The federal government’s most-purchased hybrid wasn’t a Big Three product either. Instead, it was the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Sales of green vehicles were down for the third year in a row, while the almost-exclusively domestic fleet has grown to feature far more imports.

Bloomberg outlines the breakdown of the government’s green fleet below

The GSA purchases in fiscal 2012 included 904 Sonata hybrids, followed by 372 Fusion hybrids, with General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric model accounting for 163 purchases. The Sonata purchases represented 5.1 percent of the hybrid’s model’s U.S. sales for 2012.

The GSA purchased about 300 other hybrids from GM and Ford as well as five Toyota Prius hybrids and three of Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV electric car. The GSA also reported buying 49 Honda Civics powered by compressed natural gas that are built in Greensburg, Indiana.

The Korean-built Sonata Hybrid unseated the Ford Fusion Hybrid as the previous champion of federal fleet sales. But with a new Fusion Hybrid and the C-Max now available, 2013 could look different.

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The 2002 Altima And The Mid-Size Horsepower Wars Fri, 25 May 2012 15:55:15 +0000

Although Michael briefly touched on this in his review of the 2013 Altima, the 2002 Altima was a watershed vehicle in our market, albeit one that doesn’t get enough credit. Without it, there would never be a Toyota Camry with a sub 6-second 0-60 time.

Two Hundred And Forty Horsepower. Before this magic number, the Altima was an also-ran, too small to be a mid-size car but too large to be a compact, placing it in the weird no-man’s land occupied by cars like the Ford Contour. The 2002 Accord V6 used a 3.0L V6 with 200 horsepower, and the Camry was in similar territory. An Acura TL had a 3.2L V6 with 225 horsepower and cost a few thousand dollars more.

And then came the Altima. The QR25DE powered 4-cylinders weren’t that special, but the prospect of a VQ-engined, 240 horsepower family sedan with a stick shift was a novel concept. The Maxima, formerly the vanguard for the “4DSC” crowd, quickly became obsolete, even though it still lingers on today without a clear identity.

A year later, the Honda Accord debuted with 240 horsepower in their V6 engine. In 2006, the Camry V6 fired back with 268 horsepower. The Altima then upped its V6 to 270 horsepower, while Honda will now sell you an Accord V6 with 271 horsepower. Even brands intent on downsizing and improving fuel economy are getting into it; Hyundai’s 4-cylinder turbocharged Sonata makes 276 horsepower. The horsepower pissing match could arguably be the tipping point for when modern cars evolved to their current state; powerful, heavy, but without any joy behind them. A Camry can handle a WRX in the 1320, but it remains a Pyrrhic victory for one’s soul. Yeah, you beat a sportier car. Would you like to go hunt penned in deer while you’re at it? The Hyundai Genesis is a great example of how horsepower is useless without the appropriate tools. I can’t tell the difference between the original V6 version of the sedan, and the slightly more powerful V6 in the mildly updated 2012 Genesis. But in the coupe, where that power can really be used effectively, really does show you what an improvement the extra 42 horsepower is for that car.

I’m not really sure where things can go from here on out. A 300 horsepower front-drive family sedan just seems asinine, but the manufacturers have effectively backed themselves into a corner. Advertising a car with “30 percent less power!” is going to go over as well as a pork-only buffet at an event for the Muslim Auto Writers Association. The 2012 Fusion appears to be going in the opposite direction, with the 2.0L Ecoboost topping out at a non-insignificant 237 horsepower. The base engines, with 170 horsepower for the 2.5L and 179 horsepower for the 1.6 Ecoboost, are a little behind the current field on paper. Personally, I hope this trend spreads to other manufacturers too.

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