Buyers that opt for the Limited or Sport 2.0t trim get a standard blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert system and hands-free smart trunk. The blind spot monitor works just as it does on every other car, relying on two radar sensors installed on the rear bumper to detect oncoming vehicles. The sensors measure relative velocity and position up to 230ft behind the car.
A light on the side mirrors blinks once every time it detects a vehicle in your blind spot. When you use your turn signal (Ed.: Please, use your turn signal), the system measures vehicle speed and distance in the adjacent lane to see if it’s safe to move over. If it’s not, the light flashes rapidly with a chime to let you know there's an obstacle in your blind spot. If you never use your turn signal to change lanes, the feature probably isn’t very useful. In that case, we'd suggest a refresher course on driving.
The blind spot sensors also serve double duty for the Sonata’s rear cross-traffic alert system, which detects oncoming vehicles from each side to let you know of approaching threats as you back out of a parking spot.
Hyundai’s hands-free smart trunk feature is lifted straight from the Genesis sedan. Unlike the Ford implementations that require you to shake your foot below the rear bumper to trigger the trunk release, Hyundai's version simply opens the trunk when you’re within three feet for longer than three seconds. This is much better than Ford's system.
Hyundai’s ultimate package gives the Sonata a detailed list of driver assist features. The highlights include adaptive cruise control with stop/start capabilities, lane departure warning and a forward collision warning. The adaptive cruise sensor is installed below the Hyundai badge and covered with a gloss black finish. I’m not a big fan of the placement; it makes the front grille look unfinished.
Aesthetics aside, the Sonata's adaptive cruise control system works great. There are four distance settings to choose from, and the feature can completely stop the car. If you’re stuck in traffic, it'll automatically resume within three seconds from a complete stop, which is quite useful for commuting in a city.
The lane departure and forward collision warning systems are passive. A camera mounted above the rear-view mirror monitors lane markers and your distance between the vehicle ahead. Unfortunately, the system can only warn you of a lane departure or impending collision; it cannot actively help keep the car within its lane or intervene to prevent a wreck. If you're like me and find passive warning technologies annoying, you can easily disable them in the gauge cluster display.
Without a lane keep assist system, Hyundai's Sonata is behind the current driver assist champion, the newly updated Chrysler 200C. Still, the capabilities that Hyundai employs are more advanced than what you'll find in the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Kia Optima.