Hyundai's Sonata Is A Solid Entry In A Crowded Market
Hyundai’s latest Sonata is a competent entry into the crowded mid-sized segment. It’s an evolutionary update to the previous generation, which really put Hyundai on the map for prospective car buyers. And that's not a bad thing. The car is more refined, smoother and has plenty of optional capabilities.
In terms of technology, the infotainment system is solid. It's at the top of the pack compared to its competition. I’d go so far as to put it in second place, just behind Uconnect Access in the Chrysler 200. Hyundai knows how to put together a good user interface with plenty of features and connectivity, while balancing physical and touchscreen controls. While Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto support will be fine additions to the system, we find the current infotainment solution is good without requiring you to plug in your phone every time you get in the car.
While the available driver assist features aren't as advanced as what you get in the Genesis sedan, Hyundai gives Sonata buyers a taste of the good stuff, including full-speed-range adaptive cruise control, which makes sitting through stop-and-go traffic more tolerable. While we appreciate the blind spot monitoring system, there's a lot less value in the forward collision and lane departure warning systems. While passive alerts might help, I prefer active systems to prevent distracted drivers from hitting other vehicles over simply reminding folks that they aren't paying attention.
Driving dynamics of the new Sonata in all trim levels are nowhere near the Mazda6. Still, this is a quiet and comfortable car with good steering feel. It’s not a sports car of course, but rather a good contender for the Toyota Camry-buying crowd. The new motors deliver smooth power with great low-end response, though they're not going to win any races.
If you’re shopping for a new mid-sized sedan, you can’t really go wrong with the Sonata. It’s a nice blend of smooth styling and plenty of technology if you want it. While we appreciate the additional power of the Sport 2.0t, it's not particularly noticeable or necessary, based on our time with the vehicle.
For buyers who are fuel economy-focused, the Sonata Eco is a great choice. We really like the instant torque available from its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, which makes it fantastic in the city. If we could have it our way, the ideal Sonata would have all the goodies and suspension from the Sport 2.0t, but with the 1.6t and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It's only unfortunate that Hyundai doesn't offer that combination.
In such a crowded segment, the new Sonata doesn’t stand out like the previous generation. But it’s a refined follow-up that will certainly please prospective buyers.