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2015 Hyundai Sonata: A Refined Entry In A Crowded Segment

Music Features And Infinity Premium Sound

Hyundai upgrades the music features of its Sonata substantially with SiriusXM 2.0. The latest version adds a time-shift function that automatically caches the first six preset stations, allowing you to replay music over and over if you wish. I found the feature quite practical as I scrolled through presets; it lets you start a song from the beginning every time, unless you just got into the car. The SiriusXM 2.0 time-shift function is almost compelling enough to encourage a subscription. But the mediocre audio quality is more reason why you shouldn’t pay $9.99 for it.

Moreover, Pandora integration in the new Sonata seems like additional reason to ignore SiriusXM, though there is one major caveat. The function works great with an iPhone connected via USB, but Android users are left in the dark.

Rounding out the music features is HD Radio support for good old fashioned AM/FM. I didn’t spend much time with HD Radio in Alabama, since I'm not familiar with the local market, but the capability typically works or not.

Flip open the door above the shifter and you see a USB data port, auxiliary input, and a pair of 12V power outlets. The USB port supports standard flash drives loaded with music, along with i-devices. There aren't any glaring complaints about the Sonata's file management interface. It’s easy to navigate by album information or folder. Hyundai doesn’t flatten the folders either, so the directory structure on the flash drive remains intact, unlike some competing infotainment systems.

Infinity Premium Sound

Hyundai teams up with Harman subsidiary Infinity for the 2015 Sonata's premium sound system. The Infinity upgrade is available in the ultimate package on the Sport 2.0t or tech package on the Limited trim level, which sells for $4950 or $3500, respectively. Selecting either of those options upgrades the stereo to a 12-speaker system with external amplifier.

As with most car manufacturers, Hyundai counts individual drivers as speakers. So, the premium stereo is a standard five-channel with subwoofer setup. The front stage is handled by a combination tweeter and mid-range driver in the dashboard and separate driver for low-range frequencies in the doors. A center channel in the middle of the dashboard helps blend sound for enhanced stereo imaging. Coaxial speakers are installed in the rear doors, while an infinite baffle subwoofer in the rear deck delivers boom.

An eight-channel amplifier powers the entire system. The class D digital unit sends 50W to each channel for a total of 400W. Frequency response on the amplifier is rated at 20Hz to 20kHz, with a total harmonic distortion (THD) of 10%.

The Infinity system is worthy of the premium brand. It delivers plenty of mid-range punch and clear highs. The subwoofer does well enough, though it's severely limited by power and the infinite baffle configuration. This is pretty typical among factory premium systems due to the lack of power for the subwoofer channel. However, I have to imagine the typical sedan owner is going to be perfectly satisfied.