For the most recent model year, the Sonata gets new exterior styling and a revised interior. All Sonata models now ship standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Mechanically the new Sonata is largely unchanged, although models equipped with the 2.0T engine upgrade from a six-speed auto to an eight-speed unit. There are also two new trim levels to choose from.
Styled at Hyundai's Irvine, California, studio, the Sonata boasts striking sheetmetal that takes a few subtle cues from the sporty, coupe-like look of the first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. The curvy and organic overall shape is an example of the "fluidic sculpture 2.0" design language that has become a hallmark of recent Hyundai models.
The attractive look continues inside, where a squared-off design allows for a larger center console and a more convenient switchgear placement. Fit and finish is excellent, although material quality is only average and rear seat passengers will find somewhat limited headroom due to the fast roofline. Passenger space is more than adequate in most other respects, and Hyundai's mid-sizer offers 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Sonata is offered with Hyundai's Blue Link telematics service, which can be spec'd to provide voice text messaging, point-of-interest web search and download, and automatic collision notification in addition to traffic, weather, restaurant and nearby gas station information. A dedicated application can transform a compatible smartphone into a remote control that can be used to turn the car on and off, turn on the rear defroster or set the climate control settings, functions that owners in cold climates will be sure to appreciate. The latest version of Blue Link is also compatible with smart home devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Additionally, the Sonata now comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which allows the driver make calls, use maps, listen to music and access messages all on the car's seven-inch touch screen infotainment system (an eight-inch unit is option on top-spec cars).
The Sonata's entry-level engine is a direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque. It's mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
The Sonata Eco is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 178 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a-new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that helps Hyundai's mid-sizer return 28 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg in a combined cycle.
Rather than using a V6 as the up-level engine choice, the Sonata uses a 2.0-liter turbo four that employs direct injection and a turbocharger to produce 245 ponies and 260 lb-ft of twist. For the latest model year that engine is hooked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sonata 2.0T models are rated at 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway on regular fuel.
Trim Level Breakdown
Hyundai offers the naturally-aspirated Sonata in five trim levels (SE, SEL, Eco, Sport, Limited), while the turbo four is offered in Sport and Limited trims.
The entry-level Sonata SE packs remote keyless entry, a height-adjustable passenger seat, air conditioning, a tilt and telescoping multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, an auto up/down driver-side window, a seven-inch touchscreen AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, iPod and AUX inputs and driver-selectable steering. Blind Spot Detection and a rearview camera are also standard. For the latest model year there are no available options of the Sonata SE.
The Sonata Eco comes standard a seven-inch color touch screen integrated into the center stack, automatic headlights, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, chrome trim on the radiator grille and a rear-view camera.
Aimed at the heart of the market, the Sonata SEL includes the SE's standard equipment plus 17-inch wheels, a hands-free smart trunk, heated side mirror, chrome door handles, LED daytime running lights, proximity key with push button start, 10-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Blue Link connectivity and HD and SiriusXM radio.
The only optional feature for the Sonata SEL is the Tech Package. It includes automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, smart cruise control with start/stop and an electronic parking brake with auto vehicle hold.
Stepping up to the Sport trim yields a trim-specific radiator grille, chromed-tipped dual exhaust outlets, side skirts, rear diffuser, sport bumper and glossy exterior trim items. No options are available for the Sport model.
The top-trim Sonata Limited comes loaded to the gills with faux wood trim on the inside, leather upholstery, memory driver's seat, a six-way power adjustable passenger's seat, ventilated front seats, rear air vents, metal door sills and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Sonata Limited buyers can order an Ultimate Package that brings automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, smart cruise control with start/stop, electronic parking brake with auto vehicle hold, automatic high beam assist, rear parking sensors, eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, Infinity premium audio, wireless smartphone charging, heated steering wheel and rear side window shades.
The Sonata Sport 2.0T boasts all of the features included in the Sport trim plus a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels and paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel.
The Sonata Limited 2.0T comes fully loaded with every available option, including LED headlights.
Every Sonata model comes standard with dual front, front side, side curtain and a driver knee airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems, active front head restraints, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
Advanced safety features are available on certain trims.
Although classified as a large car by the EPA, the Sonata is designed to go head-to-head with the most popular entrants in the mid-size sedan segment including the smooth and reliable Toyota Camry and the oft-lauded Honda Accord. Other worthy rivals include the stylish Ford Fusion, the fine-driving Mazda Mazda6, Nissan Altima and the capable Volkswagen Passat.