Admit it: although it was with us for five years, the sixth generation of the Hyundai Sonata was a timeless beauty. Maybe the Mercedes-like arch in its silhouette had something to do with this.

The seventh generation sought to adopt the “Fluidistic 2.0” design featured on the new Hyundai Genesis. Only, between you and me and the gatepost, the striking lines that are so well suited to the large sedan do not work as well on this midsize.

Although the new Sonata’s grille is larger, it has far too much “Ford-Martin” in it to be unique. The finesse and elegance of the previous generation have also made way for a masculine, compact style, so that the new generation no longer has the look or the appearance of a four-door coupe.

And less is more when it comes to chrome accents (specifically on the Sport version).
Otherwise, the rest of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is improved. And as the Korean sedan (built in Alabama, mind you) already wasn’t half bad, it is hard to find fault with the new version.


The 2015 Hyundai Sonata’s strengths include its larger dimensions (it is 35 mm longer and 30 mm wider), with the knees of rear passengers benefitting the most of the extra room. Although rear legroom (905 mm) might still not be what you’ll find in the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, any passengers feeling claustrophobic in the rear of the Sonata should seek professional help.

There is nothing claustrophobic about the trunk either: with a capacity of 462 litres, it remains one of the largest in its class. Two of us were able to fit in the trunk, and had another brave (but slim) soul volunteered, we would have recreated a Big Mac trio!


Another cool thing about the trunk (when the option is selected) is that the tailgate opens automatically as you approach the car with the programmed keyless-entry remote in your pocket, without any further action required.

This is the Korean version of Ford’s kick-activated tailgate, with Hyundai cheekily stating that its trunk can be opened with both feet firmly planted on the ground. A brazen statement maybe, but within the rules.

The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata’s interior has ditched the narrow, top-bottom instrument panel in favour of an intuitive, very mature design, à la Toyota. The large controls are easy to use and are grouped together in the middle so as to be at your fingertips. Within the driver’s immediate view is another on-board computer that is as easy to read as the one found in Nissan vehicles (strangely enough, it looks like it too!).


There is really nothing bad to say, except for the hard plastic found here and there. Hard plastic might be the norm in this segment, but Hyundai had rather accustomed us to materials so refined that they would not be out of place in luxury interiors.

Another one of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata’s strengths is its handling, which—you guessed it—has been improved.

Hyundai has linked, electronically, the Sonata’s steering control, which offered three driver-selectable settings (comfort, normal and sport), to the engine and transmission. This decision not only made sense, but it also served to replace the “comfort” setting with an “eco” setting. You might not always feel like you’re behind the wheel of a Ferrari, but response is definitely better, thereby rectifying one of the (few) faults of the previous Hyundai Sonata.

The Sonata’s stability has also been improved, thanks to an architecture with twice as much ultra high-strength steel than before and a redesigned suspension (two arms, as opposed to a single arm, in the rear). Not only is balance better assured than on the previous generation, but soundproofing is also in the big leagues now.


The same can be said of comfort, despite the seats, which lack lateral support. This level of comfort can be enjoyed even in the base version (which still comes with a four-cylinder 2.4-litre direct injection engine), currently making its way into dealerships…

…as well as in the Sport version, which is expected to hit Canadian showrooms in August. The Sport version is the only version that comes the 2.0-litre turbo engine, a suspension that is 10 percent firmer, quad chrome exhaust tips, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, steering wheel paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, and the “orange phoenix” paint colour.


Speaking of engines, unlike the trend of offering ever more powerful engines, Hyundai distinguishes itself by offering engines that have been toned down a notch.

But that’s far from being a bad thing, as the base, 185 hp (versus 190 hp) Theta II engine now reaches its peak at a lower engine speed. Acceleration is smoother, though it might not quite sound like it at higher revs.

This also benefits the four-cylinder turbo engine (2.0T), despite a decrease from 274 hp to 245 hp (with 3 percent less torque, at 260 lb-ft). The fact that it is one of the least powerful engines in the segment does not keep it from being our favourite, especially thanks to its strong acceleration without an ounce of turbo lag.

Only the six-speed automatic transmission is offered; the midsize sedan said goodbye to the manual transmission for good three years ago now.

One small criticism: braking is more than effective, it is downright aggressive. Engaging the brake pedal just a few millimetres generates stopping power that is excessive given the nature of the car, and even after a full day’s test drive, we still hadn’t gotten used to it.

So, what about a new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid model? We’ll have to wait a little longer, as the current version is still listed in the catalogue, at least for the time being.

As for the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco with its four-cylinder turbo engine (1.6T) paired with a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, producing 177 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque (10 percent more than the base four-cylinder engine), it will unfortunately not be available in Canada.


BlueLink, Hyundai’s emergency response and remote access system, is not available in Canada, despite being offered in the U.S. And while the Google Android Auto and Apple Car Play systems aren’t available in Canada yet, they will be next year, according to Hyundai Canada.

The reason for their absence? Given our 1:10 population ratio, the Canadian market is too small to justify the investment.

That said, Canadians will be able to enjoy other new features on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, like smart speed control—yay! Other driver aids that are becoming increasingly widespread, such as blind spot and rear cross-path detection systems and collision warning systems, are also finally available in a midsize sedan.
Not the lowest-priced…

Who would have thought that, one day, we’d be saying that the lowest-priced car was not a Hyundai? But that is indeed the case: with its wide range of equipment that makes the competition green with envy, the base price of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata remains at $23,999, which is higher than the average (for its part, the 2.0T version starts at $30,999).

Oh, you say the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata starts at $21,150 south of the border? That may be so, but our southern neighbours don’t get to enjoy heated seats or a rear backup camera, among other little things, like we do.

In other words, no low-rent version for us. This level of equipment comes at a price…