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Wednesday 16 August 2017
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Test Drive: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited Review

Test Drive: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited Review

Hyundai got to the United States in 1986 as a Korean automaker of very inexpensive cars. Unfortunately, it was too common that when you saw a Hyundai, it was either on the side of the road or on the back of a wrecker.

In fact, I would not allow a Hyundai dealer on my radio show until 2007. Fast-forward to today, and Hyundai has transformed itself completely into one of the best car companies anywhere worldwide.

Now comes the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata, a car that’s clearly been working out at the gym. This new sedan is larger, wider and taller and is now officially a large car. In fact, it is larger than Camry, Accord, Altima, and Passat.

When my review car was delivered to me, I jumped in it to drive it around the block real quick, which I don’t normally do. I hit the road, stomped on, and was pleased that Hyundai sent me the turbo edition. I mean, it had to have a turbocharger with acceleration like I was experiencing. When I got back and started studying the window sticker, imagine my shock to see this car has the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder under the hood. It is rated at 185-horses, but feels like well over 250. It comes with a 6-speed automatic, and if you opt for the turbo version, you get a 7-speed.

At first glance, the Sonata Limited looks much like a $72,000 Mercedes CLS. It has a swooping roofline like the CLS and you have to look twice to make sure this isn’t a coupe. From the front, you see a dramatic grill and LED running lights. From behind, you see dual chrome exhaust and restyled LED taillights. Perhaps the most notable view is from the side. A thin strip of chrome surrounds the bottom and top of the windows and connects at the outside mirror, then a wider strip of chrome runs at the bottom of the car between the wheel wells. The chrome adds a look of elegance and luxury. The designer of this car was stolen from BMW, and that is evident in the exterior styling.

As much as I like the exterior, it is the interior that will sell this car. When I opened the door the first time, I was taken aback by the Sonata Limited’s cabin. The leather seats are inviting, and the two-tone colors on the door panels jump out at you. Subtle wood grain adorns the dash but does not overpower. There is also a fair amount of stainless steel around the center stack, including a handy-dandy compartment above the gearshift that houses two 12-volt plugs and a USB port. There is also a combination armrest and glove box between the two front seats. The back seat room is very large, and headroom abounds throughout the cabin.

There is contrasting stitching on the seats, the dash, and the leather wrapped steering wheel, further adding to the feel of pure luxury inside the Sonata. The dash is laid out about as well as any car I have ever been in. Everything makes sense, and is designed to make it easy for the driver. Very pleasant chimes welcome you when you hit the pushbutton start, and exit chimes tell you goodbye when you hit the start button again. Everything runs from an 8” color screen that is super easy to operate. Steering wheel controls are easy to reach and make sense.

The Limited is not the most expensive Sonata, that is the Sport, but the Limited is the luxury version and comes with a ton of standard equipment. For the base price of $26,525, you get some terrific features like rearview camera, leather heated front and rear seats, blind spot monitoring system, Drive Mode Select so you can choose eco, sport, or normal for your driving pleasure.

You also get a hands-free smart trunk opener, which opens the trunk if you stand behind the car for more than three seconds. Also for free you get power front seats, automatic temperature controlled air conditioning, rear window shades, Bluetooth, and Hyundai’s Blue Link system.

Let me spend a minute on the Blue Link System, it is a not well-known gem of a system. Connect your smart phone to the Blue Link and you can unlock your car, remotely start it, flash the lights, and get diagnostic reports. But wait, there’s MORE! If you have a young driver, you can set up a geo-fence, curfew times, and speed alerts that notify you if your teen goes outside the parameters you set up. You also can access emergency roadside assistance, make a service appointment, and the system will notify emergency services if there is an accident. It is a slick system for sure.

My press vehicle has the Tech Package, which gives you a power panoramic moon roof, navigation system, the Infinity sound system, cooled front seats, and a heated steering wheel. That package is a good value at $3500 retail. It also has the $1550 Ultimate Package, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, electronic parking brake, rear parking assist, and one of my favorite features, auto-hold. When engaged, auto-hold allows you to take your foot off the brake when at a complete stop, and disengages when you touch the gas pedal.

Sonata has a very large trunk with fold down rear seats, it drives and handles like a dream, and you can feel the structural rigidity when you hit a bump or head into a sharp turn. The interior quietness of this car is amazing, something you notice from the moment you put it into drive.

Gas mileage is rated at 24 in town, but I am getting 26 with no effort. I am achieving the 35 on the highway as well. With the car full of gas, it shows to have a range of 565 miles.

I didn’t expect to be blown away by this car. I figured I would like it since I liked the last generation Sonata, but I sure didn’t expect I would go gaga over it like I have. You’ll have to excuse my gushing review, but the folks at the factory in Montgomery, Alabama outdid themselves with this one. Best of all, Hyundai underpriced this car when compared to competitors.

It should be noted that my test car was a pre-production car. Usually if you are going to see any issues, it will be on one of these cars that was built before they actually started making them for the public. It will ultimately be destroyed.

What I liked most: Exterior, interior, and the price for what you get.

What I would change: The 17” wheels work OK, 18’s would be even better.

MSRP: Base price $26,525 as equipped $32,860.

Fuel Economy: 24 City/35 highway/28 combined.

Odometer reading when tested: 2463 miles.

Weight: 3252 Pounds.

Length-Width-Height: 191.1” long/73.4” wide/58.1” High

Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons.

Towing Capacity: N/A

2015 Sonata in a few words: An outstanding car and outstanding value.

Warranty: 5-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, roadside assistance for 5-years, and unlimited mileage.

Car Pro Rating: 5+ out of 5 Stars.

Manufacturers website: https://www.hyundaiusa.com/sonata/comparison.aspx

Dealers: We have great Hyundai dealers in DFW, Houston, Cleveland, Fresno, San Antonio, and two dealers in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: Hyundai



14 thoughts on “Test Drive: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited Review

    1. Michele Sanders

      Great choice of car. I don’t have a dealer there, I wish I could help, but think you’ll really enjoy the car.

      THANKS for listening to the show!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  1. Will Preston

    Hi, Jerry! I really enjoy your information-packed show. Just a quick question on the Sonata: is this 2015 just a restyled/updated version of the 2010-2014 generation or is is it a new generation? The main frame of the car looks the same but greatly improved styling,etc.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      GOod to hear from you! There were some design changes for 2015, and a few interior changes. I think the biggest thing is the transmission change, which upped the horsepower by quite a bit. I think given the minimal price increase, I’d opt for the new model.

      Check the website under Certified dealers to see if we have a Hyundai dealer in your market.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  2. Paul

    HI Jerry,

    Do you know of a Sonata dealer in or near Sonoma California (Best Price). I commute, therefore, gas millage, safety, safety features, enhance driver’s awareness by anticipating hazards, LED lights are important.

    Thank you

    Reply
  3. Shirley Weis

    I am very interested in 2015 Sonata Ltd. You gave it a glowing report. Do you have any thoughts on the Hyundai dealer in McKinney, TX? This is where I have had my 2011 Sonata Ltd serviced and have been please with their service. I have not dealt with the new car department. This agency is very convenient for me. Thank you for any information you may have.

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      Shirley, I am not familiar with that dealership. My dealer for years has been Freeman, you can speak to Brad Collins the GM personally, 972 438-2121. Once you get the Car Pro pricing, you can service in McKinney if you wish, that’s not a problem at all.

      Good to hear from you!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  4. Leo

    Buyers beware- it’s worth noting that the car will not remote start from the key fob. You must have a smart phone with the app loaded and a paid subscription to Blue Link ($150 a year to start your car).

    Reply
  5. Tom Stillman

    Jerry,

    It’s been a few years since this review. My wife and I are looking for a replacement for our VW-TDI Jetta after we settle with VW.

    On first glance this appears to be an impressive auto. I like that it feels larger with better visibility than our Jetta and the sales person mentioned that there has been major engineering and design changes with Acura influences in the new models.

    I was hoping to get an update to your previous review and an opinion of the warranty that is offered by the factory.

    Thank you again, looking forward to an update review.

    Tom

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      Yes, I hope to have the new version soon. Everyone I help get one seems to just love it. The warranty is great but it only covers the powertrain, and as good as these cars are, you’ll never use. Should something happen, it is nice to have, but for me it is more over a marketing tool.

      I appreciate you listening to the show!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  6. Connie J.

    I purchased a 2016 Accent for my granddaughter (age 25). Am thinking of buying another for my grandson (18). Do you have any pros or cons about this car?

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      They are great cars with a great warranty. I think it’s a good choice!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply

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