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Right-click: The 2015 Hyundai Sonata

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On: Fri, May 2, 2014 at 11:33AM | By: Teddy Field

Right-click: The 2015 Hyundai Sonata

When the sixth generation Hyundai Sonata was introduced in 2009, it stood out in the family sedan market like Miley Cyrus in an Amish choir. It looked different and it was surprisingly cheap when fully loaded. Just like Miley! To continue the Sonata's Camry-challenging sales, designers have given the all-new 7th-gen 2015 Hyundai Sonata more sophisticated lines, a Kia-like cockpit interior, and lots of fancy tech. Has the Hannah Montana of family sedans finally found religion? Let's find out...

The first thing that you'll notice about the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is that it's no longer shaped like a computer mouse. There's a handsome upright grille, standard LED daytime running lights, and the greenhouse has been stretched further toward the trunklid than before. Rear head- and leg room have grown as well. And, mercifully, the old left/right mouse button headlights have been replaced with a pair of expensive-looking projector headlamps (HIDs are available on high-trim models).

This new design language is called Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, and we think it looks a lot more upscale than the previous Fluidic Sculpture Vista. Under the new sheet metal is a sturdier platform that uses over 50% high-strength steel. This lighter, more robust material provides 41% more torsional rigidity, which translates into a more responsive car in the curves. The sub-frames were also reinforced, and stiffer bushings were used to quicken steering response. For even more realistic steering feel, the top-spec 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T gets a different dual-pinion electric steering system. It gets bigger front brakes and a tighter suspension too.

Under the hood, the 2015 Sonata Sport gets a 245-hp 2-liter turbo-4, and lesser models get a 185-hp 2.4L 4cyl. Although that's less power than last year's model, Hyundai says that it's available at lower RPM than before. We assume that means lower gearing, but they didn't release further details, or the official mpg numbers.

Although it's unusual for a car company to make its new car bigger and less powerful, there are plenty of powertrain tricks to overcome that delta. Another way to distract people from the lowered power numbers is to give the car a nice interior. And that's just what they've done. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata uses a more elegant version of the driver-centric cockpit design found in the 2015 Kia Optima. There's a large 8-inch screen, surrounded by logically placed buttons and wrapped in premium-feeling soft-touch materials. The front thrones can be optioned with heat/cooling, and the front passenger perch is now height adjustable (a feature sorely lacking on the old Logitech Sonata).

Rear seat passengers in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata can enjoy heated bun warmers for the first time, and there's even pull-up rear sunshades too. Fancy. Other highfalutin' features include automatic high beams, radar cruise control that can bring the car to a complete stop, and an automatic trunk opening system that pops the trunk if you just stand in front of it with the key fob in your pocket. That feature could become real annoying.

Overall, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata appears to have a lot more substance to it than before. Which means no more computer mouse/Miley Cyrus jokes. Darn.

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