Hyundai’s 2016 Sonata has been tweaked over the 2015 model. And that includes a major upgrade to its infotainment system that now boasts a 7-inch display over the former five incher. And if opting for the top shelf Limited model, an 8-inch screen is standard.
But that’s not the entire story. Sonata earned perfect five star ratings for overall vehicle safety, five for driver/passenger frontal crash, five for front/rear seat side crash and it only faltered with a still favorable, four stars for rollover.
Sonata is offered SE, Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trim levels. There’s also a Sonata Hybrid version that is EPA rated at 40 city, 44-highway mpg.
Tested was the Sport 2.0T with the “T” representing the cars’ turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 245-hp and 260 lb/ft of torque. When coupled to the 6-speed automatic transmission, EPA gives the combination mileage ratings of 23 city, 32-highway mpg. And the pairing has been tested at 8.3 seconds for a 0-60 sprint.
If a bit better mileage is desired, the Eco version comes with a 1.6L turbocharged four cylinder that is EPA rated at 28 city, 38-highway mpg. It too uses the same 6-speed auto trans. Or better yet, there’s a plug-in model.
Sonata’s cabin is nicely spacious. Rear seat leg and headroom is ample an ingress/egress is easy thanks to wide opening doors. And three adults can be accommodated in back for short trips. The front seats are nicely cushioned for the long haul and have just the right amount of lateral support that is not confining. Perforated and heated leather seats also have extended under-thigh support that contributes to their comfort.
The entire cabin is nicely arranged with easy to use HVAC controls and an intuitive display that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Smartphone function plus the Hyundai’s new Blue Link telematics system. Along with Blue Link comes remote ignition, automatic crash response, roadside assistance and remote door lock control.
CarPlay, if you don’t know what it is as is Android Auto, are apps that allow you to connect your Smartphone to the vehicle’s infotainment system for texts, maps and music that is all available through your display (if you have one). And that’s why this Sonata didn’t have a GPS nav system, as it’s available through your phone’s map system. Apple reportedly is working on a system that won’t require a cable attachment as it’s being done now.
Most eye-grabbing is the flat bottom steering wheel (ala Ferrari) that adds a special touch to an already appealing interior. Paddle shifters are included on the Sport model and are useful not only for self shifting, but allows easy downshifting on steep hills to avoid heating the brakes.
All Sonata’s now come standard with blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, tire pressure monitoring and rearview camera. This is in addition to an array of air bags, vehicle stability management and traction control.
The transmission also has Eco and Sports modes. The latter tightens things up for a bit more spirited driving. Eco of course is for optimum fuel economy.
As for ride and handling, Sonata is an especially quiet, smooth ride front drive sedan. Its suspension nicely dampens road imperfections and sharp turns taken at speed are nicely controlled and composed. It’s not an exciting car to drive. Just a pleasing family sedan. Kia’s Optima is essentially the same car with different trim and a more aggressive look.
With the only option being carpeted floor mats ($125), the Sonata Sport 2.0T came loaded with every desired feature including satellite radio and sunroof. Add an $835 delivery charge and the price for this nicely equipped sedan came to $29,885 after a base of $28,925. A price that is comparable to the heavy competition in this class. But it’s a price that comes with attractive warranties of 5 year/60,000 mile new vehicle, 10/100K powertrain, 7/Unlimited anti-perforation and 5/Unlimited roadside assistance.