The last generation Hyundai Sonata solidified the midsize sedan’s place into the industry mainstream. The new and expanded 2015 Hyundai Sonata lineup further positions the Korean manufacturer as a strong competitor against the Honda and Toyota monoliths.

The new Sonata design, which features a more refined exterior and larger cabin, is offered in five trims and as a hybrid model. An Eco trim with a 1.6-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine is among other changes for 2015.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

After recently reviewing the Eco trim Hyundai Sonata, I knew mostly what to expect from the  Sport 2.0T trim. It combines many of the features on less costly trims with a substantial list of upgrades.

Here’s the rundown: Standard equipment on the base SE model, includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, LED running lights, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a 60/40-split rear seatback, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system (with a CD player, satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack).

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has a new exterior design.
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has a new exterior design. All images/James Raia

The Sport and Eco trims add automatic headlights, a rearview camera, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), upgraded door trim, Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system (with smartphone integration) and a 5-inch touchscreen audio interface.

The Limited includes the Sport model’s features (minus the body styling tweaks) and adds LED taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, wood grain trim, a six-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, rear air vents, rear window sunshades, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an upgraded audio system and driver safety aids (blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert).

The Sport 2.0T includes most of the features of the Sport and Limited trims, with exception of the power passenger seat, heated rear seats and rear sunshades. It has along with 18-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension and steering, a rear diffuser with quad chrome exhaust tips, xenon headlights, sport seats with accent stitching, a flat-bottom sport steering wheel and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

All of the new Sonata trims have a larger cabin and there’s more refinement overall from the previous generation that catapulted sedan out if its niche category. But the 2015 models also retain much of what made the previous generation one of the surprises of the industry. It was styled differently than any other sedan with a sloping roofline and angled front, side and rear panels.

The Hyundai Sonata, 2.0T, like its siblings, seats four comfortably, although it’s promoted as a five-seat vehicle. Overall, it shines because it has a strong performance, a generous list of standard features and solid workmanship. The Sport 2.0T has also upscale orange stitching on its black seats.

Driving the Sonata is a treat. It’s not a luxury car, but it’s as quiet as many luxury sedans. It maneuvers through traffic at ease and it has a surprisingly confident personality for a mid-range sedan. It’s just hard not to like the Sonata. From its swooping exterior reminiscent of Mercedes-Benz to its spacious and well-designed interior, it’s no wonder Hyundai stock in the increasingly competitive family sedan segment keeps performing well.

Likes:

The best navigation system in the industry with wide maps and bold directional arrows.

Strong, steady acceleration.

Smooth, comfortable ride.

Flat-bottom steering wheel adds sportiness.

Dislikes:

Small, oddly shaped side mirrors with strong glare from glass.

Tight headroom for taller rear seat passengers.

Facts & Figures, 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport, 2.0T

Acceleration: 0-60 mph (not available).

Airbags: (9)

Fuel economy: 23 mpg (city), 32 mpg (highway), 26 mpg (combined), six-speed automatic transmission.

Horsepower: 245.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $28,575.00

Manufacturer’s Website: www.hyundaiusa.com.

Price As Tested: $34,460.00.

Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,00 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/unlimited miles.

What Others Say:

“The Sonata’s dynamics are competitive, its overall execution on point, and it’s relatively handsome. It’s a good car, no ‘for a Hyundai’ disclaimer needed.” — Car and Driver.

By putting economy over performance and using the Genesis sedan as its role model, it has tasked the 2015 Sonata with a more important ambition – going upscale. The resulting four-door sedan is a safe, fuel-efficient, premium offering with an attractive sticker price.” — Autoblog.

Overall, the 2015 gets some serious improvements in styling, ride quality, interior room, and steering, while gaining a bit more responsiveness across the model range. With a base price set just below that of the 2014 car, the new Sonata represents good value too.” — MotorTrend.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Hyundai’s accelerated reputation is nothing new in the automotive industry. The Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T just provides another great example of why the Korean carmaker is doing so well. It has a lot to offer and few, if any, faults.”

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