The key word that has been floating around here on Carscoops and elsewhere about Hyundai’s all-new seventh-generation 2015 Sonata is “matured”, which nicely sums up what the Koreans did to their mid-size sedan – though, admittedly, those quad exhaust pipes on the 2.0 Turbo model do give it an adolescent feel…
We saw the car before its world premiere at the New York Auto Show when Hyundai introduced it in South Korea, and besides the aforementioned exhaust outlets and the 2.0 Turbo-specific trims like the chrome accents on the side sills and LED strips on the front bumper, nothing else major has changed.
The design resembles the swoopy outgoing Sonata, but drops some of the curves to gain more hard edges and lines, both inside and out (did you notice the flat-bottom steering wheel?).
“With the 2011 Sonata, Hyundai took the mid-size sedan from a meal to a gourmet dinner,” said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design North America. “The evolution to Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’s more taut, modern lines reflect the improvements in refinement and driving dynamics for 2015.”
Hyundai didn’t release measurements for the North American model, but don’t expect any differences from the Korean-spec version that is 1.38 inches (35mm ) longer and 1.18 inches (30mm) wider than the Sonata Mk6 at 191.1 inches (4,855mm) long, 73.4 inches (1,865mm) wide and 58.1 inches (1,475mm) tall, with a 110.4 inches (2,805mm) wheelbase.
The styling might be new and the chassis improved (41 percent stiffer torsional rigidity and 35 percent greater bending strength) with Hyundai stating that it fine-tuned the car at the famed Nürburgring (imagine that…) among other locations, but the exclusively four-cylinder engine range remains.
For the U.S., there’s a revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI delivering 185 horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque, and an updated 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI producing 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque, both matched to six-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission. A hybrid model will join the lineup later on.
Hyundai says its Toyota Camry and Honda Accord fighter comes with plenty of standard and optionally available new content such as a Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with full stop capability, an 8.0-inch navigation system with downloadable apps, HD radio, Dimension and a 400-watt Infinity premium audio system.
Production of the North American Sonata will take place at the brand’s Alabama plant in Montgomery, with sales to start early in the summer.
By John Halas