Friday, May 1, 2015

I want to go to there, the Sonata that is

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – I often call the Hyundai Sonata sedan my “go to” car.

That’s because I’ve repeatedly told folks asking me what to look for in a practical midsize sedan to go look at the Sonata.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve offered up this advice over the years.

This is not expert advice, mind you.  It’s a no-brainer.

The Sonata is affordable, feature-loaded, carries a good record of reliability and is bolstered by some generous warranty coverage.  In sum, you get a lot of midsize for the money, a lot more than you’ll find in comparable models made by other automakers.

And now there’s more reason to like it: a nose-to-tail reworking for the 2015 model year.

Hyundai touts sporty exterior styling touches, a stiffer body structure, a smoother/quieter ride and the standard  inclusion of more state-of-the-art safety and convenience features.

Tooling around in the tested 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited, I pretty much agree with everything the Hyundai marketing machine says.  But it’s really more than that.

The seventh-generation Sonata – yeah, I know, that will make you feel old – is truly a much sexier-looking machine than that rolled out in days past.  I love the aerodynamic side profile, and the front end tweaks are sporty to the max.

The tester’s 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower is not a tire-shredding monster, but accelerations at important on-road moments are more than adequate.  Handling is quite nimble.  When conditions required me to snap the car out of harm’s way, it responded instantly and with very little pushback on me in the driver’s seat.  Impressive.

The list of standard comfort and convenience features is so lengthy that you are inclined to believe that someone mixed up and mistakenly gave you an ultra-luxury version of the car.  Alas, my Sonata started well below $30-grand, but the bottom line on the sticker swelled to $32,510 with the addition of a couple of tech-laden packages.  Both significantly added to the vehicle.

A $3,500 Tech Package included a panoramic sunroof with tilt and slide, a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.  The accompanying $1,550 Ultimate Package added smart cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, a forward collision warning feature and an electronic parking brake.

With all that and more, $32,510 looked pretty darn good to me.  Oh, fuel mileage is an excellent 24 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

My only gripes: the lane-departure warning system was a little too quick-on-the-draw sensitive for my tastes, and for whatever reason, the “automatic” feature on the climate-control system seemed about 5 degrees off in this season of chilly mornings and hot afternoons.

Other than that, the newly reworked Sonata is an A-grade sedan that’s better than it ever was.

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